Summer complaints

Time was, when residents of coastal New England from Martha’s Vineyard to Mount Desert Island referred to unwelcome or unrefined guests as “summer complaints.”

We’re well into a new century now, and today’s modern summer complaints refer to traffic, congestion, long lines at the grocery store or the relentless background din associated with a wider community of 10,000 people playing host annually to more than 3.3 million out-of-towners – mostly in the span of six months.

Folks, now, often depend on technology to vent. There’s even a Facebook page called “Welcome to Bar Harbor’s Most Famous Parking Show.” The aggrieved post photos of illegal and, in some cases, antisocial parking. Some measure of comeuppance apparently is extracted from those who seem to believe that being on vacation is not only a respite from work, but also a reprieve from all manner of rules and regulations.

Today, we are on the cusp of the peak period of tourism in Maine, those first three weeks in August where, from Eastport to Kittery, and Tenant’s Harbor to Fort Kent, there won’t be a hotel room, campsite or downtown parking place to be had.

Now is the time to be reminded that the scrum of summer is a relatively brief phenomenon. Sooner or later, we’re all tourists somewhere. Be patient, be kind, wave that lost and perplexed driver through with a smile.

Before long, hotels will be closing down and shop windows boarded up. Only the hardiest tourists will continue to explore a windblown, cold and lonely Acadia National Park.

Deep down, everyone who lives here in Down East Maine understands that the only thing worse than our annual summer protests are the frigid-winter complaints.

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