I would not have believed it if I had not seen it over and over; the cliche about vehicles breaking down in small desert towns and holding people hostage until they give up and move in or figure out some karmic mystery that they are stubbornly ignoring. Year round a parade of travelers break down in T or C. They have flat tires, wrecked transmissions or converted school buses that just lost their umph. Those always find their way to our house. I wonder what it is about this blog that makes people think they should live here for a while?
What I've Learned About Being a Local in a Tourist Town:
* Every tourist is on vacation. Locals are not. Tourists rarely understand this fact.
* Tourists are seeking "experiences" to have, memories. Locals are not interested in being experiences.
* People have many more needs when they're traveling.
* Guests are announced in advance, they're anticipated. Tourists come at all times without warning.
* There is a natural inequity to the tourist/local relationship. If a local sells something and tourists buy it an even ground is created. Otherwise the relationship will be one sided.
* Tourists can not imagine that they are part of a large parade of tourists that color the world of locals with transient energy.
* There is little to be gained by befriending tourists: they are leaving and will likely never be back. While they want to visit the homes of locals (to add to their experience), the local wont be invited to their home not ever.
* Parking a mobile home (RV, bus or whatever) in someone else's yard IS painfully distracting. Especially when said yard is home to one person writing code and the other writing books.
* We know that if your vehicle gets in our property's gate, it won't be leaving any time soon, even if you swear that it will.
* Tourist towns are loaded with places designed for tourists to stay: hotels, motels and RV parks. Expecting locals to house you, even if you have a lot in common, is not fair. There are too many of you and not enough time between you and the next broken down bus, RV or flat tire for us to recover.
For five years people have bobbed their heads over our fence, climbed it to look in, and waited at our gate to ask for a tour. We've had to sneak in our back ally to avoid what at times is a flood of tourists. We skip getting our mail afraid of who may be waiting outside the gate.
We finally got the locals and store owners to stop telling tourists that they have to check out Wendy & Mikeys place. No they don't. We have nothing to sell. We did not make a life decision to work in tourism.
So many great people come through our town. Many we'd love to have as neighbors or year round friends. If I did not live in a tourist town, the occasional drop in would be fun, a treat.
Not long ago Mikey went out road tripping in our Beetle. Knowing how our own experiences as locals has shaped our view we precooked gumbo, packed home made wine and home made french bread. When we arrived at friend's homes we served dinner immediately then did the dishes. When we are guests we cook multiple meals, walk people's dog and leave them with freezers full of ice cream. Mostly we remember, even if invited, that we are on vacation - they're not. Space, silence, and self reliance is key when staying as a guest in someone's home. Hey we're all tourists sometime. It has taken living in a tourist town for me to understand what it is to be a local.