Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Signs

I've been chronicling here about how my peaceful, quiet rural lifestyle on a farm has rather quickly changed into my personal space shrinking while masses of people move into my area and turn it into a city. It's happening everywhere in the western United States. We have people flooding in from foreign countries as well as long-time American citizens migrating. It's especially bad this year with so many people out of work and in search of jobs. Not only do we have ten times the normal amount of traffic, but we have multiple families living together in houses around us, longer lines and more crime.

There are also plenty of people who do have financial security now and choose to vacation here in Northern Nevada. Locals say it's a good thing because tourist money is what supports our state, but some of these tourists are making themselves unwelcome with their rude behaviors. Here are some stories of more signs I've seen that our little rural community is turning into just another extension of the Bay Area:

1. I woke up this morning at 5:00 AM to go outside (in my pajamas) to feed the horses, hoping to avoid the kid being dropped off at daycare next door and the other next door guest who likes to hang out by my bathroom window while I shower. The air was polluted by the sound of a car alarm somewhere in the neighborhood. It's been whooping it up all morning for hours on end. Obviously, no one has made any attempt to shut it off. What is this? New York City?

2. I walked around the house at 5:30 AM in my bra, while the deodorant on my armpits dried, opening windows and doors to let in cool air before the sun came up. Normally, I can do this discreetly without an audience, but this morning I had to duck every two seconds because a car was always swinging around the curve and shining its headlights on me in my bra in my house. What's up with all this early morning traffic? All I hear at the moment are engine noises and car alarms where I used to be able to listen to the birds chirping.

3. The other day I had just picked up my mail and was walking up my driveway when I heard a loud noise behind me. A Cadillac with California plates came racing around the blind curve so fast that it was out of control. The driver spotted me and jerked the wheel hard to turn up my drive. He then proceeded to slam on his brakes on dirt and gravel when he must have been going 50 MPH in a 35 MPH zone turning into a 10 MPH zone. His Caddy lost control and slid up to me, just missing hitting me by inches. A woman poked her head out the passenger side window and yelled out in a middle eastern accent, "Is this the way to Lake Tahoe?"

I was standing there fuming with anger, thinking, "No! This is my HOME and I wasn't expecting guests!"

I mean, come on, most Cadillacs come equipped with GPS or On Star. Most people who own a Cadillac also have a PDA or mobile phone that has access to Yahoo Maps or has GPS software. For those who don't own such gadgets, there's a 7-11 store down the street with maps. There is no reason to tear up someone's private property and nearly kill them in the process of trying to figure out if you are heading in the right direction.

4. While hauling my horse trailer in a 55 MPH zone out in the middle of nowhere, I found myself surrounded by vehicles with out of state plates. A man in a pick up hauling a speedboat illegally passed me in the oncoming lane going 80 MPH nearly blowing me and my horse off the highway. He's on vacation! What's his hurry? I usually save those speeds for when I've got someone in the car who needs to get to the hospital, but he was heading in the opposite direction of the hospital.

5. From my window I keep hearing what sounds like trains blowing their horns, but we don't have any trains around here. All I can figure out is that it's truck drivers out on the highway blowing their horns at bad drivers. Don't they know that people live here and are trying to sleep?

6. Every time, and I mean every time, I drive around a blind curve (and we have a lot of those around here), I meet up with some other driver who has drifted over the center line and is halfway in my lane coming straight at me. Half the time, those drivers are talking on mobile phones and can't get back over quick enough to avoid a head-on collision, so I (the smart one who has both hands on the wheel and is not distracted by a telephone conversation) have to swerve over onto the shoulder and pray there isn't a bicyclist or jogger there. What is so dang hard about staying in your own lane when you navigate a curve? All I can figure out is that when people from big cities visit here, they think it is so spacious compared to where they came from that they can drive wherever the heck they feel like it and there won't be any consequences.

7. Every day I have to go outside to pick up trash on my property that people just threw out their car windows while driving past my house. Does my park-like setting look like a dump or what?

8. I can't ride my horses on my own property at all anymore, not just because of the neighbors, but because of all the tourists on the highway who spot me on my horse and feel the need to pull off the highway and drive right onto my property up to my fence to either watch or ask for directions. You know you're not in a rural community anymore when seeing someone riding a horse is considered to be a rare novelty and a form of entertainment. I just want to get my horses trained so they will be useful to me, which is hard to do with all the distractions and interruptions.

9. My drive to work and home has doubled in time thanks to all the tourists parked halfway on the highway throwing their car doors open in my path, all the bicyclists riding three abreast covering the expanse of my lane, all the loose dogs and beach goers running across the highway, all the people pulling onto the highway from the shoulder without looking over their shoulders, and all the drivers who are intimidated by the curves and cliffs and therefore driving 20 MPH under the speed limit yet not using turnouts. If Lake Tahoe's popularity keeps rising, someone is going to have to rip up Highway 28 to put in 4 lanes, a bicycle lane, and several parking lots, because the single lane highway with no passing and inadequate space for parking along the shoulder is not working for all the people who are flocking there for their summer vacations. Yet at the same time we want to keep the lake pristine and preserve our natural environment.

10. The locals are getting so annoyed with all the tourists that they are starting to foul their own nest by spray painting phrases like "Locals Only" on boulders around the lake. You know, at least horses can foul their own nests and make something beautiful grow out of the manure. I can't say the same for people.

I won't go so far as to say I'm looking forward to winter, because last winter was way too cold, wet, and long, but I will say I'm looking forward to school starting so that the vacations will come to an end and sanity will be restored around here.


fernvalley01 said...

I too live in a "resort area" It doesn't affect me quite as badly as you in that I am off the main highways quite far .But we do get the quads and motor bikes thinking our property is a park? But between the Lac Ste Anne Pilgrimage and the summer villages and the general popularity of boating etc ,this is a hopping area in the summer . Just going to the gass station can be a treat (NOT) As small a lake as we are near , I can't imagine how rough it is around the famous Lake Tahoe!

lytha said...

this is really bad. i can't imagine it. seeing a neighborhood change so quickly, omgosh. it kind of scares me for my beloved country! what is happening - is it so bad? are people so hurting they are becoming less polite? if/when we come back to america, will we be shellshocked?

i came home crying last night because someone cut me off in the grocery line, insisting i was standing in line wrong, because i like to give people a lot of space. americans have personal space rules and europeans don't. but i refuse to crowd people in line! i suffered for it yesterday, and couldn't argue back because i didn't know the words. i know there are rude people everywhere but it was so shocking to see it in this little country town. i fancied running him over on the way home, and relishing the thought of vampires/werewolves breaking/chewing him up. very non-christian thoughts i had to repent for later.

it has been a very long time (years) since i've encountered real rudeness. i am too sensitive now. what can you do, where you live? it sounds so bad, like all the locals are suffering. i've only been to las vegas, no where else in your state. there used to be something called the star trek experience and that made las vegas very very appealing: )

OK let's do it - let's put in speedbumps so people have to slow down on our streets! come on!


Vaquerogirl said...

I do live in the Bay Area and you have to be on constant watch. I often wonder how people who live in 'destination' cities manage to not go insane during the summer. Of course those vendors in those cities need the traffic and the dollars to get them through the winter, but I would have to just shoot someone. It takes all my strength not to shoot the people around me now!
I know things won't get better, but perhaps they won't get too much worse either.
BTW- Upper Ca is still mostly wilderness I've been told!

fernvalley01 said...

this is OT but I am cross posting from Fantastic Vogager. For Bombay's wounds
"Nuzz Muzz, hope you see this, for proud flesh grind up a couple aspirins in a few tbsps of Furacin(don't panic when the mix turns kinda redish) and pain it on leave (don't cover) for a day, then rinse off. Do that for a couple days and it will break down the granulated tissue"

Maia said...

Well at least they didn't build a business park across the road from you, and plow up the wetlands to build tacky McMansions. Sometimes I wonder where this will end, but most of the time I don't want to know.

KD said...

I certainly don't have the troubles that you have as Jacksonville, FL is not a tourist mecca, but my area is changing rapidly as well. I live in a rural residential area which is rapidly becoming much less rural. The traffic has increased since a new housing development was built behind us, but we can't afford to move. I'm glad that I can still go out in my yard without nosy neighbors like you have. My immediate neighbors are good folks and we have pretty good hedges.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Cell Phone users are my biggest pet peeve while driving. My kids and I always place bets when we see someone driving erratically (weaving, not using turn signals, going to slow, too fast, not paying attention, driving with a turn signal on for more than 10 minutes, cutting us off and then driving super slow, and so nauseum). And 10 times out of 10 (isn't that pathetic?) the person we placed a bet on is jabbering away on their cell phone while driving...uh!

I have a cell phone, too. But when someone calls me, I don't talk until I can pull over safely. I'd rather call the person back when I'm safely pulled over on the side of the road or in a parking lot, then endanger myself, my family or other drivers.
It's so dang irresponsible to drive while on a cell phone.

Rarely is anything that important that you have to drive and gab on a cell phone.

Doesn't summer somehow seem shorter this year? The weather has been unpredictable and uncomfortable, too. I just saw on someone's blog, pictures of rows of fully grown corn stalks. Reminded me of Fall and all the corn mazes around here to get lost in.
Is summer almost over?