Monday, March 14, 2011

Act of God*

While shooting the show in August 1992, the Florida Keys were under a Hurricane warning and cast and crew of 'Key West' (at least those that had sense) were hurriedly evacuated. Hurricane Andrew ultimately missed the island itself but the hurricane hit Homestead, Florida (150 miles north of the small island) and southwest Louisiana, killing 61, injuring 10,375 and causing over 1 billion dollars in damages. It was a devastating event for the modern U.S. shoreline (that is until Hurricane Katrina taught us a new level of devastation) and as few as 10 years ago, the gateway to the Keys was still recuperating from the battering they took in the wee hours on the 24th of August. The event was so moving to the writers of the show that it was quickly written into the show's first season allowing their characters to move through the drama they'd personally experienced.

At the epicenter of our drama, Seamus, our New Jersey hero, is excited about the possibility of a little excitement on the island when news of the hurricane is first broadcast. He dons toga and "garland" (really just a scarf of some sort) and parties his way around the island until the seriousness of the situation begins to sink in. Maybe it was time to leave, he waffles as he frantically searches for his clothes. What's your panic, man? His Rastafarian friend soothes him, it's just a little wind. His emotions are tossed like the waves... should he go?... should he stay? Hemingway would stay to experience the full gamut of emotions and life. Yes, but Tennessee Williams wold go and start on his next play. In a final attempt to evacuate he finds that he has waited too long and he is forced to wait out the storm in the ramshackle bar known as Gumbos with the rest of the islanders. As he sits in the candlelit room, surrounded by frightened and worried friends listening to the quiet pluckings of the nearby guitar, he ponders the mystery of nature, of death... of life, 

"That was the night I learned about my mortality. I looked around and realized that everyone in the room was going to die. Just maybe not tonight...but I did learn that we are all always at the station. And the trains are always leaving."    

 (To listen to the song and the final moments of this moving segment of the show, click on the picture to go to my Tumblr blog where audio of the show's final moments are posted.)

*I am an atheist. I do not believe that there is a god who had any hand in the events in Japan or in any other naturally occurring events in the world. While those who believe in god(s) would say that of course god would have no hand in any event like this, these same believers give that deity in the sky  credit when good things happen which is a nonsequitur to me (this was not always true- I grew to that understanding. I am not a knee-jerk atheist). I am no more prone to give a higher power credit for good things than I am to blame a higher power for the bad so the title of the post may be deceptive but the 'Key West' episode my quote is taken from this week has this title... thus, it is named.


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