Gonzo real estate

As I headed down the driveway one morning this week, I noticed a car parked alongside Greenbriar Lane, the private road owned by us and our nearest neighbors. A couple and their two kids stood in our lower lawn, gazing at the house. Oh joy, I thought. A family of Maryland yuppies and their BMW. "Can I help you?" "We're house hunting," the mother said. "This looks like a nice house. How much is it?" I looked around to make sure someone hadn't put out a "For Sale" sign when we weren't looking. They hadn't.

As I headed down the driveway one morning this week, I noticed a car parked alongside Greenbriar Lane, the private road owned by us and our nearest neighbors. A couple and their two kids stood in our lower lawn, gazing at the house. Oh joy, I thought. A family of Maryland yuppies and their BMW.

“Can I help you?”

“We’re house hunting,” the mother said. “This looks like a nice house. How much is it?”

I looked around to make sure someone hadn’t put out a “For Sale” sign when we weren’t looking. They hadn’t.

“It is a nice house, which is why we bought it, but it’s not for sale,” I replied. “In fact, this is a private road and neither of the homes on it are for sale.”

“Don’t be so quick,” the father responded. “I’ve found that, for the right price, everything is for sale.”

“Hate to spoil your day,” I shot back, “but this place ain’t for sale at any price.” What he didn’t know in his “money is no object” purchase plan is that Amy and I had vowed to never, ever, move again.

“Well, maybe we’ll check with the owners up the road.”

“I’d reconsider that if I were you,” I answered. “He’s a retired state trooper and a parttime deputy sheriff, which means he’s still licensed to carry firearms. Like us, they value their privacy and, as I said, this is a private road.”

They left, clutching their real estate brochures and maps to their bosoms, off in search of something, anything, to buy. I was reminded, for a minute, of Tom Paxton’s satirical Yuppies in the Sky, sung to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky.

One night as I was walking down Columbus Avenue
The sushi bars were shuttered, and the dark cantina too
I stood there in the darkness as an empty cab rolled by
When all at once I heard the sound of yuppies in the sky

The herd came down Columbus for as far as I could see
The men were wearing Polo and the women wore Esprit
Each yuppie had a Walkman, and as each one passed me by
I saw their sad expressions and I heard their mournful cry

Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky
Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky

As I related this story Saturday to some friends at Frank and Sally Walker’s Cafe del Sol coffee shop, one said she was still in her bathrobe sipping coffee one weekend morning when the doorbell rang. On the front porch was a couple and their real estate brochures.

“We were just wondering,” one said, “if this house is for sale?”

“No,” she said as she slammed the door.

Maybe we’ll put a sign at the entrance to our driveway:

No, this house is NOT for sale and we shoot those who bother us by asking!

All the salad bars were empty, all the quiche Lorraine was gone
I heard the yuppies crying as they vanished in the dawn
Calling brand names to each other, they faded from my view
They’d be networking forever down Columbus Avenue

Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky
Condos for sale, Condos to buy, Oh Yuppies in the sky

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7 Responses

  1. hey Doug, sorry I was in such a rush when I saw you yesterday, hope you stopped by and had some snacks. as for the land buyers story–people like that COMPLETELY frost me. The tourist attitude never ceases to amaze me. People who completely miss the irony that belongs in the whole “money talks” thing.
    have a good evening

  2. We lived for a couple of years in Columbia, Md (one of the great centers of yuppiedom) and found that it was definitely a world of people who were used to getting their way, not that you can’t find the same kind of folks in Northern Virginia or even down here. The concentration of them was just very impressive in Md. I always thought that it was very appropriate that the “heart of Columbia” was actually a Mall. We had to fight with the Columbia association to take out seven dead pine trees behind our house. One person even accused us of defoliating Columbia. Yet they thought nothing of approving a plan where ten acres of huge poplars could disappear in a flash to make way for townhouses.

  3. This story is almost too unreal to seem true and has me looking out my window. There’s an ad on TV with a scene just like it…giving people ideas?

  4. Doug, I have followed you for a while and adore your brain…thanks for putting it out there, so to speak. when i first knew of your escape back to reality (blueridge), i brought up your site and almost cried, the first thing i see is a gorgeous photograph, taken by you! No wonder you left the asshole rat race. I pray you will not disappear from the screen…. i think there has to be more of us out there than “they” even know about. everyday, it seems, i am voting/contacting senators, etc. electronically on some important issue to block assholism. two years ago, i didnt even know who my senator was and didnt care, now I do. (late learner at age 56) Thanks for You, Doug!

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