Glass Half Full: A little respect goes a long way
July 15, 2017
It's that time, again. You know it as soon as you pull into Raley's parking lot. More accurately, you know it as soon as you try to pull into the parking lot at Raley's, or pretty much anywhere else in town and cannot find a space. The tourists are back. It's suddenly impossible to turn left onto Tahoe Boulevard, and popping into the grocery store to grab just a couple of items takes half an hour. Why does this always come as a surprise?
I suggest that the worst (Fourth of July extended weekend) is over. Just as we survived a long winter with snow berms that disguised our own driveways, we survived an invasion of thousands who came to celebrate a small town Independence Day.
Ironically, they doubled the size of our small town — but it's still a small town. Something we should not forget. We are spoiled. Witness frequent remarks on Facebook and other social media last week: cries of what to do, tinges of "Woe is me," outright indignation over inconveniences to which we are not accustomed.
My friends, let's remember that we are talking about singularly First World problems. We live in an exceptionally beautiful place where, just perhaps, it's good for us to be reminded of the luxury and privilege we experience every day just by living here.
It is easy to forget that our businesses actually depend on these tourists. It’s easy to forget that sharing our beautiful space can be a gift.
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Unless we were born here, there was a time when we, too, were visitors. We gawked, held up traffic, didn't know where we were going, couldn't find the center of town (still can't), and generally interfered with the daily rituals of those who already lived here. We were probably pretty clueless in the process.
It is easy to forget that our businesses actually depend on these tourists. It's easy to forget that sharing our beautiful space can be a gift. Yes, the beaches, trails, and streets are crowded. But just watch the joy and delight with which a multi-generational family simply stops mid-wherever to stare in wonder at the water, the mountains, the sky, a bear (a chipmunk?). Sometimes we benefit from being reminded of the wonder of those wonders. These "problems" about which we are complaining do not include war, famine, drought, fear, destruction, and disease. They are not life threatening. They are, very simply, extremely minor inconveniences that, if considered through the right lens, can serve as reminders of how very fortunate we are.
At the same time, if you are a visitor to Incline Village, please do remember that our beaches and trails serve as our front yards and backyards. We ask that you treat them with respect and care. Please do enjoy your visit and leave us even a little better than you found us: pick up after yourselves; find and use trash cans; observe parking restrictions; take care of your pets; and share space courteously. Treat our space as you would your own home, and you are always welcome to visit again.
Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at http://www.laketahoeschool.org.