The countdown begins

61 Comments

“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”

~ H.H. The Dalai Lama

It never ceases to amaze me.  Human behavior, whether good or bad, has enough energy to directly affect our own sense of self.  I am a calm person.  I have always had a great sense of peace about me and am quick to find the good in situations and in people.  But my faith in human nature takes a strong nose-dive when tourist season begins.

When you grow up in a small town or a small community, there is a true sense of peace knowing your neighbors and being familiar with those around you.  You learn to expect a certain level of camaraderie and happiness.  The members of the community embrace you and are quick with a smile and a genuinely warm hello.

With the arrival of the Canada Day long weekend, that seems to have changed.  No longer will you find the locals out shopping at all hours of the day and carrying on conversations as if nothing were more important.  Now those locals are hidden behind the doors of their homes, emerging only in the early hours of the day to do their shopping to avoid the onslaught of tourists.  The freedom of being able to enjoy our tiny town has vanished.

crowd

(image credit: theinertia.com)

I ventured out too late this morning and became caught in the vortex of that familiar angst and cynicism that seems to travel North on Highway 400 and vacation here during the months of July and August.  Everyone is in a rush to get everywhere and tempers are short.  I arrived at my familiar grocery store, exited my vehicle and my eardrums were pierced with two unfamiliar voices arguing about the angled parking  job of one of the overwhelmingly expensive vehicles in the parking lot.  I guess the memo about relaxing while on vacation was never sent!

We, as a community, have 10 short weeks to ‘make hay while the sun shines’, as the old saying goes.  For as much as these tourists treat us as an inferior breed of humans, they are a grand part of our existence.  So we grin and bear it….and we begin the countdown to Labor Day Monday.

Like animals emerging from hibernation, we allow ourselves to come out of our homes and once again greet the land and our surroundings after that glorious September long weekend.  We take deep breaths of fresh air and greet our friends with a smile, having survived another two months of insanity.  The local pub patios are packed with locals happily waving at the cars as they make their way back to their concrete jungle.  On rare occasions, streakers have been known to hit the streets with signs, wishing the tourists a safe ride home.  (well, it may have been worded differently, but you get the idea).

Until that day comes, I will do my best not to let the stress of these visitors infect my happy disposition.  66 days to go….but who’s counting??

61 thoughts on “The countdown begins

  1. I live in San Diego which is full of tourists. I love them coming here and spending their money to help our economy. Sorry I don’t agree with you.

  2. the first part really struck me, particularly the dalai lama quote. im currently at an odd time in my world that has me somewhat being changed by the crap people around me and i don’t like it haha, but i suppose dalai lama is correct – that only happens if we allow it. as for tourists – there does seem to be a commonality with them that’s for sure, but fortunately not all are so bad. i know i’ve heard from a lot of other small towns that i’ve either lived in or visited they have the same concerns/wishes. im not sure what it is about traveling that gets people up in arms but it seems rather counterintuitive. i agree – if the idea is to relax, why aren’t you relaxed? as for streaking – well at least you’re leaving them with a memorable impression. 🙂 congrats on freshly pressed!

  3. It’s so irritating when tourists of any variety treat the local inhabitants like they’re an annoyance, or an unfortunate feature of an otherwise enjoyable landscape. However, it is important to caution one’s self against the all-to-easy inclination to look at newcomers and tourists with immediate contempt; many of us were visitors to something or someplace once.

  4. Tourism is the part of life, may be you have faced some hurdle or difficulties by tourists, but tourism is the part of life, nobody can spend his whole life in one place, every body has to visit somewhere else for visit.

  5. Try to attract a different type of tourist. Raise your prices locally by 50%. You’ll either get different people, or get better paid for enduring rudity (kind of punning on the streaker stuff…couldn’t resist).

  6. Pingback: The countdown begins | Such A Beautiful Disaster

  7. I live in San Diego, CA, and I totally understand; but its tourist season year-round here. Our city is too big for close community ties, but as San Diegians, we care about our precious ecosystem. We take pride in our beaches, parks, and mountains, which tourism devastates. We receive a lot of Canadian visitors during the winter, and they are always exceedingly nice and well mannered; I’ve never met a Canadian I didn’t like! Don’t let the tourists ruin your cherished sunny days; find your inner peace and enjoy the anonymity!

  8. And I was right in the middle of planning a trip your neck of the woods, too. Now I’m rescheduling it for the dead of winter so I can pretend to be a local and get one of those genuinely warm smiles from you.

    See you soon and Merry Christmas! 🙂

  9. How C-O-O-L! Tom just told me this post was on Freshly Pressed. Congrats to you, followed by hugs and kisses. Well written post and I totally understand. The small town we just moved from is the same way. Total avoidance of downtown, main streets and anything enjoyable like the farmers markets, the river and our favorite campgrounds. Well done!

  10. I live in Manchester England we experience large crowds during the summer with amazing music festivals which attract attention but we awfully have numerous figure of pick pockets, I guess the enjoy the holiday more than the aliens themselves, smiling at the end of season with foreign gifts

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  12. Just wrote a post couple days ago titled the same@the Countdown begins..Countdown to my 50th birthday celebration. Woooo hoooo..Anyways, I’m often amazed at the behavior of people also..I observe alot even when others don’t realize I’m observing..Ever notice how rude & pushy folks can be during the Christmas shopping season? A time that is SUPPOSED to be about peace and giving love; right? And yet; people, get caught UP shopping & shopping & some even steal others gifts from cars and/or act rude IF theres only one so called hot-item left they wish to buy(actually once had an elder lady run over me; while I was pregnant, yep, pregnant..just to get the very last Teddy Ruxpin..Jeeeez! Sometimes people “forget” the true meaning of things and they also forget their manners..I love the quote you opened your post with. Every morning I try hard to recall that its a blessing just to have awakened to see another day..Daily I then try to keeeeep recalling that! Even on the rare days an event or person; can momentarily make me so frustrated/angry that I want to go OFF on them..Alot of deep breaths helps. Alot of silent prayers help. Alot of counting to 10(sometimes allll the way up to a thousand, lol) to simmer down helps. Congrats on writing an excellent write. Thank you for sharing. Stay UPlifted & blessed!

    • Thank you very much. And I agree about observing people….I do it on a very frequent basis. I became so distraught Christmas shopping that I now do it online to avoid that mass hysteria and chaos that precedes a beautiful holiday!

      • Ditto! As much as I love shopping; I stopped rushing out during the madness of the Christmas season as much. What matters most to me now is the quality time spent with family and friends..And online shopping saves gas too! I love it…(I’ve found alot of excellent sales shopping on the Net also)

  13. hahaha! 🙂 I also come from the tourist packed city. sometimes it drives me crazy to have to push my way through narrow streets of the city centre, but then again I love this rush and frenzy in the air. During the year it’s really calm and city sometimes feels as if it’s deserted…so a bit of excitement during the summer months is appreciated, even if I have to push my way through coulourful umbrellas, cameras etc. 🙂

  14. You and the rest of your elite don’t want them around but they bring much needed trade, sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it…….. I wouldn’t be surprised if most people took your view and the view of your ‘we are better than you’ community chums as damn right snobbery, shame on the lot of you, for looking down on those who want to have a bit of fun and probably pay very highly for the privilege to put a foot in or around your howtie towtie town both in monetary terms and the fact they are being looked down on by the gossiping grannies. A couple of bad summers and you would certainly be begging them back, to stock up the coffers.

    • I live and work in the same area this post speaks of and in the more than 25 years I have been in retail I have never been treated as poorly as this year. I am sorry, but I only partly agree that tourism “is our bread and butter”. Yes it is a vital part of societal life EVERWHERE, even in the cities, but small towns have survived without it. That being said, I love the friends I have made out of the “younger crowd” (and I don’t fit that category any more). It used to be that the young were the “problem group” but since they are now in the work force and getting a huge taste of “the underdog” experience like the rest of us attitudes are changing. Where I work is considered a high demand, high profile establishment and therefore lines are unfortunately expected anytime of the year. Those lines are created by anxious people and groups but we do the best we can to get people in and out. I try to make people smile and happy even when I have been tromped upon and verbally abused because things aren’t going their way. I’m here to tell you we do our very best to welcome people in this community, but this year the blatant rudeness and ignorance is not making it easy. Before you judge us try walking in our shoes.

  15. love being a tourist and welcoming one though each has its set of pros and cons – the frenzy is a welcome change from all the peace and sometimes its the peace that one misses the most. wish you well and congratulations!

  16. I live in a beach town and I understand the love/hate of tourists! Our beaches become crowded and they litter, everywhere. I can never understand how people rationalize that it’s ok that their trash is blowing down the beach. Can someone please explain this to me? Wow, I just realized you’ve inspired me to write about this.

    Thank you!

  17. While reading this post, I thought our always in rush and hectic city, Istanbul. With or without tourist, you may see someone arguing with other for anything in anywhere. And, noticed once more the value of kindness and peacefull being in a small town. Somehow, I hope still there are some special places that only locals know in your town 🙂

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