Monday, December 18, 2006
  shopping for books in the conch republic

Bart Bong, originally uploaded by UrbanTiki.

i brought two books with me to key west this weekend. two. i had started both, but wasn't so far into them that i thought i would finish them both over the weekend.

well, i finished them both in the car ride on the way there. whoops.

so when the rain came, and continued, i started to panic at the idea of not having anything to read at the hotel, if we got stuck in all night. "did you see a bookstore?" i asked chris's cousin, whose name sounds much like "john-jenny." he and his wife, yee mae, took the conch train tour, see. "no, no bookstore." damn.

so chris and i kept our eyes peeled on the walk back to the bed & breakfast. lots of t-shirts. btw, i was amused to see a guy standing and staring at a windowful of t-shirts, his lips moving slowly as he digested the endless witticisms imparted on the cotton. "tell your b... b... boo... boobs to st-st-stop staring at my ey-ey...eyes." you should not have to move your lips to read the front of a tee shirt, people. there were also lots of sarongs, lots of jewelry. shorts with asswriting. paintings of sailboats and tropical scenes, but no books. then finally, "look! a bookstore!"

we excitedly crossed the street. but no, it wasn't a bookstore after all. instead, it was a store that made reproductions of key west landmarks and dives, so if you loved the mermaid & the alligator, for example, you could take a sign of "theirs" home to michigan with you. we saw a very cute sign that i guess is actually hanging somewhere in key west that read: "drive carefully! we love our chicks!" it was yellow with the profile of a rooster and some chicky chicks on it. very cute. :)

we continued on our walk. i came to a very quick conclusion, which i shared with chris. "key west is not the place to buy a book. t-shirts? sure. sex toys? yep! bongs? of course! just no books." and seriously, the bong-to-book ratio in key west is disturbing.

luckily, we found a walgreens with a little book section. the walgreens worker pointed to where i could find them, in the store's back corner. i immediately worried i would have to rub shoulders with guys thumbing through issues of jugs in order to find a book to keep me occupied, but it was a genuine magazine & book section, just very small. i found lots of too-pop fiction (yes, i have read dean koontz before, but that was when i was 13), as well as two books i would actually read but already had (memoirs of a geisha and.. hmm, i forget). i was unimpressed - after all, this was key west. shouldn't there be some island fiction? a doc ford? a carl hiaasen? i'd even take jimmy buffet! and then finally, under a cheesy romance book, i found double whammy by carl hiaasen. he may be formulaic, but he's good. so... jackpot! and it turns out skink is in this book, too. yay!

then today i come home to find christmas gifts from byron, including two more books. so now carl hiaasen has been temporarily deserted in favor of a book about a puppers named marley. :)

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I'm Stacey. I'm a 31(!)-year-old Wisconsin girl living in sunny South Florida. The highlights in my life are my lovely boyfriend, my aloof cats, my adorable/adoring stepdogs, my two lumbering tortoises, select family members, being outside, being underwater, taking pictures, yadda yadda. Stay tuned for lots of babbling!

Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States


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Making a difference

A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and he spent much of his time exploring the seashore.

One day the boy learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand.

When the tide went out, he went down to the beach, began picking up the stranded starfish, and tossing them back into the ocean.

An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what the boy was doing. Seeing the man's quizzical expression, the boy paused as he approached. "I'm saving the starfish!" the boy proudly declared.

When the neighbor saw all of the stranded starfish he shook his head and said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you, young man, but if you look down the beach, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look up the beach the other way, it's the same. One little boy like you isn't going to make much of a difference."

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up another starfish, tossed it out into the ocean, and said: "Well, I sure made a difference for that one!"

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