Sunday, August 23, 2009

Turbulent Seas, Turbulent Cyberspace

At Jenn Mattern’s blog Breed ‘Em & Weep, someone commented last month that Jenn should not be upset about the vitriol her recent Globe article drew in the online comments section. From comments to her blog about her reaction, I learned folks who comment negatively on blogs are called “trolls.” Of all the people reading out there in Cyberspace, it’s hard to imagine what’s going through the head of someone who bothers to comment negatively on a blog post, especially on a blog like mine where the blogger has the choice of posting comments or not. Waking up to vitriol is not pleasant, but here’s the opportunity to see what other readers think, so let me share this particular opinion with you: “I am one of your loathed tourists and I have to complain to you and let you know that after coming to Wellfleet for the last 10 years I've noticed that Wellfleet residents are the rudest sort... And I grew up in the Hamptons. I know all too well how the local tourism paved my roads in the summer and plowed them in the winter. Without tourism you probably wouldn't have a house or a Cumberland Farms down the street. Remember this rant of yours when you are a ‘tourist’ and expect to be treated with a little respect. Can't wait to put more money in your purse next summer. Keep the change.”

Whoa! "Keep the change?" “Loathed tourists”? “Wellfleet residents are the rudest sort”? Did I go overboard in my description of how the August invasion feels to residents? I went back to reread the post in question and maintain what I wrote. Anonymous must have been having a very bad day to feel the compunction to comment this way. He/she must not know that I was a Wellfleet tourist myself for 25 years. My kids spent summers with their grandparents and worked in local restaurants, learning to say "Sure!" to whatever request a tourist might make. To answer his/her insinuation about my house, actually I owned this beautiful place before we turned it into a B&B. (Sven and I had moved back from Europe to care for my elderly parents in 1997. They bought the house in 1970. We decided to open a bed & breakfast to have something interesting to do during the last years of my mother’s life. She passed away almost three years ago, and we are still here.) Sven and I have discovered green tourists – the kind our philosophy attracts – are a delight. Many innkeepers burn out fast, precisely due to the type of tourist Anonymous must be … Another unpleasant visitor over the weekend, Bill, who made waves and brought tourists and locals alike out to gawk. How much worse this hurricane could have been had the continental weather conditions sucked it towards the coast! Sven and I went to Newcomb Hollow this morning where a crowd had gathered at the end of the parking lot. The waves were rowdier than usual, but the locals did not seem impressed. I heard one man describing to some tourists how, 20 years ago, the ocean had removed part of the pavement. We watched a little boy flirting with the sea and saw one lone swimmer, in the distance, but she did not stay in for long ....