Thursday, June 30, 2005

the Gates, visited

I recently met someone who lives in Madison’s (one and only?) gated community and today I finally agreed to come over at lunchtime so that I could inspect it from the inside rather than give in to my immediate inclination to dislike it site unseen (or is it sight unseen?).

My host gave me the password that would open the magic gates. Initially I had intended to bike over, but one look at the hill that I would have to ascend on the return trip and Mr. B bowed out. So much for my great protector. So I took the Great Old Van (“GOV”) with me in case I needed to make a hasty retreat.

The gates were imposing and the GOV stopped, almost refusing to go forth, afraid perhaps that he would be arrested inside on appearance alone. I assured him that he would fit in with other construction type vehicles which were freely getting across the great divide, most likely filled with south-of-the-border laborers ready to do the dirty work for the wealthy on the other side.

Madison June 05 431 GOV mirror eyes gate with suspicion

Inside, there were faux waterfalls and matching mailboxes and many outrageous looking houses (chalets, plantations, every rich person’s fancy). My host is a guy who hangs with the less affluent and so I was surprised at the comfort level he demonstrated toward his immediate neighbors. But then I suppose he doesn’t see much of them. One recent addition to the community is a house pegged at $9 million, belonging to the daughter of the Farm & Fleet CEO. This was to be her summer residence.

Madison June 05 436 summer cottage

Madison June 05 434 neat and tidy

I suppose I can forgive my host for living there. I, too, am comfortable with diverse lifestyles. I try not to shun the affluent nor those who live behind gates (in this case there is a perfect overlap). But when he proposed a walk to the state park across the highway I was more than ready. I figure I had made my sacrifice and breathed the ChemLawn-ed air enough for one day. I needed the prairie breezes and nicely smelly waters of Lake Mendota to lighten my mood.

Madison June 05 441
from the park looking south: across the waters

Madison June 05 453
where is Monet when you need him...

Madison June 05 437close-up: hangout for butterflies