Friday, December 25, 2009

The Veneer Effect

Stuart Florida
12.000 N 080 15.500

I've written several times about the veneer effect. That is, the fact that the view of America that we get from the water is so much nicer that the view that everyone on land has. It is as if a veneer of niceness was layered on top of a heap of ugliness.

Nowhere is the veneer effect more plain than in the neighborhood near here. Last week on Tuesday, we sailed down the Indian River on the ICW from Fort Pierce to Stuart. It wasn't the prettiest stretch of the ICW by far but it was still nice. We saw mostly mangroves, pelicans, and dolphins and we felt very happy about the nature. All in all it was America at it's best, or nearly so.

On Thursday I borrowed Don's car to drive back to Vero to pick up Christmas mail. I drove up route 1 from Stuart to Fort Pierce. Boy what an ugly stretch. Every inch of that 6 lane road is lined with stores, pharmacies, car dealers, and doctor's offices -- all institutions designed to extract money from the retired people in the area. Cars turned left and right everywhere and I was stopped by red lights every half mile. All in all it was America at it's worst, or nearly so.

In the picture below, you can see the Atlantic Ocean to the right, the Indian River and the ICW to the left of that, then the veneer, than US Route 1. Stuart is at the bottom and Fort Pierce at the top. I think that proves my point.

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