On living among the retired one percenters

VeroBeachFLHPAh…Vero Beach!  I love ya.  Seriously, you’re so beautiful.  Your beaches are free and your weather is brilliant.  At the same time, though, I simply can’t pay $135 for a short sleeved, casual shirt at the local men’s shop.  I don’t even know if I wish I could.  It’s a nice shirt, but, let’s face it…it’s not $135 nice.  Come on.

Charge whatever you think you can get.  That’s capitalism.  I’m down with it.  You want a specific clientele.  That’s your right.  I get it.  I know that demographic is here, or else your beach-front specialty stores wouldn’t be able to stay afloat, as it were.  Folks here may drive slowly and have a terrible time parking between the lines, but Lord knows they’ve got plenty of money to spend.

I truly don’t begrudge anyone here or anywhere a nice, comfortable retirement.  I think what’s making me uncomfortable is the exclusiveness.  I’ve lost count of the number of different gated communities I’ve seen during the ten days I’ve been here.

vero_beach_island_club

What’s breaking my heart a little every day I’m here is the obvious effort our society is putting into separating ourselves from one another.  We seem to be buying into the illusion that by putting up walls, implementing rules about the height of our neighbor’s grass, and charging outrageous prices for a golf shirt we’re somehow going to be able to live without the fear of anyone trampling on or taking from us what we’ve worked so hard to store up.

I’m not saying that all who have retired down here constantly say to each other, “Let them eat cake!” But I do wonder if all of the mansions literally built upon the sand here don’t play so very easily into the metaphor of so many misguided uses of money and resources.

We can try our hardest to isolate ourselves from the poor and the disenfranchised.  We can stand our ground all we want against the desperate and needy. But it won’t change the fact that they still exist in great numbers all around us.

Vero Beach, I’m glad to have the opportunity to get to know you.  You have so much potential; so much to offer.  I’m afraid I just may not be your type, and, like a fickle lover, you won’t even notice when I’ve gone.

 

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