If there is one thing Key West is famous for, it’s the strange characters which hang out there. Mayhaps it’s why I felt so much at home during my years on the island. A walk down Duval Street or hanging out at Sunset on Mallory, or even just going to the shopping center reveals quite the variety of unusual and unique personalities. Most of whom are crazy, burned out, and most likely contagious in some way. Look but don’t touch. Get your shots before you go.
Despite the entertainment value of running into said freaks, I was hoping moving out here to Maui would bring about a more better and saner group of island denizens. Not so much. Seems everytime I head out and about I run into the weird, the crazy, the equally burnt out, and I suspect, just as contagious as back in the good ol’ Conch Republic. Take this past Friday for example. I went down to the bus stop to find my way across the island in search of some poke’. Here was what was waiting at said bus stop…
She was standing there, holding a cardboard sign which read, ‘More Housing, Less Policing’, and screaming at the top of her lungs about the lack of affordable housing on the island, how she had to sleep in a ditch, how the rich are oppressing the poor, how president Stablegenius™ needs to be impeached, and how there is no place for the homeless to take a shit. I will give her credit, noble causes one and all, but standing there at a bus stop, screaming is going to do nothing to improve her situation. She did get on the bus when I did, but mercifully did not scream at anyone during the ride into town.
On my way later, on a different bus, we stopped at a bus stop near the local Salvation army where a group of urban outdoorsmen have a small encampment. One in particular decided to make said bus stop his new home and had all his worldly goods strewn about the benches and seats, including three half empty bottles of liquor.
It’s like this all over the place, and from what I have heard, even worse on Oahu in Honolulu. Unlike Key West though, there is little patience with the homeless out here. The police routinely sweep their camps but all the denizens do is move somewhere else. I wondered aloud to someone the other day how these people got here and wound up like this. From what I could see, no way any airline is going to let any of them onto an aircraft. Said someone replied most of them came here a long time ago when they were ‘normal’. They had jobs, but couldn’t make it given the high cost of living, and gave up. Now they roam the streets and bus stops, begging and just existing. And no, it’s not how I will end my days so don’t get your hopes up.
I have little tolerance for them, and it may sound a bit cruel but I have had one too many encounters with them. Too many times they have tried to hit me up for money or whatever, or tried to engage me in conversation in hopes of getting something. I get tired of it and have no patience for their bullshit at all. If you want to be homeless and live like this, have at it. Just don’t involve me.
But even worse than the urban outdoorsmen, are the bible nazi’s. They are everywhere out here and it’s really getting to be a pain in the ass. Street preachers, assholes who think they have some sort of right to spread their bullshit to anyone who happens to be within earshot, and the just plain crazy who have lost all sense of reality. Apparently, it’s much easier to be a christian in a tropical paradise. Easier to spread the word of some god when it’s sunny and mild rather than preach on some freezing street corner in the great white north.
These people are truly absolutely nuts. One asshole who also happens to be an urban outdoorsman, has a nasty habit of walking up to a crowd of people and telling everyone they are about to die and meet someone named jehovah. He is mean and hateful, especially to young couples displaying any kind of affection towards each other. I’m amazed someone hasn’t kicked the shit out of him yet.
Another I see often is a very prim and proper young lady, who never smiles, scowls at everyone, never engages in conversation with anyone, but sits on the bus or at a stop reading a notebook full of handwritten odes of faith to the almighty jebus. She is living in a tropical paradise and seems absolutely miserable, except for the nice weather of course.
Is this what those religions are teaching? Hate, suspicion of others, smug derision? I don’t know shit about any of it, because I learned a long time ago how fake it all is , but seems to me, if you are following the teachings of some peaceful wood worker from the middle east who preached love and helping your fellow man, and you are spreading hatefulness, you are doing it wrong. It takes a pretty weak mind to deny reality and put your beliefs and life into following some fake invisible wizard in the sky. What really pisses me off is their belief they should tell us, who don’t give a Norwegian Rodent’s posterior, all about their wonderful religion of peace, love, and superior firepower. Keep it to yourself.
I guess there is no getting away from them. I suppose I could get a vehicle which would eliminate the bus encounters but with gas hitting $4 a gallon out here, it’s a lot cheaper to just ignore them best as I can. Should they persist in bothering me I can muster up a pretty scary, piratey growl which can deter all but the most burnt out. Act even crazier then they are and they will pretty much leave you alone.
The fact is there is simply a lot of crazy in this world. Said world is very complicated and a lot of people can’t handle it. They lose control, give up, or get caught up in a weak moment and start believing some shit from a goddam ancient book of fables written by sheep herders in the desert who made up a bunch of nice stories to take their minds off the fact air conditioning had not been invented yet. (thanks to Lewis Black). For those of us who haven’t fallen off the edge of the world yet, we have to put up with said crazy and it just makes it a bit more difficult to enjoy said world.
Thanks jebus, jehovah, and president StableGenius™ for fucking things up for everyone.
I did get some poke’ though. Mighty tasty as always.