The TV program Beachfront Bargain Hunt shows couples examining three properties, then deciding on which one to buy. “So which house did you chose?” finally asks the realtor as they fade into commercial.
I am surprised by how much the people value being on the water, even when it is only a narrow canal and they are mainly looking into a string of trashy back yards on the other side. “Come over to the window, Honey,” they say. “Look at this great view!”
My son’s first condo in Florida was like that, except across the canal were tony, multimillion-dollar houses. He had by far the better view. Trashy backyards are generally inversely proportional to the value of the property. Their view was of his block of factory-made condos.
But I learned an important lesson while sitting on his tiny balcony overlooking the canal. A parade of large cabin cruisers heading out to open water would begin every day by mid-morning. The boats were all the same. On the open deck at the stern were the owner’s heavily made up wife and her friends sitting around a table, cackling away with drinks in hand. He, whose lifetime of work paid for all this, was high up at the helm, alone and looking bored to death, thinking, “Here ladies, have a big pitcher of shut the hell up. My treat.”
Do you think Paradise is retirement on the water with a big boat and a big house? It only looks that way from a distance.