Thursday, August 13, 2015

Life in a Tourist Town

Many of you probably know that I'm a huge Gilmore Girls fan and love finding similarities between the fictional Stars Hollow and my real life town. We have a calendar full of festivals--the Grape Jamboree, the Covered Bridge Festival, Ghoulfest, Winterfest, and plenty more in between--and I love them all. Recently, my Gilmore fervor has been reignited by the discovery of the Gilmore Guys podcast--I may or may not have listened to 9 episodes on my drive from Alabama back home to Ohio earlier this week.

On the podcast, they regularly talk about how important the townies are in Stars Hollow. As Barley and I walked at the lake yesterday, I realized that is the one major difference between my town and Stars Hollow. Of course, we have our townies, but what makes our town unique is really the tourists. While Stars Hollow has Kirk with a new job every episode, Taylor with his cardigan, and Miss Patty's  flirtations, Barley and I have noticed several unique types of tourists that make our home special.

The New Friends
This is Barley's favorite category of tourist. We're in wine country, so lots of people come stay at the lodge on the lake and visit the wineries. They do a little daydrinking and by the time we show up for our evening walk, they're really missing their dogs back home. They say things like "Hi puppy! You're so happy! Are you enjoying your walk?" I ask Barley if she wants to say hi and she turns to putty in their hands. She gives kisses and wags her tail and makes her way from one member of the group to the next while they talk about which dogs they know at home she reminds them of.

Don't worry, I still love you more than my new friends.


The Know-it Alls
These are the people that make me grateful for my southern upbringing that reminds me to be polite and just think "bless their hearts" while I smile and nod. Sometimes these are people who insist on breaking down what Barley is. They analyze her face shape, her coloring, and especially her tail. I don't mind people making guesses about what she is, but after I say, "The shelter said border collie, but I'm not sure what else is in there," I don't have have much more to contribute to these conversations. They say, "Oh, that tail is definitely [insert obscure dog breed here]" and I don't know what else to say besides "it's possible." Eventually we just stand there awkwardly trying to find a way to continue on our walk. The more obnoxious know-it alls are the ones who make comments like the one we heard yesterday from an old lady who said, "Are you trying to tire that dog out?" I said yes and she responded, "That will take a long time. Bigger dogs take longer to get tired. You'll get tired before she does." I just wanted to be like duh and list off the number of miles we've walked this week, what activities we've done in the house between walks, and our agility schedule. Instead, I just said, "Yes, ma'am" and kept walking.

The Inquirers
These are some of my favorite tourists. They stop us with questions. Often about Barley's training or where I got her. It's a good chance to talk about training and pet adoption. They've also usually got some similarities to the new friends and give Barley a little bit of love while we chat. I always leave these interactions feeling really proud of my dog and our hard work in training.

You should be proud of me. Once upon a time, I couldn't even look at a deer without melting down.

The Observers
Just when I start bursting with pride, we usually encounter an observer. Sometimes these people are people who are sitting on a bench and make comments like "that's a nice dog" as we walk by, but more often than not, these are the people who catch us at our most embarrassing moments. These are the people who see me jump and squeal when we I realize I've almost stepped on frog on the trail. Or, they're like the old sailor who was sitting at a picnic table at the marina last night. It was a breezy night and part of the awning on the store had come untied and happened to flap right as we walked by it. Barley flattened herself on the ground. The man was nice and tried not to laugh, but once he saw I was chuckling at my goofy dog, he smiled and said, "Hi pup! Was that scary?"

Smiling girl moments before her big scare.

The Invisible (Wo)men
Barley finds these to be the most offensive of all. These are the people who walk by us on the trail without eye contact, without a hello, or without any acknowledgement of our existence. When we encounter these people, Barley watches them fade into the distance over her shoulder.

Although we love the months of the year when we have the park to ourselves, home wouldn't be home without our summer months with the tourists. We'll be glad to see them go in a few short works, but we'll be equally glad to see them again next summer.

We're linking up for the Barks and Bytes blog hop today, so be sure to stop by and see all of the other great blogs participating!


12 comments:

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    1. He was! I couldn't blame him if he had laughed out loud--Barley was a little bit silly ;)

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  2. What a great post and its is so interesting to hear about the kinds of people that you mean on your travels. I imagine it can be quite interesting. Thanks so much for joining the hop!

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    1. It is fun living in a tourist town! We get to meet people from all over and it makes walks interesting. You never know who you'll meet!

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  3. Hahaha, gotta love them all. Usually when we are walking someone comments on how old Mad Dog is, but yesterday someone asked if he was around 5 and I got so excited that he was looking spry :-) Love your smiley pup!

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    1. Yay Maddux! And he can't help it that people ask about his age--he's looked like a grumpy old man since day one like his cousin has ;)

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  4. It sounds like the tourists provide a bit of entertainment at times on your walks! Sheba doesn't like the "Invisibles" either (we have locals that are that too). She can't understand why anyone would not want to stop and pet her, or at least say hi!
    Cricket and Luke are OK with them though, in fact they prefer to be ignored! Since I'm a bit shy, I am fine too, but I just don't understand people that don't at least smile and say hello, or "pretty dog" or something like that!
    BTW, I nominated you for the 8 Photos of Happiness tag. If you don't know what it's all about, you can read it in my post here: http://www.wagnwoofpets.com/capturing-happiness-in-photos/ Hope you can join in!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. I love that Sheba expects acknowledgement, too. I like the people who just say hi or nice as we all keep walking. But the new friends aren't bad because they are just so focused on Barley that I don't have to work too hard at come up with things to say--I can ask if they're visiting, what sights they've seen, and by the time we're done with that Barley is ready to get back to her walk :)

      I'll definitely join in the 8 Photos of Happiness! Somehow I missed out on that--we were traveling for 12 days and I stayed unplugged while we were gone, so I guess I've got a lot of catching up to do :) Thanks!

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  5. Oh I love your observations and how you've named the tourists. We encounter a number of these types of folks in our neighborhood also, and yes, Sampson is as upset as Barley when he is ignored. He is not deterred however, he continues to try and make friends and usually, sooner or later, he wears them down. LOL

    Thanks for joining the blog hop!

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    1. Haha! I don't know how anyone could ignore handsome Sampson. I'm sure Barley would try to keep making friends if we saw these same people over and over again, but we usually only see them once or twice and then they leave town ;)

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  6. Man, I don't even need an adult beverage to tell the dogs I pass how pretty they are. And just this weekend I laughed a little bit at a pup who had all four feet at the edge of the water, trying so hard to be brave and jump in, then applauded her when she did, haha. I try to be respectful of dogs who want nothing to do with me, but if I'm ever a tourist in your town, I hope I'm lucky enough to meet Barley and let her know how amazing she is. :D

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    1. I don't need an adult beverage to fawn over dogs, either! Any time I'm out without Barley, I basically turn into a little kid every time I see a dog and will love on any dog that will accept my attention :) Barley hopes you're a tourist in our town one day, too, because she loves anyone who will tell her she's awesome :)

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