They’re here. The Summer People. The Tourists. “Them”. Here on Marvellous Martha’s Vineyard, we love ’em and we hate ’em. Tourism is a strange human activity. Many tourists go to some particular place because they have a fantasy about that particular place. The very reason for the trip is not reality based. No wonder so many tourists seem to be in some other world. That’s exactly where they are.
Tourists come from from Yang’n’Yinsville. From Diversity City. From Black’n’Whitesville. From Rich’n’Poorsville. Some of them are so interesting, and so nice, that you’d give your eyeteeth to know them better, and wish they would stay longer. Others you wish woulda stayed where they came from. As the old Island expression says, “Summer people. Some are not.”.
For many visitors, a trip to Martha’s Vineyard is like a trip to a theme park. A friend of mine often works at the information booth at the ferry landing. One morning, a couple came in with a question for him. The question? “What time does Martha’s Vineyard close?”.
This island is a theme park with stores. Or maybe it’s a jungle. The shopkeepers are like ant lions or spiders, trying to trap or ensnare tourists, with the sole purpose of extracting dollars from them.
“My, my, my, said the spider to the fly, jump right ahead in my web.” (Rolling Stones)
Expense of orders of magnitude await the tourist’s wallet. Or bank account. From ten cent “penny” candy to dollar Chinese-made souvenirs from a shop on Circuit Avenue in Oaks Bluff, from ten dollar tee shirts to a hundred dollars at Larsens for lobsters for dinner, from thousand dollar scrimshaw faced watches to a ten thousand dollar Allen Whiting painting, to a hundred thousand dollar bid on an item at the “Possible Dreams” charity auction, to a million dollars for a three bedroom house in Chilmark that “needs a little work”, or ten million for an estate with acreage or really pretty antique whaling-era house in Edgartown.
A hundred million? Throw in the personal learjet, the four-storey megayacht with chopper parked on the stern helipad. That hundred million will also take care of the “staff”. A nanny for each child. Et cetera.
Does it all come from this?