Tales of the 1%: Paradise Lost

Typical Sabbath at our home

Typical Sabbath at our home

My wife Judy and I are the worst type of snobs and look down our noses at such gauche cultural artifacts as Cadillac Escalades and house brand whiskeys.

We read our Dostoyevsky in Russian, our Kierkegaard in Danish. We couldn’t agree more with Sartre: “L’enfer, c’est les autres.”

Not surprisingly, then, we have always craved our privacy, have bought homes off the beaten path or that possessed either tree-and-shrub sheltered backyards or expanses of marsh as borders.

For example, here’s the backyard of our first home in Rantowles circa 1980.

wes and Judy Rantowles

We chose the lot on Folly Beach where we built our current house to accommodate the neuroses of even the most reclusive agoraphobe, shifting the footprint of the house so it does not face head-on toward the river, but, rather, looks out obliquely to undeveloped Long Island so our eyes aren’t assailed by the unfortunate aesthetic choices of the nouveau riche.

Looking out the front yard you see this:

front view

And from foyer you see this:

backyard 1.0

And until this summer our westward side yard was a forest, but no longer. Now instead of a thatch of tropical foliage, we see this, another house!:

new house

I know what you’re thinking. You entitled piece of shit. Ever seen a favela for Christsakes?   Don’t you realize that you still have more privacy than 99% of the world?


Yes, but, it’s not about the 99%; it’s about me. Now my entire lifestyle has been jeopardized. No more naked Twister on the side porch with Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, no more enjoying the glint of sunlight on my arc of urine streaming in golden splashes from the deck.

These people who have moved in look like squares. They tool around in golf carts and wear Masters golf caps. For all I know they’re going to be blasting Barry Manilow and the Ray Conniff Singers at all hours of the night. How could a loving God have punished me so? What have I done to deserve this?

The horror, the horror!