But reality is suggesting otherwise.
Yesterday, one of my former neighbors from the, “other place” came by the marina in search of a new slip to dock his boat. He has been tied up to the seawall over at the marina of lost hope for well over a year now and was informed that he is to be evicted. The main reason, they are going to begin construction this fall on the new seawall and begin tearing down the boat house for the condos that “he who shall not be named” wants to put in. In passing, said former neighbor claims that the “weasel who passes for a marina manager” also told him that all liveaboards are to be gone this fall. This is not confirmed yet so I don’t know how true it is, but I suspect the worst over there.
So, how would one evict a bunch of paying renters and force condo owners to change the rules so that liveaboards could no longer live aboard? Easy when you got the money and the power. Florida law allows a condo home owners association to change the bylaws and dissolve a condo association with 80% approval of the HOA. I have no doubts that HWSNBN has somehow influenced and gained control of the HOA by now and is making policies that are very unfriendly to liveaboards. Which is exactly what his plan was from the very beginning. Despite him standing before all of us last fall and stating that liveaboards were welcome, and I wasn’t buying any of his bullshit, he blatantly lied to anyone and everyone who would buy his little fairy tale. And now, quite a few liveaboards are about to become cruisers, like it or not. This marina where I currently reside doesn’t have many slips available. The new marina on Stock Island that underwent a major overhaul may be an option but an expensive one compared to what everyone is paying now. The mooring field beckons but with it’s own set of issues. It’s going to get nasty over there and I am glad to be out of it. My only concern is if they all head over here, would some of us get tossed in favor of higher paying renters. I sorta kinda doubt it for now, but as always, I will stay vigilant.
But the whole scenario playing out here is not just happening on Stock Island. All around Florida many condo owners are losing everything thanks to greedy investors and laws that favor those with the money. Read the story at the link and think about what is happening to some of these people. They have put a tremendous amount of money into something that the law says they own. Going into debt for the majority of their lives, paying the taxes, the HOA fees, the upkeep, and just like that, it’s all going to be gone. Their credit will be ruined. They will be homeless. And there ain’t a damn thing they can do about it. It’s the illusion of ownership that I have talked about in the past.
For those of you who have bought property in the past, when you were going through all the motions of viewing the property, getting the mortgage, arranging the financing, wondering how you were going to make the payments, did it ever once occur to you that at some point down the road, after you are settled into your little slice of the “american dream” , that at some point, somebody could come in and take your treasure away from you, and there wasn’t a goddam thing you could do about it except turn around, bend over, and hope they use a little bit of lube? Of course not. It’s that famous old line about one’s home is one’s castle. Property was always advertised as the ultimate source of comfort, joy, and economic security. Not any more. Anybody who reads the horror story in that link, or follows what is going down over at the marina on the edge of the pit to hell, should walk away and say, “No way in hell will I ever own property.”
Look at the woman who is used as an example in that story. She is on the hook for $90,000 and being offered $40,000 to sell. She has no choice. When the dust settles, she won’t be able to rent a refrigerator box behind a Home Depot because her credit will be so bad. And it was nothing that she did. She is paid up with her mortgage payments, fees, and taxes. She did everything right that any home owner would be expected to do. But because someone else values her property more than her, she will lose it. The only difference between what those investors are doing to her, and what some mugger in a back alley with a pistol would be doing, is the investors are well within the laws of the land. Laws that benefit the rich, the powerful, and the elite. While the worker bees get left off to the side in the dust.
Said investors will no doubt argue that what they are doing is simply sound business practices. Buying the condos at a low ball price, renting them until the real estate market comes back, reestablish the condo association, sell the units back at a high profit. Anybody gets in the way? Somebody loses their home or gets their credit rating trashed. Too bad. Not our problem. We are here to make money, not care for people. Don’t like it. Buy us out. If you can.
Welcome to the new world of consumerism and ownership. This is how things are going to be from now on and it’s only going to get worse. This is not about a few boaters or condo owners getting displaced. This is about corporate warlords taking advantage of laws they paid and lobbied to put into place to stifle competition, and give them an edge so they can raid this country of it’s riches. I see it happening here in Key West. It’s happening everywhere in the country. The small one off businesses that were started on a wing and a small business loan by someone who had a simple dream are being closed down or bought out. Overbearing regulations, excessive taxes and fees, all designed to get rid of the small business so the big corporations can move in are becoming the norm here and elsewhere. Those small businesses where the person behind the counter knew you by name, would go the extra mile for you, or work with you to satisfy what you were looking for, have been replaced with faceless, emotionless, homogenized worker bees who deal with you according to a rigid script and set of rules that cannot be broken for any reason. The products they sell are downsized and built to the least costliest standards, sacrificing quality, safety, and reliability for a higher profit margin. Go to any wallymart and you will see what I mean. Individualism and critical thinking are discouraged. Schools barely give the students enough knowledge to balance a check book. The dumber we get as a nation, the more it empowers the corporations to take more from us. And there ain’t much we can do about it.
Well, there is, but very few will be willing to do it.
The answer to all this is actually pretty simple. Refuse to play the game. Do not participate. Or participate as little as possible. What does that mean?
Let’s start with the obvious. Owning as little as possible. Downsizing to the point where the things you have, essential though they may be, will not cripple you financially, emotionally, or otherwise, if they are taken from you in some way, shape, or form.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m saying, MINIMALISM! Like you didn’t see that coming.
But seriously, look at the logic of not owning a bunch of stuff. That which you have can be taken from you. The more you value that which you have, the more it will hurt when it is taken from you. Sure, I may be a bit paranoid here but I read the stories and I see how damn easy it is for one to lose something that is expensive and hard to replace. That condo deal is wrecking the financial and emotional lives of a lot of people. And it’s not just corporations and investors who are in on the game. Many government agencies at all levels have enacted confiscation laws allowing them to seize your property, be it land, vehicles, or bank accounts, in some cases without any crime being committed. If you don’t have it in the first place, they can’t take it from you. Sure, for most people, they will go through their entire lives and the worst thing that will happen to them is they may lose some loose change in the cushions of their comfy sofa. I ain’t talking to most people. I’m talking to the free spirits. Those who are ready to make a change for the more better. Those who do not want to live life according to a mythical and unobtainable set of goals as set forth in some tv advertisement for some new bauble. Those who recognize just how rigged the game really is. I’m gathering that most of the people who come across this blog are looking to break free from the consumerist lifestyle. They are tired of playing the game. And hopefully they are coming to the realization that perhaps all that stuff just ain’t that important after all.
I’ve taken the minimalism ideal to the extreme. I own a small sailboat, mainly so I have a home for the cats, and it provides a reasonably priced shelter for living in one of the most expensive places in the country. But should at some point I become cat free, what I own I will carry in my bag, and nothing more. I will be lightweight, mobile, and free to move about the planet in whatever way I choose.
I have also taken advantage of technology, something that everyone should seriously consider. The internet has become one of the most important inventions since the printing press and despite the attempts by corporations and governments to rope it in, the genie is out of the box now. The knowledge and opportunities that are available through current technology should enable just about anyone of a minimalist mindset to be able to live, function, and make a living online. It may be apps, websites, anything, but you would be doing yourself the best favor of your life to go in and learn as much as about technology as you possible can. The advances are staying well ahead of the regulations and for the foreseeable future, no corporate warlord nor government is going to be able to control it. Use it to your advantage. It’s foolish not to.
Minimalize and take advantage of technology. Become as self reliant and self sufficient as you possibly can. The less you have to rely on corporations or governments, the more free your life will be. And by the way, nothing I am suggesting here is illegal nor would I ever propose so. Make money, pay your taxes. Follow the laws to the letter. Just do less, and you will have less laws that have to be followed. Don’t own property, you ain’t subject to property taxes, insurance, nor upkeep. Don’t own a vehicle, well, there are a ton of things you don’t have to worry about now. Stay away from leases, contracts, and other commitments that will prevent you from living the way you want. But always, always stay legal. Just become less involved.
There is way more to life out there than buying stuff and then working hard to keep it, only to lose it. If you are minimal in your possessions, and mobile then life on this planet has a unique way of really opening up to things you may have only dreamed of in the past. If you are being held back by ownership and are ready to break free, no time like the present. It may take some time to get there, took me 10 years, but if you have the mindset, and are willing to make the changes, there is a whole new life out there waiting beyond the reach of the corporate warlords and the consumerist lifestyle that has swallowed up this once great planet.
Quit giving others the opportunity to profit from you, and start profiting from your own opportunities that you have the ability to bring about. Own less, become self sufficient, and learn to take advantage of what’s out there.
Refuse to play the game.