Pam’s neighbor bought this boat from a friend of his grandfather. The friend made a mold of an old wooden Whitehall and produced two replicas. It floats peacefully across from the living room window, an icon of aesthetics, a rebuttal of excess.
We are about to lose some of our light and view to an aggressive developer who is building the largest allowable structure next to us against the wishes of most members of the association. The developer owns three houseboats and has three votes. Her threat to sue (groundless) and the attendent trouble and expense convinced a few members to approve the building.
The vote was tied and broken in favor of approval by a 1% differential in the aggregate property value of each side. Money trumped. The building is a fine example of look-at-me, executive chic, packaging is everything, to hell with the neighbors, architecture.
The members had the right to force a compromise (a six foot deck on the water side would have been enough). Instead, the bully was placated; Pam’s houseboat will be affected negatively; friendships were broken; the eyesore cometh.
It was “a tempest in a teapot,” yes. We have a nice place to live, regardless. No one is being shot at.
But the teapot is beyond repair.
1. Giving bullies what they demand is a losing policy.
2. You can sell a friendship, but you can’t buy it back.
3. If one side of a deeply divided group forces its will on the other, the group ceases to exist.
When the final hull plank is fitted, the sheer strake at the bottom, tradition suggests a whiskey or two to mark the moment, a toast to the gods of sharp chisels and planes, good humor, and patience.