No more! No more being... subtle!
January 27, 2012 3:47 PM   Subscribe

Take a ride through The Villages, FL, a retirement community where the Joneses are defined by... golf carts.
posted by troll (36 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The post title is a quote from this apropos clip of Babes In Toyland (1986).
posted by troll at 3:47 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

They have a big annual christmas golf cart parade. I live in central FLA.
posted by Flood at 3:54 PM on January 27, 2012

Oh hell yes.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:54 PM on January 27, 2012

Man, I totally thought that Babes in Toyland was a famous porno for all these years.
posted by cmoj at 4:03 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Excellent. Bad drivers are much less scary (and less dangerous) in golf carts. Now let's get this to catch on everywhere else.
posted by idiopath at 4:08 PM on January 27, 2012

What happens when it rains?
posted by Defenestrator at 4:10 PM on January 27, 2012

For the record when I'm old my golf cart will be a replica Holden Gemini, lowered, with a woofer in the back the size of the seat of an office chair.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:12 PM on January 27, 2012

What happens when it rains?

Water vapor in the air condenses to the point where it's heavy enough to fall.
posted by ODiV at 4:14 PM on January 27, 2012 [29 favorites]

I can't wait until I'm old enough to move into one of these places.
posted by Gator at 4:19 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly this is all the car that most people actually need. A little room, a little speed, a little shelter...

Maybe this IS the electric car.
posted by hermitosis at 4:30 PM on January 27, 2012 [6 favorites]

oy. half of the in-laws live in The Villages. it's freakin' surreal. everyone is drunk on $2 mudslides and there is dancing in the town square almost every night. I spend half my time there photographing tricked out golf carts and the other half explaining that I *don't* speak Chinese because, after all, I live in Japan.

The golf carts have to be seen to be believed.
posted by squasha at 4:40 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

You know, I bought a car from someone in The Villages a couple years ago, and now I'm really disappointed that I didn't notice any of these sweet golf carts. I must have been in the poor section because I only saw regular golf carts.

(But I did buy an awesome 1988 Saab 900 with only 70k miles)
posted by czytm at 4:51 PM on January 27, 2012

Wow. That is some serious Snow Crash shit right there.
posted by phooky at 4:54 PM on January 27, 2012

Shriners dune buggies.
posted by bukvich at 5:04 PM on January 27, 2012

My partner's parents and grandfather both retired to The Villages. Since meeting her, I visit once a year for about a week at the end of the year. This past visit we took a long walk everyday which allowed for lots of time to observe and ponder my surroundings.

I keep on writing and erasing observations and criticisms because I can't bring myself to mock and criticize all these old folks that I associate with people's loving, cookie baking grandparents.

Without trying to be too negative, the whole place feels fake...but it's real. Plaques in front of real buildings tell fake histories for real people living demographically-isolated lives. I don't know. Maybe I'm just projecting my frustrations about mainstream American culture onto The Villages?

When I think of non-privatized cities in the US, I think of cultures and infrastructures that came together with lots of different groups pushing and pulling, which makes a complicated, diverse and interesting (to me) place to be. The Villages seems to be assembled with a much stronger, more unauthentic template and given to a single population who just wanted to play a lot of golf.
posted by danep at 5:07 PM on January 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

I really think that this is a terrific idea. Everyone one wins. If the demographic was different - college-y environmental types for instance - and this were somewhere else - Colorado, or Pacific Northwest, for instance - any hint that a town could transition from large cars and trucks to small electric vehicles for personal transport, and make it widely socially acceptable to do so, would be seen as revolutionary. I think all the "Hyuk hyuk old people in Florida" stuff misses the point. We need many many more towns that start from a premise like this.
posted by carter at 5:23 PM on January 27, 2012 [5 favorites]

Without trying to be too negative, the whole place feels fake...but it's real. Plaques in front of real buildings tell fake histories for real people living demographically-isolated lives. I don't know. Maybe I'm just projecting my frustrations about mainstream American culture onto The Villages?

Right there with you. My parents retired to Naples, FL around 1992 or so, and every time i go it feels "off". I have a friend who grew up there in the town that was before the rich moved in, and she never regretted moving to Wisconsin (although she now lives outside Portland). It's creepy, basically the most segregated place i've ever been to, not just racially, but how rich, so most of the area is so homogenous it's depressing. Nothing flowed like a city would either, it's all developments, shopping, and golfing. Have to drive quite a lot to get anywhere, no history of it's own, etc. Florida is such an odd state...
posted by usagizero at 5:27 PM on January 27, 2012

If the demographic was different

I couldn't care less about it being old people, my concern is if they are street legal and safe. I get laughed at when i talk about wanting a Smart Car for just tooling around town, my friends go on and on about how some show had shown an accident between one and an SUV at highway speeds. O_o I'd love it if people got breaks for driving things like this in towns and cities, they'd be safer and waste less gas, but you know the macho big car thing would never allow it. :P
posted by usagizero at 5:32 PM on January 27, 2012

Wouldn't a place with such a design also incidentally have perfect bike infrastructure? If I ever had an internet job I would totally live it up with the old people and my bike
posted by Blasdelb at 5:35 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

my concern is if they are street legal and safe

I'm not sure about the legal side, but on normal roads, sure, they can be dangerous. But the town infrastructure includes segregated golf cart routes. So I guess they mainly use those. That was partly the point - they built the place for golf carts, and then people adopted them (at least as far as I can understand).
posted by carter at 5:36 PM on January 27, 2012

Terrible traffic in The Villages, too, due to terrible design. I was just marveling at the fakeness last month, just before I marveled at all the new subdivisions built in the last couple of years(!) aimed at people who commute into Orlando every day.
posted by wierdo at 5:37 PM on January 27, 2012

We saw this holiday golf cart coming out of a restaurant in Florida over Christmas. It was a fun surprise.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:43 PM on January 27, 2012

they built the place for golf carts, and then people adopted them

Ah, that makes sense. For some reason i kept remembering all the people up here in Wisconsin who hop on golf carts and such to try and get around drunk driving laws, going on regular roads and such. Golf cart paths that double as bike paths? that would be beyond awesome if more places did that. Here in River Falls there are actually some nice off street bike and walking paths that are paved and well taken care of, helps that it's mostly a small (12k people) college town i guess though.
posted by usagizero at 5:54 PM on January 27, 2012

I find it impossible to think of The Villages without thinking of this. It is my curse, and now I pass it along to you.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:20 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

The shipyard in Pearl Harbor was kind of like that, on a smaller scale, when I worked there. The shops would have several golf carts to get from worksite, to shop, to admin office, etc. and maybe only one or two real cars or pickups for the big hauling jobs or driving off-site.

It was pretty dang cool. It often made me wish they would take the downtown areas of cities, put a big parking lot outside it, and block it off to car traffic completely.* I can see how it wouldn't be as cool in a place without generally nice weather like Hawaii (or Florida) all the time.

*Delivery hours or something? I guess restocking a grocery store by golf cart might not be the most practical thing.
posted by ctmf at 6:25 PM on January 27, 2012

Good for them. Tricked-out electric-cart convertibles, complete with special effects, to zip around an adult playground? Hellz ya.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:20 PM on January 27, 2012

My Grammy spent her last decade in the Villages. I really enjoyed visiting her there. The absolute eerie calm of the place is indescribable. Sun cooks the perfect green lawns. Lizards laze about the shrubbery. Everywhere, there is a deep buzzing hum, caused by grasshoppers or perhaps AC units.

If (when?) I am ever on the run from the law, I think I'll lay low in the Villages, where the weather is hospitable, the natives are friendly and befuddled, and one can always claim to be someones grandson or nephew or something.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:23 PM on January 27, 2012

There was always the issue of the residents venturing out into the real world (ie, over to Walmart) in their golf carts and getting caught by the law. And the local kids (who HATED the villages, as its self-contained economy did nothing for the white-trash suburban waste surrounding it) would often sneak in, raid the bars at the clubs, and drive the carts into the water traps.
posted by es_de_bah at 8:27 PM on January 27, 2012

My partner's mother lives in the Villages. I am 26. I am only allowed to use the "family" pools, which are mostly for people's visiting grandchildren. You have to be 30 to use the "adult" pools.

I have joked that I am going to show up on my 30th birthday with a boom box, a posse of frat boys, and cases of Miller Lite to crash the adult pool.
posted by nakedmolerats at 9:44 PM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

My mother lives there, so my partner and I spent Thanksgiving and Xmas there this year. Other posters have already captured its surreal-ness pretty well (although I don't think anybody mentioned the fake historical boat tour you can take at the fake Cape Cod/Key West-ish themed shopping plaza). The golf carts seem cute but are actually a bit alarming - my sister and I both got told off by our mom for not "punching it" when she let us drive hers; people really move in those things! When I would take my dog to the dog park I would inevitably end up talking with residents who wanted to discuss how great the Villages were, but the frequency and intensity of these discussions always left me feeling as if they knew they were all being monitored by Camazotz Central Intelligence ...

My partner and I were particularly amused to read in one of the Villages magazines that Steve Carell's parents live there.
posted by DingoMutt at 9:56 PM on January 27, 2012

From the wiki-article:

As Blechman told National Public Radio in March 2010, "Everything's owned by the developer. . . . The government is owned by the developer. Everything's privatized — and they're happy with that. You know, they've traded in the ballot box for the corporate suggestion box."

They're living in the future!
posted by goethean at 10:03 PM on January 27, 2012

Forgot to mention one of the jokes that (according to my mom) every resident knows:

A. What does it mean when a golf cart driver in the Villages sticks their arm out their window?
Q. The window's open.

Hand signals for turning, stopping, and whatnot are, um, sort of left to individual whimsy.
posted by DingoMutt at 10:03 PM on January 27, 2012

Wow. I better kick up my savings program.

I want in.
posted by codswallop at 10:06 PM on January 27, 2012

posted by Splunge at 11:02 PM on January 27, 2012

For the first time in my life I regret not having children upon whom I can depend to smother me with a pillow if I ever spend money on a golf cart modified to look like a humvee,
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:23 PM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Florida is an environmental disaster, and a big part of the problem is the hordes of aging, mostly white, often arrogant people who feel they are entitled to not pay state taxes in the states where they raised their kids and to spend the rest of their lives playing golf on courses responsible for massive chemical and other environmental damage.

I spent some time visiting in-laws in one of these enclaves and swore never to return. Their home was built on reclaimed wetland and while I was there I watched various poisons broadcast over the golf courses and the water hazards, where various indigenous fowl misguidedly thought they could safely feed and raise their young. The place was populated with white haired men and their younger wives (mostly #2 or #3) with rigid, trout-pouty faces, delighted to mingle and drink behind locked gates with others as financially fortunate. The cookie-cutter condos all sported two-way garages to house the Lexuses and spiffy golf carts.

On our visit we heard about "Pedro," (probably not his real name) the "very nice" gardener who doubtless lives miles away, occasionally given castoff clothing because, "you know, those people have so many kids and no money." We also heard about the local, native wild pigs, who, heaven forbid, tore up the fairways. "We call a guy," explained Father-in-Law. "He comes in a truck with his sons and some guns. No more pigs."

No freakin' thanks.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:24 AM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

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