Saturday, October 30, 2004

Fantasy Fest

Citizen's Voice of the Day

There is a difference between sleeping overnight in a car or van and living out of it for days and weeks on end, which is what is happening in Key West. The U.S. Department of Interior Web site defines camping as including 'auto and trailer camping.' Living out of a van or car is camping, and camping on public property in Key West is illegal."

We went to our first Fantasy Fest parade since 2001 today. Someone in a position to know said that she felt that the crowds were smaller this year than in 2003, and it seemed to me too that it was a smaller crowd than I remember. Channel 6, Miami gave an estimate of 60,000 people. I remember hearing numbers like 70 or 80 thousand in '99 and 2000, fewer than that in 2001, soon after 9/11. The parade is much as we remembered it. The street scene before and after the parade was not much different, perhaps a little more risqué than before and, in a few cases, more vulgar.

As I waited at Sharon's shop for Janet to return from her foray down Duval St. with her Red Sox posters hanging front and back over her red sox (panty hose, actually), I watched a couple on the sidewalk in front, he wearing a thong of some sort, she with painted breasts, as they stood at first talking with friends. I watched her grow increasingly drunk as the evening wore on, and become increasingly more insistent that passers-by stop and admire what she had on display. Shortly after the parade began, she slumped to the steps, unable any longer to stand by herself. Her husband (I assumed) picked her up and propped her against one of the columns of the porch, but she only lasted a few more minutes there before he took her away somewhere. Who knows, maybe back home she's a mother, perhaps a grandmother (she looked to old enough), and maybe she's a pillar of her community. Or maybe not.

There were other things I saw that I won't attempt to describe here, on the off chance that our grandchildren might read this, or other relatives. As I watched the parade, there were two trains of thought running in my mind. "Nice parade, crowds enjoying themselves, no big problems, at least nearby", was one of the trains. The other train was the one I wrote about on last Thursday, "I wonder who these people are and if they behave like this while they are in their home towns or cities."

Nevertheless, Fantasy Fest was undoubtedly a financial transfusion for companies and individuals who suffered through hurricane season. I'm glad for them.

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