I reside in a small town. Not only do I live in a small town, I live in THE stereotypical small town. Think: Mayberry combined with Cheers (yeah, the bar) ’cause my residential township is quaint, peaceful, and the locals know everybody’s name (exception: seasonal tourists, but many of the locals are nosy / social so they know the tourists’ names too!). So, for the sake of my privacy, all the while giving my home a name, I shall refer to this quaint land of familiarity as Cheersberry . . . or Maycheers . . . or . . . ORRRRR . . . I will use these interchangeably.
I have various run routes established. There’s one route that I like to do either very early in the morning or later in the evening because 1.5 miles in, I reach a very small beach, and to witness the sunrise or sunset there is breathtakingly beautiful. Plus, there’s the added bonus that if it’s a wicked hot day, one can jump in the lake for a little swim! The picture I have does not depict the rise or set of the sun, but it’s still a glorious view, even at midday. Also along this route are fellow Cheersberry residents who have become familiar with me and will oftentimes whoop words of encouragement or offer me water. The Friends on the 4th 5K is mapped along “downtown,” but there is a portion of the run that is residential; many people sit on their lawns to cheer and lightly spray runners with their garden hoses – this is my favorite! The garden hose incidence is less frequent during one of my “regular” runs, one that isn’t a big to-do / event, which makes it even more special if it should so happen, and once in a while, it does. Small town livin’ is the tops! . . . at least for eight months of the year.
Summer is now in full swing, and the tourists have come from near and far! Adding to the small town stereotype, the locals are not always so fond of the tourists, and by this, I mean I am not so fond of the tourists. The environment changes when the out-of-towners flock to Maycheers in gaggles. Just last week, I was pushed around and rudely cut in front of at the farm stand, and all of the commotion was caused by non locals. When running, the out of state cars do not move over to share the road; in the last few days alone, my Radin and I have had several close calls with vehicular modes of transportation.
Yearly, I am prepared for the sudden change in environment at the grocery store and other shopping venues. What is typically a friendly and patient setting becomes a climate of superiority and brouhaha. When it’s the off-season, patrons of the grocery store chatter with one another as they wait in line, say “excuse me” if they need to reach something that is in another’s personal space, and offer to help those who may need helping. Now? Now, it’s a free for all. Overall, the from-awayers are impatient, crashing their shopping carts into others because they’re ceaselessly using their cell phones, they loudly insinuate and make certain that we, the townies, are aware that their vacation time is valuable and that they cannot be bothered to wait, and the number of people that aggressively invade personal space is utterly galling. My intent is not to generalize because I am certain that there are just as many delightful vacationers in our area, but I’m just indicating that the poor behavior is noticed. I can adjust to the sudden influx of strong personalities, but what I tend to have difficulty acclimating to are nightly fireworks and unleashed dogs.
I love fireworks, but I much prefer them when they are appropriate.
- Q: So, when are they appropriate?
- A: Holidays such as the 4th of July or New Year’s, and on Friday or Saturday nights should the desire be to launch the works of fire just for the pure sake of doing so.
I wish beyond all measure that my town ordinance did not change, that fireworks were still banned and illegal. The nightly fireworks wreak havoc for the wildlife, not to mention the pets who are terrified of the loud noises and riddled with anxiety over the ruckus. *I am not a parent, other than fur babies, but I imagine that it is exceedingly arduous for those with babies, toddlers, and young children.* The late night annoyances are also not appreciated by those of us who get up at 0400. I understand that many of the temporary residents are on vacation, and I acknowledge that they should enjoy their vacation time, their relaxation time but not at the expense of those who live here full-time, year-round. Cheerberry is not The City That Never Sleeps; we sleep . . . or at least, we used to. I’m not requesting that the fireworks and drunken carousing cease altogether, I just ask for the commotion to wrap up at a sensible time.
Finally, leash your dogs! How do I know that the offenders of the leash laws are out-of-towners’ dogs? Just like with the humans, the locals, especially those of us who are actively outside and running about the town, have familiarly with the local yokel puppers. Sunday evening, I took Radin for a long walk. *Radin and I are not able to run together because we are equally clumsy and end up in calamitous, though comical, conundrums. So, when Radin accompanies me, it’s for the slower paced meanderings.* About a mile from home, during our return expedition, an unleashed dog bolted toward us. I have no doubt that this dog was friendly, but my Radin and I were recently attacked by an unleashed, not-so-friendly dog, in our own yard. It is fair to assert that Radin and I are now a little suspicious and mistrustful of foreign dogs that come darting at us. Stranger danger is real, folks! I should note that Radin does not get along remarkably well with other dogs as a rule, and because I know this about him, he is always harnessed, leashed, and kept close to me.
During our aforementioned adventure, I pulled Radin close to me and commanded him to stand between my legs. Because my thighs are much stronger than my arms, I know that I can hold him still and protect him that way. (Hey, I’ve been credited with saving his life during our attack, so I know that I could (and would) do so again). We began to simultaneously walk backwards, taking slow and steady steps, but the dog continued to dart toward us. To my horror, the unleashed dog scampered into the road and into oncoming traffic. Now, I don’t want problems to arise between this dog and my own, but I also don’t want to see harm befall this visiting dog. I’m typically the person pulling over and rescuing dogs (and cats and turtles and whatever else I find in the road that needs an assist). Meanwhile, drivers are annoyed because traffic is slow going – Radin and I were nearly hit by two or three vehicles that refused to move over! Out of approximately seven passing motorists, only one man stopped to help us. Coincidentally, the other six vehicles had out of state and out of country (Canada) registration plates, respectively. The man who stopped to help me, he was a Mainer. Summer folks, enjoy your stay in Vacationland, but please, consider the residents of your interim abode.
. . . I don’t want to be the stereotypical, vacationist hating, country bumpkin so please, do your part in not turning me into a stereotype . . . just sayin’.