Thursday, June 07, 2007

Changing Seasons

As the season changes so does our local community. I've noticed a growing tension between the residents of our valley and the tourists. The letters to the editor of the local paper have started to show frustration. The visitors come, play, and leave their stuff behind for the residents to pick up. Not only do they leave their junk for someone else to pick up but they have no idea how to drive in a small town. They tow these monster trailers weaving in and out of traffic, refusing to use the turnouts provided, and showing no regard for those around them.

Along with the larger community, I've noticed a change in our immediate neighborhood. If you walk or drive around the streets at different times of the year you find very different environments. As the people who own vacation homes once again start to visit them, we find our little streets crowded with boats, ATVs, and dirt bikes. Since we live up a one lane road, trying to get in and out is becoming a major problem. During the week you will find people getting over for one another and waving as you pass. Once the weekend or holiday arrives you find the complete opposite. The dirt bikes ride up the major access road around blind curves as if they own the place, putting everyone in danger. They ride these same bikes up and down the roads all hours of the night.

Sometimes I wonder if this is all due to radically different outlooks. I would say a good portion of our full-time population in the valley, and specifically in our neighborhood, are just trying to get by. Their goals are to get through the day, week or month. They aren't looking at the new boat or trailer or dirt bike, they are trying to raise a family and just survive. Contrast that with the people who come up here to play. They feel they own the roads since they pay taxes on their vacation property so they should be able to do whatever they want (yes, I know I'm making generalizations on both sides). They don't see this as a place that people live and work in. Being that they do own that second house and all the toys I think the differences in everyday life further compounds the problem. The disparity between these two very different worlds is just too much and it causes friction. I know there are exceptions to this, but on the whole I think this explains the tension that you can almost feel right now. I've spoken a few times to people that live in our area, they like the area except at times like these. The main complaints are the noise and traffic, followed by the garbage that litters our town after a long weekend. I can agree with all of that and add one more, I miss the friendliness that disappears when the tourists appear.

The whole reason this came to mind was because Paul and I were discussing how difficult it is to interact with people who's life is focused on different things. When I was reading through the letters in the newspaper I realized it wasn't just me, it seems that we all have that problem. That doesn't mean we can't live together but it may mean that the best we can do is tolerate each other since there seems to be no way to really understand the concerns of one another.

1 comment:

Susan said...

At least you know all the permanent residents are of one mind, and that you're all in it together.

When we lived up north, we lived in the central lakes area, and it was touristy. But it was more a middle-class tourist, a laid-back tourist, loads of church camps and Boy Scout camps and stuff like that.

Where we live now is near the upper-class touristy lake area. And I know just what you mean about the big toys and the vacation homes. That's why I seldom go shopping or driving in the direction of the lakes, but head the other way!