Ah, paradise. Waves cracking against a sandy beach, margaritas flowing freely and a cool ocean breeze to cool away all of your worries. From the coast of Maine down to the Caribbean and back again there are hidden spots on the Atlantic Ocean that just make you sit back and say, “God, I wished I lived here.” Sounds so perfect doesn’t it? Think again!!
For those living in paradise it can be a literal Hell of sorts. If you live in the northern end of paradise you have summers filled with uncaring tourists who fling all sorts of junk onto your lawn as they pass by. In the winter you are vandalized and robbed by every teen hoodlum in the entire state because they figure no one lives in paradise off season so who will ever know? Problem is that they are wrong. Some of those homes they so heartlessly smash the windows on or carelessly dump their beer cans around are family homes used year round by people who have to be away a good 8 hours or more a day to make a living to pay for those homes. It literally makes my blood boil to think of it.
Why, you may ask, is Doc thinking about it when she lives in Central New Hampshire? The answer is simple, my grandmother owned one of those paradise homes on a little island off of the coast of New Jersey. For several years, I made my home with her on that little paradise like island. Every morning I would awake to the sounds of the waves crashing and the sounds of the boardwalk amusements beginning to open. Every night I would go to bed to the sounds of car alarms going off, people screaming and people trying to break into our home. After looking at the ocean for a brief moment every morning I would venture down to the bottom floor of the house and out to the yard to see what the tourists had broke, destroyed or defiled this time. And every single morning it was the same thing…………beer cans, condoms, candy wrappers, shopping bags, a broken window or two, a few stolen lawn chairs or even a chair through a window. Some mornings it was worse with feces, vomit and/or used Maxi pads strewn on the front lawn. So it was that every day you had to clean the yard completely before leaving for work to pay for the mess the tourists had made. And so it was that you came home so exhausted every night that you slept through that nights attack.
Now you are probably asking where the police were in all of this. I have to ask the same thing actually. They would get called but the excuse was always the same, we didn’t see anything so we cannot prosecute anyone. I have this to say about that……..”DUH!! Haven’t you ever heard of finger prints?!” So, after a while we stopped calling and took matters into our own hands. That didn’t work either. Grandma had gone out and put Vaseline on our fence so no one could climb it. In the night one of the crooks attempted to make it into our yard and was injured. He then sued grandma and won the case! So that is your answer, the police are way too busy prosecuting the homeowners who are protecting their property from the tourists to bother with the actual criminals.
So, if the police refuse to clean up paradise and the homeowners are not allowed to run the criminals off of the island what can be done? That is actually relatively simple. The problem can be stopped right at the root, the tourists. So, next time you visit paradise please realize that some people do live there. Paradise is not just some stage set in Hollywood set up for your viewing pleasure. Paradise is our home and as such should be respected as any other home. You wouldn’t want me visiting your house with my garbage so I could strew it all over your lawn and then smash out your windows would you? Then don’t think that it is all right to do in paradise. Letting loose on vacation is one thing. Letting loose on vacation on someone’s private property is quite another. Respect us and paradise will always remain paradise for you and your kids to enjoy. Disrespect us and paradise could be lost forever because some homeowners are just giving up and walking away from all of it as we are.
Remember the song, “Pave Over Paradise And Put Up A Parking Lot”? Well, that is happening on our little island because homeowners are frustrated and sick of the disrespect of the tourists. The more frustrated they get the more homeowners sell out to the parking lot developers who pave over paradise, put up a parking lot and then expect you to pay exorbitant fees just to park there. And what do you get when you park in this new concrete paradise? A view of a dirty ocean and a strip of sand a few feet wide. Not exactly paradise now is it? So think about it next time you start to throw a chair, a beer can or feces through someone’s window when you visit paradise. Come on people, you aren’t animals are you? It should be a simple decision to admire a nice home and move on. There are plenty of trash cans on the boardwalk for all of your beer cans and there are public restrooms for your feces, condoms and Maxi pads. So walk the extra 100 feet and do the right thing. That is all that I, Doc, and anyone else living in paradise for that matter, ask of you.