I discovered where boomers go to live out their youthful dreams. When they were young they couldn’t afford a Corvette or a ’57 Chevy. When they finally started making a little money they had five kids to feed and a mortgage. Then they bought a few toys, like boats and campers, to make life interesting and keep the kids entertained. Soon it was college tuition, the tech bubble and the great recession. But, a chosen few feel like they made it to boomer paradise. It’s the Disney World of senior living. They call it “The Villages.” It actually sits a hundred miles north of Disney World. It stretches on for miles and miles and keeps growing. It consists of theme villages. It’s almost surreal. Lots of people are driving around in that Corvette or ’57 Chevy they always dreamed about. Most are driving around in golf carts that just looks like a Corvette, a ’57 Chevy as well as any other dream vehicle you can think of. I didn’t see any shuffle board courts. I did hear about something called “Pickleball.” Not sure what that is all about. I was afraid to ask once I heard sexually transmitted diseases among seniors at “The Villages” are running rampant. A doctor blamed Viagra, a lack of sex education and no risk for pregnancy. I’m guessing there is a link to “Pickleball.”
It looks like something you would only find in America. Small downtown squares lined with golf carts shrouded in the false facade of vintage vehicles. Streets named after all the things that used to live where cookie cutter houses now crowd together. Shopping, dining and entertainment at every compass reading, and the constant temptation to pop a blue pill and rock the night away with some dreamboat with brand new knees.
We strolled into a plaza crowded with line dancers stepping to a band from Alabama that was a little pitchy. The sound wasn’t that important. It was Happy Hour and the booze concession was all set up on the corner. Anyone who wasn’t feeling groovy already just needed to get in line and go with the flow.
With my Pina Colada in hand I sat down to listen to the pitchy band. A friendly guy in front of me turned and asked if I golfed. I said, “never.” He said, “How about Pickleball?” I moved on before he asked me to dance.
There is nothing wrong with “The Villages.” It almost seems an appropriate place for many boomers. From what I could see nothing much had changed with this generation. They were still enjoying their sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll.
--Keep Smilin’, Dick E. Bird