Written -- a little while ago.
I still haven't got that haircut. Maybe tomorrow.
Let me tell you about some of my neighbors here on Marlin Pier.
Diagonally across, between Blair and Beanie's houseboat and Tim's floating home, Bill and Bev Blue live. They are retired, mostly, though Bill plays a gig at the Green Parrot about once a month and does a few other private gigs around town. Next week, he and Bev will travel up to the mainland and go on up to a festival somewhere in mid-state where he's performed for years.
They manage to get by on Social Security and a small inheritance income, by driving a ten year old car, living quietly with their cat, Roscoe and a new Yorkie puppie named Buster. They have the unique perspective of having lived right here on this pier before it was rebuilt, and during the time the transition of Houseboat Row from South Roosevelt Boulevard to Garrison Bight was going on. They moved back to New Smyrna Beach while their daughter went to college and veterinary school, then got back here just about a month after we moved in.
I've become buddies with Bill. We talk often about things that are going on here and elsewhere, because we're inveterate news junkies, mostly from the internet and the local papers. Lately, we've been focused on what the City is trying to do with Garrison Bight, and especially with the four docks of the live-aboard section. Like old men everywhere, we've accumulated wisdom and experience that allows us to see things more clearly than other, younger folks.
The City's plan hasn't been well thought through. It seems to us to be designed to so enhance the marina so as to make it into something it was never intended to be. The people who live here are mostly either retired, or working in jobs that pay the rent, utilities, buy some food and, in a good month, have enough left over to amuse themselves.
An interesting fact: the median annual family income for Monroe County in 2012 is calculated to be just over $72,000. (I know). That number is severely skewed by the wealthier, whose income is largely based on acquired wealth and not from daily labor. I doubt that there are more than a few people here whose income is anywhere close to the median.
With our Social Security, and a small annuity that I got in exchange for cashing out a retirement plan from a company that I spent twenty years at, we do alright, manage to be generous to others, eat out a few times a month. By dipping into reserves that we keep aside at the credit union, the proceeds of another IRA that we cashed in when we moved here, we're even able to splurge on a luxury now and then, and keep up with maintenance on the houseboat.
We've organized the live-aboards by selecting a dock representative from each dock to carry our message to our City Commissioner. Through him, we expect to get the chance to show staff that their plan is not well thought out , and that there are other ways to fund improvements, and other ways to lower the need for additional capital to be raised on the backs of the good people of Houseboat Row.
Someone said something like, "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty". Whoever said it, and whatever they may have said, the thought is there. If we aren't vigilant, and if we don't assert our liberties, those who would rob us, who would manipulate us, who would suppress us, will ultimately defeat us.
We mustn't let that happen.