We’ve just spent a week in The Villages, Florida visiting my dad and his wife, Marian. They bill themselves as “Florida’s Friendliest Retirement Hometown” and with the disclaimer that they only refer to their fine state and not the other 49, I give you these items:
- After patiently waiting for a handicapped space to open up, a woman cut off my dad and grabbed it. My dad walks slowly with a cane and the woman who blithely cut him off moved pretty quickly with no assistance;
- A very cranky old guy with a distinct New Jersey accent told my husband, “Hey pal, why don’t you walk your dog on your own street?”. This was said a few mornings ago and might I add, there are plenty of dogs around The Villages;
- When Marian used a handicapped space in a restroom she was chastised by a woman with a cane and told “you’re not handicapped – I’m going to report you.” Marian has pretty severe arthritis and qualifies for a handicapped placard, but no, she doesn’t need a cane.
Okay, before you jump on me that there are sour folks everywhere, I know. And elderly folks are not more sour than younger folks. But there is something that my dad alluded to and that is a fair number of folks in retirement communities have switched from a “we” orientation to a “me” orientation.
It makes sense – all of their lives they’ve been doing a lot for others – their own parents, their children and spouses and now they are living primarily for themselves. We went to a financial seminar/luncheon and the presenter said that many more of his clients are deciding to not leave money to their kids, reasoning that they paid for college, grad school and the purchase of a first home and this is . . . enough.
Again, it makes logical sense. Nobody should be expecting an inheritance to get to the next step in their own lives. I know people who have done that, and one in particular used to fight with the trustee’s of her dad’s trust for money just to pay her rent. What? C’mon, girl, get and keep a job.
But the Me orientation often ends up as a “Me FIRST” orientation and is on display there at The Villages.
One of the cutesy symbols of The Villages is the golf cart – I think to be fair, they should also have a symbol showing a poor shnook being run over by a golf cart – just to put everybody on notice.
Yep – the Friendliest Hometown.