This image is very unfair to Bellport, where the lots are bigger, the houses are nicer, and the street grid is sanely rectilinear -- none of these stupid Levittown swoops and curves, designed to entertain people in cars, people half-catatonic with boredom after their two-hour commute back from the Office.
Ludwig, mine host, mentioned to me that he had an old car -- a nice old car; a Jag? An Aston-Martin? Can't quite recall -- hidden in his garage. He had to hide it because the Bellport civic authorities have outlawed the possession of unregistered, un-tagged cars. It's thought to be a very white-trash thing, in Bellport, to keep an old car around for parts.
The stated reason for encoding this prejudice into law, however, is that old cars kept around for parts "lower property values". An argument which, apparently, everybody accepts.
This is not, after all, my political blog. So I will just ask two questions here:
(1) Why are low property values a bad thing? If food and medicine gets less expensive, that's a good thing, right? Why are there different rules for houses and house lots?
(2) We Amurricans like to believe that we are sturdy rugged individualists, resentful of nannyism and intrusive gummint. So how does it come about that so many of us live in places where the Authorities can -- and do -- tell us what color to paint our houses, and what we can keep on the lawn?
Tomorrow Penelope and I are back on the water, where property is -- forgive the pun -- a more fluid thing.