I live in a small town, Wilton Manors, Florida. Sure, it's practically surrounded by Fort Lauderdale, square in the middle of 100 miles of Cheek-To-Jowl sprawl of Zero Lot Line homes and Mid Century Modern splendor, but this is a small town.
The majority of the place is bounded by two rivers, three miles wide, one wide. I'm close enough that if I set my mind to it I could walk to the beach. Better have good shoes though. I'm close enough that if I set my mind to it, I could walk to Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Philadelphians are known for walking long distances. Good shoes too.
Sure, I'm stretching the "stroll" bit, but I regularly walk my dog Rack the distance to the upper limits of what we'd call Downtown Fort Lauderdale a couple times a week. I'd have to unravel it out to a straight line walk, but the distance is about the same even if I'd have to hop a fence or ford a stream.
The thing is that this really is a small town in the middle of it all. Everything is close enough that I generally don't have to leave The Island. If I really want to see things, I've got my choice within a half hour drive.
It's also quite full. There really aren't any open spaces here that aren't being Considered For Redevelopment. So when someone moves onto The Island, they generally push someone else off.
That's that splash thing.
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For a city of roughly 13000 people, we generally know each other or know someone who could make the introductions. Six Degrees of Separation become usually one or two.
I had that shown to me last night.
We were out walking Rack on a short mile and a half walk. Discussing the nearly full moon over Wilton Drive through the palm trees, the breezes off the Ocean less than two miles away, and the general lay of the land we were interrupted by a horn blowing.
It turned out that it was a friend here, Doug. He was leaning out of the convertible asking if we got the texts yet.
Not me, I have texts turned off on my phone, I fail to see the value of having someone interrupt me while I'm on The Can at any moment.
Kevin didn't get them.
Doug was talking to this Nice British Couple at the bar that turns out works with Kevin at his office. We met them both at their house when I was telling him I could wrap a tow rope around his palm tree to pull the stump out easily. He's my insurance agent, after a fashion, and Doug's right, they really are a nice couple.
The story went that Mark and Tracey wanted somewhere to go that night instead of sitting in so they ended up at the local bar drinking Long Island Iced Teas. Being gregarious folk, they struck up a chat with Doug and found the One Degree of Separation you get in a small city.
When they moved into town a while back, they wanted a place that was safe, quiet, and near everything. So they pushed someone else off The Island and settled into a Mid Century Home over on the East Side that is near but not on the water with a dead palm tree that needed to be hacked out of existence.
They also adapted well to our quirky night life and the helpful bartender who suggested that they may be in the wrong kind of bar for their demographics. The helpful bartender needed to be a little less helpful, the place was the right kind of bar for the night out on the town since they left after having a great time chatting with Doug and texting Kevin all sorts of details.
So welcome if you're planning on moving in. You'll find that because the homes are bought up, those that go on the market are rising in price back towards "what we paid for them at the peak of the market a few years back". Just listen for the splash and if you're lucky you'll find your own really nice British Couple to be friends with.
Don't worry, the tree's gone. You won't need to borrow my Jeep.