Scenes from the Bar: Tourists

Monday, June 10, 2013 | 0 Comment(s)

The students have left this 5-college town, and things are getting back to pleasant.  A few more warm weather days and I will be reminded why I love living in Amherst.

Of course, as with any place on the map, there needs to be some influx of revenue to the area when tuitions aren't keeping it afloat.  And that's when the tourists arrive.  They roll in from New York and New Jersey (pretty exclusively), and try to experience enough craft fairs and B&B living in one long weekend so that they can "feel country" and potentially tell their pals back in the city that they have a place they go "up-state."

As you may have guessed from my smearing of the previous paragraph with negative connotation, I'm not a fan of the tourists.  Somehow a small army of inconsiderate 19-year-olds doesn't piss me off hardly as much as the deeply imbedded sense of entitlement you get from the white, 50-something, 212'ers.  they are here for "faux" country living, but they still want (they would say 'need') the micro-details of their soy, gluten-free, turn-down service, taken care of for them.

Last week I had a pair of these well-pressed pricks drive the wrong way up a one-way, and then pull a 300-degree jack-knife turn, just to beat me into a parking spot that was directly in front of my car going the correct direction.  Classy.

At the bar, this absentmindedness borne from having others cow-tow to your every need, comes across even more disastrously.  I give you: "Quintessential NY tourists at a Western MA bar:  A true story"


1pm.  The couple at the bar orders drinks, and begin to chat to each other.  The wife beckons me over.

Wife: We are looking for a place to eat . . .
Me: Let me grab you a Lunch Menu.
Wife: No, no.  For tonight . . . (she doesn't end any of her sentences.  She let's them trail off with the expectation that I will not only take care of her needs, but additionally finish her sentences for her.  I hate this.)
Me: Oh, no problem, I'll grab you a dinner menu to look at.
Wife: Nooo . . .

And here's the most annoying moment.  Not only does she not finish that sentence, but she is sending out body language that implies . . ."Nooooo . . . somewhere . . . nicer."

I would understand if that is what she was looking for.  If she said, "How bout something a little fancier,"it's not like I wouldn't understand not wanting bar food for dinner.  But she wants me to cut in and suggest that she wants something fancier.  She wants me to interpret her as "better than this place" and suggest restaurants more to someone of her standing.  I think that she is barely good enough for this place (you know, the one she came into and ordered a beer from), and refuse to disparage my establishment for her false sense of prestige.

I don't reply to her hanging, "Noooooooo…"  She is put in the uncomfortable situation of finishing her own sentence . . .  and it's not . . .  going . . . well . . .

Wife: Nooooo . . . how about a seafood place. 
Me:  Well, there are a number of good sushi places in the area?
Wife:  Nooooo (I swear to you she started every sentences with a rolling 'no') . . . On our way in we saw a harbor, so we thought there might be a nice seafood place . . . some place with fresh fish. (I hate how she says the word 'fresh')
Me: You saw a harbor?

A quick geography lesson for all of my non-Massachusetts readers.  I live in the town of Amherst, which is about a 15-minute drive away from its sister city, Northampton.  These two locales are most permanently separated by the Connecticut river.  And while the CT river is nothing to scoff at, you can see across it, and therefore while there are slips for boats to dock on the river, none of these areas are what you would call a "harbor."

Me: Where did you guys come in from . . . because you know that we're pretty land-locked, right? 
Wife:  New York, via 91 North. There was a harbor by the water.
Husband:  Well . . . there were boats docked . . .  (he also isn't ending his sentences, but I'm pretty sure that his lack of punctuation has less to do with being accommodated and more to do with trying not to sound contradictory to his wife.
Me: Yah, that is just a small dock area.  Unless you are dropping in from Google Maps, zooming straight down into this area, I don't think you're gonna find any harbors nearby (yes I actually said this).  Not enough business with the lack of large water sources.  

The husband is chuckling.  He appears to enjoy his wife getting a taste of her own smarmy medicine.

But now, the locked horns of preconceived notions and misunderstanding so intertwined, a graceful exit, for either of us, seems impossible.  So I cave.

I tell them some of the local fine dining options.  She takes the olive branch from my lips and stops asking such stupid questions.

They tip a colossal 50 cents for their two beers, and I die of shock at their lack of gratuity and graciousness.

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