Take the tourist test and see if you pass | SierraSun.com
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Take the tourist test and see if you pass

Kirsten Curtis, Guest Columnist

I took a deep breath of the cold, frosty air. I was finally home.

Having been going to school in the Bay Area for the past four months, Christmas break was a refreshing pause in my life where I could come back to my town and my family.

We had just finished dining at Pianeta’s. While strolling down Commercial Row to walk off the seafood pasta and the grilled chicken entrees (not to mention the six rolls of rosemary bread), my brother turned to me and said in an overly competent voice, “This is Commercial Row; across the street you will find the train station.”

In answer to my quizzical glance, he coyly remarked in a flat voice, “You do not live here anymore. That means you are a tourist. As a local, it is almost my obligation to show you around.”

I laughed at the absurdity of the idea. Me? A tourist? Ridiculous. I was born in Tahoe Forest Hospital in 1982, the year of the big avalanche at Alpine Meadows, and had lived in Truckee for nearly 18 years. I had driven on Jibboom Street when it consisted of more potholes than road – I had marched in the Fourth of July parade – I had swam in Tahoe last March.

Moreover, I knew tourism’s role in Truckee’s economy. In addition to it fueling the ski resorts, restaurants, and boutiques, my mother, a real estate agent, would not be able to do nearly as well if it were not for tourists moving up to the area. On one hand I thanked tourism for my mother’s, and many others’, livelihood.

But on the other hand, dealing with tourists has always been a frustrating experience. Anyone who has tried driving on the freeway westbound on a winter or holiday weekend will know what I am talking about. And for those who have gotten stuck behind a tourist – who insisted on first stopping at the four-way intersection after crossing the train tracks and then driving through town at a rate that is actually slower than walking – will undoubtedly concur.

By growing up in Truckee, I have developed townism: a combination of pride and prejudice towards my town and the people who threaten to come in and change its ways. I saw tourists as the antithesis of locals and considered it an insult to be considered as one.

But my brother’s point was well taken. What did constitute the status of tourist or local? Was someone who just moved up to the area still considered a tourist? Was someone born in Truckee who moved away still considered a local? These questions plagued my mind and led me to devise the following test that is designed to clear up any uncertainty people might have as to their social status of local or tourist.

This test is not contrived to brand readers; rather it is fabricated to give people an idea to which group they may identify.

You may be a tourist if:

— You drive anything but a truck, Jeep, SUV, or Subaru. (In other words, if you drive a car.)

— You can not name at least one person who has preformed in the Truckee Follies.

— You are wondering what the Truckee Follies is.

— You drive 45 miles per hour on Glenshire Drive.

— You can walk into OB’s without being showered by a rain of hellos from at least half of the occupants.

— You wear a suit.

— You drive a spotless automobile.

— You think formal refers to anything but clean jeans.

— You prefer to pay $2 to park across the street from the post office instead of parking gratis next to the Texaco Station.

— You think the “Past Time Club Six-Pack” refers to six beers instead of a man with four teeth drinking two beers.

— You refer to your $300,000 second home as a “cabin.”

If your mentality does not coincide with the aforementioned criteria, then congratulations – you may well be a bona fide local. (Now go buy yourself a “Truckee Local” license plate frame!)

If your answers tended toward the tourist mentality, then that’s great too! Go shopping, walk along Commercial Row, and dine at some of our many fine restaurants.

If, however, you tested tourist and wish to become a local, the most important thing you can do is continue reading the Sierra Sun. Keep informed about what is happening in Truckee and the surrounding area, get involved in the community, and have faith that with time, you too might become a Truckee Local.

Kirsten Curtis is a junior at

Stanford University.


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