As residents of the First State, we have griped and complained, year after year, about the annual invasion of tourists to our beach areas. We attempt to tolerate the excessive amount of additional traffic, crowded restaurants and attractions and the total lack of available parking.
We roll our eyes at their poor driving skills and yell outbursts when they fail to move out of the left lane. We curse under our breath (and maybe occasionally outloud), in total frustration about the total inconvenience we must suffer between Memorial Day through Labor Day.
And yet, I stand here in defense of these out of state (sometimes in-state) visitors, the folks we affectionately refer to as “tourons”, a cross between tourists and a morons. Because as much as you and I would care not to admit it….They is Us, or at least Me.
Haven’t we all be that “touron” in some other locale? It might have been an exotic, tropical destination, maybe a remote mountain lake location or maybe a trip to an unfamiliar inner city.
It would be surprising to think that the residents of those locations would look upon us in disgust and roll their eyes at our tourist behavior. Maybe we went the wrong way on a one way street. Maybe we asked for directions to a total tourist trap. Maybe we tried to take a group of 20 to a small local restaurant that may hold 30 at best. So, maybe, at one time we were all the “tourons”.
Really, who could blame these folks that come to our beaches for their summer vacations? Maybe we just forget how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful location. We are literally minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean and have the privilege of visiting anytime of the year. Imagine the poor schlub from the midwest who makes the trek here to see the mighty Atlantic for the very first time.
And who doesn’t enjoy the attractions our area has to offer? Haven’t we all done the “tourist” thing and made the trip to the boardwalk? The salt air makes Groot pizza taste a little better. There is nothing better than a Nicoboli after a fun day in the sun. And the trip to Funland with our children and grandchildren is basically a right of passage. Encouraging our children to “ring your bell” on the little boats is as much a part of our dna as a trip to any one of of our seaside state parks.
Some of us might say, that our own summer is complete until we have made our own trek to the beach to do the “tourist” thing.
So, maybe it’s time to cut the “touron” a little slack. They have chosen to travel hundreds of miles and hours upon hours in a car full of frustrated passengers, just to spend a week or a weekend at the place we call home. So maybe the next time we point at those crazy tourists and shake our heads at their touristy ways…just remember that “They is We!”