I am a fanatic about my keys.
I readily admit that I have a fixation with knowing where my keys are at all times. Some might call it an obsession. Others might call it a bent toward obsessive-compulsive behavior. Still others might call it a leaning toward the social equivalent of cranial/rectal inversion, also known as anal retentiveness in some circles.
Whatever you may call it, I have it.
Monroe County will soon take up the issue of how to measure traffic level of service here in the coming years. How to get cars through and around the Florida Keys has been an issue for several years. At one point, traffic level of service became such an issue on Big Pine Key that the state declared a building moratorium for nearly eight years. No one could build a new house. Commercial entities could only rebuild on an existing foot print.
When the state came along and fixed the US 1/Key Deer Blvd. interchange, traffic started moving again enough to lift the moratorium. When the widening project was completed, traffic began to flow a little more smoothly.
But over the years, traffic concurrency issues have made any further development a little dicey in several other locations in the Keys.
So county staff is seeking ways to end the problem for good.
We’re not sure, however, that the preferred method at this time is the right move to make.
I know that I promised I wouldn’t make fun of crazy drivers for a few months, but that is a resolution I’m going to have to be forced to break because, well because I’ve just been handed so much easy fodder in the last two weeks.
It’s kind of like passing up a bet that the rock falling from the top of the building will hit the ground. You just have to take someone up on it.
Three weeks ago, wait. If it happened prior to the time I made the resolution, it doesn’t really count does it?
Every Thursday we drive to the Miami area to pick up our newspapers and bring them back to the Keys, delivering as we go from Marathon to Key West. It makes for a long day, made even longer when the behind-the-wheel crazies are out in full force.
That week, we ran across, and almost into, two separate crazies, one in Marathon and one in Big Pine.
Wednesday was a day for the proof of the human condition called “Lack of an attention span.”
In my less sober moments, I call these episodes an outbreak of hedupyerassitis, otherwise known as cranial/rectal inversion.
Before I got started for the day, I wanted to go to a local convenience store and purchase my daily quota of caffeine. I have all but given up Mountain Dew and replaced it with Pepsi Max. I’m told it has fewer calories and is less harmful to my system.
But it sure doesn’t handout the immediate charge that a good swig of Mountain Dew does.
But that’s another story.
Come Monday morning our streets will once again be filled with youngsters returning to classes for another year.
School buses carrying our future, vehicles carrying precious cargo and bicycles operated by our youth will fill the streets up and down the Keys as school children return for another year of learning.
The old hands at school, the high school kids, have done this a time or two and they know that they should use caution wending their way into and out of traffic.
But there will be kids out there for whom this will be their first taste of any kind of travel without an adult at their side warning them of the dangers associated with other vehicles, even other walkers.
I have heard reports that there are emaciated deer somewhere on this island, and I’m sure that someone believes that is the case and uses that excuse to feed the little critters. But rest assured, there are no weakling deer in my neighborhood.
In fact, I’m beginning to believe that the deer in my neighborhood are training for the Key Deer power lifting team and plan to compete in the next summer Olympic Games.
As I drove home one recent night, of course it was trash night-eve, the deer around my parts know when trash day is and they come out in force to inspect the goodies before Waste Management makes its run, I turned the corner and there on the side of the road were three little deer, one buck and two doe, wrestling a trash can to the ground. The can obviously was full but those three made short work of knocking the sucker over and pounding off the lid.
Once they had the lid off, they proceeded to drag the trash bags out and rip them to shreds.
As I approached them I thought they would run form the sound of my car (it has mufflers, I’m just not real keen on their silence) but instead they took up defensive postures in front of the can.
I had no intention of stopping my low-slung car to try and shoo them away. They looked intense, focused and ready to be ticked off.
I just drove on.
With the possibility of rapidly rising windstorm insurance premiums still on the horizon, although tempered by the efforts of our own Fair Insurance Rates for Monroe, new threats of rapidly rising flood insurance appear on the horizon.
Last year the US Congress passed legislation that could conceivably drive flood insurance premiums upward by more than 200 percent for local homeowners.
So finally there is some scientific justification to why I am the major draw for any mosquito that happens to be in the general vicinity of me.
If there are 20 people in a group, and one mosquito, then I will be the lone person who winds up with a blood sucker for a friend.
It’s always been that way. It didn’t matter if I was skinny, or carrying a few extra pounds, or well tanned, or lightly tanned, or oiled up for the sun or hidden behind sun block. None of those things made any difference.
Where ever there was one mosquito, it would seek me out and make it a day’s work to try and suck me dry of every ounce of blood it could get.
But now, thanks to a study done by some entomologist with way too much time on his/her hands, somewhere that mosquitoes are a problem, one of the reasons why certain people are bitten is that they drink beer.
Key Deer deaths from human-related causes are at all time highs on Big Pine Key. And there is so much we can do about that.
More than 150 endangered Key Deer were killed in 2012 by collisions with vehicles on the streets of Big Pine Key. If you believe the census handed out by the National Key Deer Refuge, that means 20 percent or more of the entire herd on Big Pine and No Name Key were killed just last year.
While we’re sure that the number of deer exceeds the estimates we’re given, that still a large number of the diminutive animals that die by our hands every year.
And the number of deer killed by collisions has trended upward for the last five or six years.
The reasons given for that are many.
While I was busy trying to catch up on my mile-long honey-do list last weekend, our seven-year-old asked me about helping him build a boat.
Immediately what flashed through my mind was some kind of skiff he and his buddies could take out hunting bugs later in life…but then I shook the cobwebs out and realized he was looking for anything that would float in the water fountain, or the pool, or the remaining rain puddles.
I couldn’t help him at that particular time, but I will get around to it this weekend. (I’ll just have to ignore the honey-do list for a while and hope I don’t get caught).
And now that I have come to my senses and realize what kind of boat he was asking about, I can make some better plans.