Eva Murray: Last holdouts of offshore outpost finally accept reality

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 10:30am

 The 19 residents of a small, isolated ledge outcropping located roughly halfway between Monroe’s Island and the north coast of Spain have concluded that they will at last yield to common sense. “We’ve been resisting what everybody’s been telling us for too long,” said long-term islander Bailey Rossi. “When I describe the situation with fog and rough seas and small airplanes and high electricity rates and water in the kerosene and muddy roads and running out of milk all the time to my friends on the mainland, they ask, ‘Why on earth would you want to live there?’ I guess we’re finally seeing that they’ve been right all along.”

A young island woman, currently a sternman aboard a brand-new 40-foot lobster boat, said, “I can’t wait to get a job where I have my own cubicle, and I get to wear clothes that smell like dry-cleaning!”

Prior to formal action at Annual Town Meeting on April 25, the 19 residents, who among them fill 58 municipal and commercial positions within the community, have decided that life would, indeed, be much better with access to Wal-Mart, cell service and Chinese take-out.

The remote island is primarily inhabited by lobster fishermen, many of them members of the renowned James family, descended from the infamous western train robber and outlaw Jesse James.

Young Benji James, age 20, who made roughly $75,000 last year in the commercial fishing industry, commented thoughtfully, “Maybe I’ll go live in my uncle’s basement in Portland and take a few courses while I work part-time in a coffee shop.”

His grandfather, Elvis James, was reported to have said, “I expect I’ll get a job at Home Depot with all the other old guys. What do they pay, anyway?”

The elder James’ 2014 income is unknown but he did vacation on the French Riviera for four weeks and has recently purchased a Mercedes.

School-aged children, who have unfortunately been attending a recently-renovated and technologically advanced one-room school and have been stuck enjoying a degree of safety and outdoor playtime that is acknowledged as rare these days, have also had enough.

According to Sandy James, who has been raising her three children on the island until now, “We parents have decided that it’s true, what people have been saying for years: it is just wrong to bring up kids these days without team sports. It’s just wrong. Nobody can be happy if they don’t have a coach.”

The Board of Assessors, a triad of elected leaders which has functioned over the years as Select Board, Council of Sages, Public Works Advisory Committee or Warlord’s Henchmen depending upon whose turn it has been to serve, has issued a public statement regarding the dissolution of the municipal corporation. “Nobody thinks we’re really here anyway, so what the hell. If we become an Unorganized Territory, somebody else will have to do all this paperwork.”

Plans for islanders to actually move to civilization and begin enjoying the privileges of 21st century society (such as zoning boards, Wiscasset traffic, and having to keep to your own side of the road) have been thwarted numerous times already by adverse weather, broken-down snow removal equipment, and once-a-month ferry service.

The only residents who are not packing their bags are the electrician, the postmaster — who explained that she was not permitted to discuss the matter with reporters but she had no plans to move at all — and a couple of back-country enthusiasts who live off the grid on the South End and run the island’s busy Ski Patrol.

The electrician, who until now has been responsible for operating the island’s municipal power generating station and maintaining the sophisticated communications infrastructure, commented that “It’ll be nice to go back to shutting the power off at 10 p.m. like we did in the old days. Hey, at that hour, decent people should be in bed.”

EvaEva Murray lives on Matinicus

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