No man is an island. But this doesn't keep men from wanting to develop one. Perregrine is a builder who came up to my island to get away from the hustle and the bustle of Washington.
"Is this all there is?" Perregrine asked, looking critically at a harbor filled with sailboats.
I was embarrassed that there was so little to show. "No," I said, "there is a lot more inland, including lagoons, ponds, acres of forest, dunes and babbling brooks."
"That's more like it. There is nothing that sells motel rooms as well as a babbling brook."
"You're not thinking of building a motel on the island?" I asked in horror.
"No, I'm not, because I'm on vacation, though if someone were to give me an option on this farmland over here I would drop my vacation plans to conclude the deal."
"I know the farmer. The land isn't for sale."
"All land is for sale if you offer the right price. Of course if the terms are too high I will have to buy the air rights and go up 20 stories. But it would be worth it to get a view of the harbor and the ocean at the same time."
"Come on, Perregrine, let's go to the beach."
"I'm glad you mentioned the beach. Why don't we open a beach club and sell memberships for $25,000?"
"We don't need a beach club. We want the island to remain the way it has been since Indians first came here to get away from burnout and the rush hour."
Perregrine said, "We won't change it -- we'll make it better. Perhaps instead of a motel we could build a shopping center. There can't be any objection to that."
"There aren't enough people on the island to support a shopping center."
"Then we'll build an apartment complex, with a six-lane highway so people will be encouraged to come here and spend their money."
"Perregrine, you came to the island to get away from it all. Why do you want to wreck the place?"
"When I see a piece of empty land I have to build on it, or I get a headache. You people don't know how to live. You can't be part of the human race without fast-food stores, stadiums for rock concerts and cellars for discos. Once they are built all good things will follow."
"We don't want to do anything here but fish."
"If you care to fish I'll build a marina with glass-bottomed boats. You'll make a mint on them."
I was furious. "People who live on the island don't want to make money. We came here to get away from that."
Perregrine said, "We'll keep our bulldozers out of your way."
"The ones we always level off the sand dunes with before we pour cement for the condos."
"Perregrine, I didn't invite you to this island so you could destroy it."
"You say that now, but you will bless me when your land values triple and each person on the island owns a piece of the only dog race track between the Cape and Nantucket."