The Florida Percent
Down at the bottom of Southwest Florida, it can feel as if the one percent has eked out its own private orange grove. Take a drive along the coastline, and you will find yourself dodging Maseratis, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis. There's a glut of millionaires and billionaires, wealthy folks who can afford to buy second houses, and the immigrants who service them. Many of the homes have been built inside gated communities: mechanically-mapped imaginary moats wrapping around plots of land cut off from the rest of the world by gates and fences. Half the year, the place is besotted with the so-called snowbird population fleeing the snow up north. The other half of the year, it's humid and deserted. In the margins, there are bears, bobcats, alligators, turtles, dolphins, otters, pelicans, panthers, egrets, and rays. Take a walk along the beach at sunset, and you'll see how many of the high-end condo towers are mostly dark. These days, their owners can't be bothered. It's just nature and some tourists and what you get when you live in one of the United States that makes you feel like you're about to fall off the end of the world.