It has already begun and the long weekend is still days away. The simple act of easily turning left onto any of our local roads is a shadowed memory of its former self. They have descended upon us and the seemingly mundane tasks we used to perform with ease now require an expletive filter and a great deal of patience (or high blood pressure pills) (or both).
Almost three years ago, I wrote this post about the tourist season in our small town. It was that post that sparked some interesting conversation about these wayward travelers and also got me Freshly Pressed. To those not ensconced in the WordPress blogging world, being Freshly Pressed was a nice pat on the back. We were recognized for writing something interesting that would encourage a discussion. And that it did…..on many levels.
I will preface the words that follow by reminding you that I work in the hospitality and tourism industry. My job is to serve people and I truly enjoy it. Our lodge guests have slowly become like friends and family and it is a pleasure to go to work. But the myriad of other temporary inhabitants of our little village are a like a box of chocolates and, as Forrest Gump so eloquently put it, you never know what you’re gonna get. I realize that these summer vacationers are the bread to our butter, the wind beneath our small town wings, but, as each year rolls into the next, the level of courtesy and manners shown by a substantial percentage of these visitors leaves much to be desired.
The act of “Touricide” has crossed my mind at many points throughout our busy seasons. I’m sure if the facts of my potential case were presented to a jury of my peers the charges against me would be dropped and the crime would be ruled as justifiable.
I don’t mind that our population explodes exponentially in the summer months. I plan accordingly knowing my routine tasks will take much longer because the lines have quadrupled in length. I leave my house much earlier to deal with the sudden onset of traffic in a town where six cars on the road in the spring is considered gridlock.
What I cannot tolerate is the arrogant attitude of so many of these visitors, thinking we live in this town only to serve them in the summer. You have entered our home. We have greeted you with courtesy and respect and all we ask in return is the same level of civility. We will bend over backwards to meet your needs and we ask so little of you. Smile. Say thank you, and mean it. Take a moment to appreciate that you are on vacation and relax. Things may not get done at city speed but they will get done and we will make sure they get done properly and that they meet or exceed your expectations.
I wish everyone celebrating the long weekend a safe and happy holiday. Take the time to smile and say hello to a stranger. Perhaps all they need is a little small town warmth to melt that cold city shell.