Tuesday, March 14, 2006


[warning: this post is relentlessly negative]
You've heard of the "worried well?"

I've just spent five days surrounded by the "whining well-off," middle-class retirees in Southern Florida. Now I am sitting in the Atlanta airport, in the midst of employed people who have real lives, with a ticket for the Pacific Northwest, and I think the pervasive whine is at last fading away. But, just to hasten my personal exorcism, here's a list of the complaints that occupy the waking hours of Southwest Florida senior citizens:

1. Condo developments (other than the ones they just moved into)
2. Traffic that clogs the roadways (making it difficult for them to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner out)
3. Construction of new roadways
4. Crowded restaurants
5. People who don't speak English as well as they do (particularly if those people drive expensive cars and live in their condo developments)
6. The shortage of gardeners and and maintenance workers
7. People who don't speak English as well as they do who are sending their children to public schools to learn English
8. Neighbors who don't keep up their condo units
9. Increasing maintenance fees to keep up condo developments
10. Exorbitant prices the greedy and clueless neighbors are asking for their (inferior) condo units
11. Incompetent real estate agents who can't sell their condo units for exorbitant prices
12. Democrats who are picking on "our President"
13. People who attend church dressed too casually
14. People who eat out in restaurants dressed too casually
15. The red tide
16. Mold in condo units
17. The expense of getting rid of mold in condo units
18. People who are too cheap to get rid of mold in condo units

Monday morning I talked my mom into driving out to the beach. I went for a walk along the water, with deserted mansions on one side and sandpipers, pelicans, and cormorants on the other. I got back from my walk to discover my mother talking with a woman from North Carolina. She told us she comes to the beach every day, feeds the sandpipers, walks, and swims. She was trilling away with delight about how much she enjoys the great weather and the warm water.

We gathered up our towels, said goodbye to the woman, and walked along the boardwalk to the car. "Boy, what a weirdo she was," my mother said. Yes, I agreed. The pleasant, cheerful woman certainly didn't fit in with the rest of them.

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