By Hal O'Boyle
The neighborhood is starkly splendid. Luxury homes stand cheek by jowl in proud, pretentious rows. Identical double garage doors stare down identical concrete drives. They give the street an industrial flavor. Entry doors and upstairs windows feature variations on a single great-big-fancy-house theme. Each house has its own pool in a lofty screen-room at the back. Each has a newly installed lawn in front. There are no trees. The mailboxes all match. They wait, like uniformed prison guards, for mail that never comes for families who will never occupy the MacMansions of this eerie Orlando, Florida subdivision.
Nearly all the houses are empty. Tourists like us occupy a few. One in five is for sale. Walking the neighborhood our first night I think of the Stepford Wives. Blue alien eyes with glowing white pupils watch me and my clueless canine companion, Fluffy, from behind drawn curtains. Fluffy the guard poodle leaves a personal memento of his visit on one of the identical lawns. I consider retrieving it as I would in an inhabited neighborhood. But we are in an opulent wilderness. I leave it without guilt. Nobody lives here.