Monday, July 5, 2010

The Spoils of Boynton

It is odd that Florida has become the retirement destination for so many older people, since all the streets in the Sunshine State are indistinguishable from each other. It’s not exactly the ideal rest stop for potential sufferers of Alzheimer’s and senile dementia. The experience of landing in West Palm Beach feels very much like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day. No sooner do you leave the grounds of some new housing development, situated on a golf course with the inevitable bougainvillea covered entrance, than you come upon its exact replica. One marvels that anyone is able to negotiate the many odd thoroughfares, with names like Military or Jog Trail, which bake in the sun and are as wide as beaches, with house numbers that seem to go on to eternity.

The early-bird special is a legendary feature of Florida life, and the prices are so reasonable that many see them as an alternative form of food stamps for the middle and upper-middle classes, whose long lives of service to society are repaid with unlimited refills of salad and Diet Coke. Coupon-cutting is an art form for Florida residents, who take workshops in these matters.  Golf carts circle for prayer and meditation meetings on the ninth hole of Robert Trent Jones courses. Preston Sturges’s Palm Beach Story features the uproarious Ale and Quail hunting club scene, in which a group of revelers is headed down south. But that Florida, the world of ‘30s romantic comedy, was another kettle of fish.


  1. The Palm Beach Story just might be my favorite movie. The Weenie King! You have no idea what a long-legged woman can do without doing anything! ..... Somehow, tho, it never occurred to me they're the same Florida.


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