by Rick Conti
Everyone has their own list of stuff they miss when they’re away from Martha’s Vineyard. Certainly I’m no exception. My list is long indeed. The highlights of said list provide the fodder that makes these blog entries so easy to come up with.
But I have another list: Things I don’t miss while I’m there. The former list is the magnetic force constantly tugging me seaward, back to the Vineyard. The latter is the gravity that keeps me there, feet firmly planted on island soil, as often and for as long as possible. Significant energy can be expended resisting those forces. Rather than fight that losing battle, I give in whenever I can. As several songs in recent memory declare, it’s a sweet surrender.
Here are portions of my two lists, in alternating order…
On the mainland, I miss the fresh, laser-sharp, salt-infused air of MV. It simply has a higher, almost alive quality than can be found elsewhere.
On the island, it’s a welcome relief to know I won’t encounter a single traffic light. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Here where I live, they pop up like weeds everywhere I go. Stop and go is my life.
Nowhere in my land-locked space can I hear one of the Earth’s greatest sounds: roaring ocean surf. There’s nothing like that sonic miracle anywhere in the world but at the seaside.
Nowhere on the Vineyard will I run into a nationwide franchise. No Dunkin’ Donuts, no McDonald’s, no Pizza Hut. Who needs’em? Who wants’em?
The never-ending display of sparkling, Christmas-esque lights gleaming off the ephemeral peaks on the rolling sea surface can’t be duplicated by any seasonal artifice.
At last, when I’m on MV, I’m not surrounded by “big box” retailers hawking slave-manufactured “goods”. Having effectively crushed their more homely counterparts, they’re the only option left… on the mainland.
Isolation might not be everyone’s cup of lemonade. Truth be told, it often isn’t mine. But everyone needs some separation sometimes. Paul Hogan (whatever happened to him?) could just as easily have been describing MV when he announced that Australia is “surrounded by water”. (Supply your own accent.) No such barrier is available to the landlubber.
Big buildings have their place – you can’t build Saturn V rockets in a phone booth (whatever happened to them?) after all – but do they have to be everywhere? And do they have to be so big? My idea of an acceptable skyscraper is Edgartown Lighthouse.
Highways and 65 MPH speed limits.
Ice Cream and Candy Bazaar
Ubiquitous tractor trailers.
Back Door Donuts.
Parking lots big enough to have their own zip code.
Edgartown Residence Club
In fact, one of the few things I don’t miss when I’m land-bound is cranky tourists. Unfortunately, we’re just as disagreeable on the mainland…
…which is where we live…
…which is why I specialize in off-season visits to MV.