First Words — 03 April 2015
The greatest luxury item is measured in time

By Mark Gauert

No one believes my story.

Not my wife.

“Sorry,” she says sweetly from her hammock swinging in the sea breeze at Little Palm Island in the Keys. “Can’t see it.”

Not the barefoot man in a “Get Lost” T-shirt, tending kayaks and paddleboards down on the beach.

“Well, uh,” he says, listening to my story, “if you say so.’’

Not the bartender poolside at the Palapa Bar.

“It’s 5 o’clock, somewhere,” she says. “That’s what it’s all about.”

“It’s NOT what you’re thinking,” I say, “I have NOT been drinking.’’

She smiles, mixing up coconut rum, pineapple juice and Bacardi 151, and places a cup in my hand.

“What did you say this drink is called?”

“A Shipwreck,’’ she says.

“OK, but it’s NOT what you’re thinking,” I say. “I swear, it’s out there – you just have to look.’’

“Cheers,’’ she says.

I go down to the sea with my Shipwreck, settle into the hammock, and stare again at the far line separating sea from sky.

And, sure enough, there it is again.

Stare long enough into the distance here – when the sun is about noon high and windless waters around Little Palm Island run flat out to the horizon – and I swear you’ll see it, too. A darker blue band that appears to rise up from the vanishing point like a distant mountain range sparkling in the sunshine.


This is no mythical green flash or green ray people say they see right after a sunset – and probably a tequila sunrise – on the Gulf Coast. No blue and black or white and gold dress to whip up a storm on social media.

“I’m telling you,” I say, “it is right there!”

“Sorry,’’ my wife says sweetly, from the hammock. “Still not seeing it.”

This is a luxury issue of City & Shore. Luxury cars, clothing, jewelry, wine, real estate, destinations – such as Little Palm Island Resort & Spa. We may measure luxury here by horsepower or designer label or carat weight or vintage year or location, location, location.

But the greatest luxury of all is measured in minutes, hours, days. It’s time to separate from work to play. Time to exchange have-to-do for want-to-do. Time to escape hang-ups on the highway for a hammock swinging in sea breezes – contemplating wonders you wouldn’t know if you didn’t slow down and look.

Even if no one believes your story.

I could do this all day, I think from my hammock, every day, for a long, long time.

That would be a luxury.

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