22 September 2007
Welcome to Stepford, Florida
Welcome to The Villages, FL, the perfect town. The buildings are perfect. Downtown has lots of shops and restaurants. The town square was decorated in red, white and blue bunting in honor of the presidential candidate visiting. A "weathered" building near the water added to the authentic atmosphere of a quaint, safe town.
Neighborhoods with gleaming sidewalks and manicured lawns and almost identical houses each with a screened or columned porch completed the picture of utopia. The surrounding retail and chain restaurants all perfectly fit in with the schemes of either a Spanish mission or a southern lake community.
And you never have to yell at those damn kids to get off your lawn, either:
[B]y law, since they've incorporated, the city has to allow at least 38 percent of its inhabitants to be 50 years and younger. We didn't see any of those people during our visit. Though, the high school was equally as manicured and perfect as the surrounding neighborhoods.
But something's churning beneath the surface:
STDs are rampant in Utopia. More alcohol is consumed in The Villages than most college campuses. It's no wonder that at 2 p.m. in the afternoon, a nice silver-haired granny was downing liquor shots at the bar of the restaurant where we ate a late lunch.
The "Bait Shacks" around the town square look quaint. On closer inspection, we found out they were actually bars. Four of them, each at the corner of the town square. I guess when you're 55+, you don't want to walk far for a drink.
You'll note that we haven't even discussed humidity yet.
Maybe I tend to romanticize urban grit, but I am deeply suspicious of any community that seeks actively to suppress it.Posted at 5:01 PM to Dyssynergy