Managing the Shift

Tricks, tips and a little venting room about the coming of summer and its inhabitants.

They're baaccckkk!

After this weekend, there's no getting around it. Summer isn't coming, it's here. No matter how much it may have felt like March only a week ago, it's now undeniably June.

Being a newly washed a shore wash-ashore, I thought I'd be more empathetic. Not too long ago I was among the throngs who rush to the Island the moment it is even remotely possible. I remember how I used to count the days to Memorial Day, starting right around Labor Day—living my life off-Island for nine months of the year, but only really feeling at home and happy those other three months I was on-Island. I have to say, that the tide has turned. The other day, I found myself actually counting the days until Labor Day. It was Memorial Day.

The first time I experienced the shift from off-season life to summer life, I was really thrown off. I thought then that I just wasn't used to it, but now, a few years in, the shock that happens to my system when I find myself suddenly feeling rushed in line at Cronig's to find my Island Card is still profound.

For everyone, complaints and pleasures of the coming of summer are as different as the temperature on any given day in Oak Bluffs and Chilmark, but here are mine: I love the coming of friends and family I only see in the summer months; I love the long days and being barefoot; and I love the traditions of Wednesday night pizza at Orange Peel Bakery, Galley soft-serve cones and the Chilmark Community Center square dance.

I'm not so fond of people who don't wave on dirt roads, or road rage (felt by me. I miss having time to stop and talk to people I usually see every day, and I'll admit I'm not crazy about those really tight, bright biker outfits worn by folks who shouldn't be wearing anything tight or, for that matter, bright.)

My tips are: late-night shopping at Stop & Shop or beachtime shopping at Cronig's, early morning beaching in Menemsha, waiting until September to go out to dinner and sticking close to home.

Those of you who wish to join me, feel free to pass on some tips and tricks for coping with the giant increase in population that translates into some painful and wonderful facts of our Island lives. If, by chance, you'd like to pass on some kindly advice to our summer folks, well, we're open to that, too.

Maureen Leland June 02, 2011 at 06:47 PM
we don't even think about going to a beach until after 4 or 4:30 in the summer. Going late not only dodges the bulk of the crowds, but also keeps sunburns at bay. Ditto on the late night Stop & Shop trips!!
Chip Coblyn June 03, 2011 at 11:06 AM
Just think of summer as the time when island business owners (hopefully) get to earn what they need to stay in this beautiful place. With that in mind it's easier to ignore the hordes of visitors.
Mathea Morais June 03, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Good Mantra Chip! Thanks!
teri pirozzi June 03, 2011 at 01:42 PM
I agree with Chip - without the hordes that support the businesses, many on this Island....well, just couldn't live here. Also, for the most part I love the surge of energy, the joy and excitement that visitors feel as they come for just a short while - to transform and relax!
Maggie Dempsey June 03, 2011 at 05:16 PM
Teri and Chip, that's basically the only point that keeps the whole thing tolerable. In my comment on Maureen's blog, I said "I feel the same way, Maureen. Mixed emotions... of course the summer season brings in the much needed boost to the island economy, BUT..." There's always a "but"!


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