Friday, May 25, 2007


Today, I was thrilled to begin day one of a four-day weekend with a seven-hour visit to my mechanic over in Drew Park to have my car's brakes replaced (and if you know how rare it is for me to get a two-day weekend, you can imagine just how thrilled I was). Normally, brake jobs only take about a quarter of that time (not to mention a quarter of the price) but Jeeves is an extremely rare and unique model of car, commonly referred to as a "shitbox", so special care and handling like this from time to time is to be expected.
Now there is only so much Tetris a person can play on their cell phone (and I play it like it's 1986 and it just came out) so out of sheer boredom I took a nice long walk and explored the neighborhood. I can tell you that I don't know much about Drew but I sure didn't see a park. Unless by "park" you mean "lingerie modeling studio". And by "lingerie modeling studio" I mean "seedy whorehouse". I saw a whole bunch of those. I also saw low-income apartments and some houses but I was struck by how there sure are an awful lot of adult entertainment establishments in a residential area. The marketing slogan for the Drew Park Convention & Visitors Bureau must be "Come for the whores, stay for the houses". Drew Park might be the oddest neighborhood I've ever seen, as it seems to be comprised of equal parts adult entertainment, auto repair shops/small, non-descript manufacturing plants and people's homes, all scattered among each other, with several of each on every street just randomly strewn about with no apparent thought given to placement. This must be the land that zoning laws forgot.
I find it interesting because as long as I've lived here, there has been almost constant hand wringing over the rampant prostitution problems on Nebraska and east Hillsborough avenues. Yet, there's a thriving red light district within walking distance of Raymond James Stadium, Legends Field and Hillsborough Community College that nobody seems to know (or is it care?) about. Maybe it's because these are all professional, licensed businesses where nothing untoward happens (I know ; ) ; ) are the emoticons for wink, wink but what do you use for nudge, nudge?). Or maybe since both the Tampa Police Department and Florida State Highway Patrol have substantial bases right in the heart of the neighborhood, we all rest assured knowing that no illegal activity of any kind takes place there. Or maybe we just kind of like having it tucked away there; you know, close to the airport, hotels and the, um, show bars that cater to (and collect sales tax from) a certain segment of tourists but not on the main drag where the nice people who live here would have to worry about it. But ladies, if you come across hubby's credit card bill and you see charges from a business located on Lois, Alva, Osborne, Hubert or Cayuga, you might want to know the going rate for a brake job before you ask him about it. I'm just sayin'.

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