Posted by: floridanature | May 14, 2008

Upon Meeting a Political Vegetable

I was driving down US 17-92 today, headed for my Asian veggie mart. As I was trying to pull in, I was nearly run down by a speeding Hummer driven by a woman with a cell phone coming from one direction, and from the other, a very rotund man with three “Real Men Love Jesus” bumper stickers. Reptitive bumper stickers are a bit like having more than one calender on the same wall—okay, I get it the first time—and a Hummer is simply an extravangant waste, sort of the McMansion of the roadway. The fact it cost them $200 to fill up the tank doesn’t much impress me.

I made it safely inside and was immediately calmed by the inscrutable presence of the owner and his wife. Their English is stunted, and I have no knowledge of any Asian language, but we do pretty well, no one bearing down on the other with a ton or more of American hardware. I bought red lettuce and some fine red bell peppers and a pile of tangerines. I looked at the cauliflower and the head of one reminded me of an aging former Seminole county politician I met the other night.

This is sort of another chapter of a human reading “Sprawl” and not getting it. In this case, the guy was an investment broker from Sanford and during his tenure on the commission, had done his level best to encourage his home county to build its self straight to hell via unsustainable planning. I was getting ready to do a book signing, and the guy sort of comes out of the blue, and asks me if I ever sold my old house, the one I was living in when I wrote “Losing it All to Sprawl”. I told him yes, and he goes: You cried and cried about losing that house and then you sold it and made money.

I figured this guy was so obtuse and emotionally retarded that anything I said would not matter. I looked at him and finally said: I would have rather have had the house than the money. This guy was from an era in which Sanford was simply not a particularly friendly place to live, and he embodied all that was wrong about certain rural areas—insularity and a know-it-all arrogance that prevented new information from clouding old prejudices.

And so, I just let it all go. I didn’t buy the cauliflower, although it would have been fun to stir fry it with a habanero.



  1. Great Post. I am a big fan of your work. I am originally from Debary(across the big lake), but I currently live in Gainesville. Your posts always remind me of back home. Keep up the good work.

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