Very Hemingway

Last evening the air conditioner stopped working.  Again.  This is the second time in as many weeks. The report from the office of the estate agent today is that the problem (similarly affecting several other units) is the result of antiquated faulty wiring provoked by the recent replacement of the roofs of the townhouses. We are told that the A/C mechanic will not be able to address the matter for two days but that we shall have priority because our unit is occupied.  The good news is that for the foreseeable future the skies are forecast to be clear and cool; with a northern breeze. To be frank it is comfortable with the windows ajar and the crosswind from front to back of the unit.

There is as well for me an attraction to the accommodation of these aging declensions and resulting necessities. When we first stayed on Key Largo several years ago (a visit which no doubt prompted our return for the season) it was at Playa Largo Resort and Spa, Autograph Collection just up the road from here about a mile. It was an elegant place to hang one’s hat for several days; and we most certainly enjoyed our time there including the dining room where we were treated to exceptionally personalized service by the Chef himself.  It was not however a place like home.  It hadn’t the accommodations which make living at home more honest.

My first visit to the Florida Keys was about 50 years ago when I landed from Miami in a small plane at Key West “international” airport. I was young and full of p&v (and no doubt a fair portion of whiskey).  Coincidentally my novel of entertainment was a fascinating collection of correspondence between Tennessee Williams and a former close friend of his (whose name I shamefully cannot now recall). This, combined with the history of Ernest Hemingway in Key West, assured me a candid look at things.  I believe there was even a “sighting” of Williams at one of the local watering holes where he was reputedly surrounded by an adoring gathering. Several of Williams’ letters to his friend had been written from Key West and the details were occasionally recognizable. What remains with me predominantly is the less than exotic surroundings inhabited by both Williams and Hemingway.  Probably I am dousing the memories with some wishful imagination but the lingering perception is that life in this subtropical environment isn’t always saccharin. The Pigeon House restaurant was no longer Pan Am’s central communication facility. But the fascinating persuasion was still there.

This morning I decided I needed a break.  So I assuaged my normal level of guilt with but a short ride on my tricycle before resuming what has in the past month become my regular lounge chair by the island pool. Although I was there from 11:30 am until 2:30 pm I have apparently adjusted to the burnishing rays sufficiently to have survived the duration without ill consequence. The temperature admittedly was a cool 77°F (and there were periods of interfering clouds).  I swam several times, consummating the intended relaxation of my limbs and erstwhile broken ribs. I also chatted with a gentleman from New York.  He is the cigar smoker whom I told yesterday I enjoyed the whiff of his cigar by the pool. Today we expanded the scope of our acquaintance to include the common narratives about “what did you do?” When I told him I was a servant to the rich, it momentarily stunned me.  I explained I was a lawyer to which he frantically responded he had “100s of the them”.  He advised he is in the “tower business” which he in turn explained to me relates to internet connectivity. He then went on with some animation to proclaim that his lawyers all look for problems.  He specified that two of them at his front office do nothing all day. I replied that he should hire me because I am skilled at doing nothing.  I regained considerable tolerance of my legal contamination when I explained that I wasn’t a New York lawyer but rather a country lawyer whose majority of clients were farmers.  He liked that, telling me he likes farming (which I can only assume is an allusion to some early part of his life). Things between us became instantly soldered on the topic of martinis when he asked whether I preferred gin or vodka to which I responded, “Either. Doesn’t matter!”  Apparently the frankness of the admission bore considerable sway with him as he laughed heartily (he is a big man). We parted on good terms.  As I climbed upon my tricycle parked by the gate I saw him drive away in his Mercedes.