The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 9, 2012

Mike Pound: Ahh, Key West and nothing to do

By Mike Pound
Globe Staff Writer

— I’m typing this on my laptop computer.

I am sitting by a swimming pool just off of Duval Street in Key West, Fla., and my computer screen keeps fogging up because of the humidity.

And you thought you were having a bad day.

After I finish this column, my wife and our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, want to go shopping. I think I will let them.

While my wife and Emma go shopping, I will probably jog for a couple of miles, or perhaps I will find a gym and exercise.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sometimes I crack myself up.

Actually I’m not sure what I will do while my wife and Emma go shopping, and frankly I don’t care. There is just something about Key West that sort of discourages planning.

The lack of planning is about the only thing about Key West that my wife isn’t so sure about. My wife likes to plan. If my wife had planned the D-Day invasion of Normandy it would have been over in 30 minutes.

Last night, while I was sitting by this very same swimming pool drinking a beer and watching Emma try to do cartwheels in the water, my wife was inside planning.

“I have to make a list,” my wife said when I asked her what she had to plan.

Apparently my wife had certain shopping priorities that had to be accomplished and certain shipping priorities, as a result of the shopping, that had to be accomplished.

I’m all for the shipping part of my wife’s plans. Shipping reduces the packing and the carry-on-the-plane load, which reduces the amount of profanity that comes from my mouth.

My wife likes to pack for trips. My wife will take a suitcase designed to handle — oh, let’s say 50 pounds worth of material — and force 395 pounds of material into the bag. I don’t how she does that.

Last Tuesday, in Miami Beach, I watched my wife stack so much stuff into a suitcase that it resembled one of those giant hero sandwiches that Dagwood makes.

“That will never close,” I told my wife.

“Yes it will,” my wife said.

And darn if it didn’t.

I’m typing this about two blocks from Ernest Hemingway’s house, and on Wednesday, I walked by the building that housed the apartment Hemingway stayed in when he first came to Key West.

Many years ago I stepped on a cat at the Hemingway House. Cats at the Hemingway House are treated like deity. It’s said that the cats are direct descendants of Hemingway’s original six-toed cat, but I don’t know. All I know is that years ago, after my wife and I took the guided tour of Hemingway’s House, we were walking around the grounds on our own and I accidentally stepped on one of the cats.

The cat was not happy.

Also years ago, Capt. Tony, another great, former Key West resident, told me that Hemingway hated cats.

“If he saw one on his property he would grab it and throw it over the fence,” Capt. Tony said.

I don’t know if that is true or not, but I would like to think it is.

I like reading Hemingway. As I sit here today I find myself wondering if he would ever catch himself writing about his wife packing a suitcase.

“The packing was good. It was fine. It was good, fine packing.”

OK, maybe he wouldn’t do that. But Hemingway did write some pretty good stuff while he lived in Key West. I find myself wondering if I would write some pretty good stuff if I lived in Key West. But judging by the fact that I haven’t even made plans beyond 1 p.m. today, I’m guessing I wouldn’t.

I’m guessing I would do nothing if I lived Key West. Doing nothing is big in Key West. In fact, Key West might be the do nothing capital of the world.

One time my wife and I were sitting in an outdoor restaurant in Key West, and after we gave the waitress our order, she said “If you need anything I’ll be in that shop across the street. I have to do some shopping.”

I thought that was funny.

The thing is, after the waitress brought us our drinks, we didn’t need anything. We were very happy just sitting at our table and watching the people walk by.

We were perfectly happy doing nothing.

And now I know what I’m going to do this afternoon.