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9.1.06

P.S. Please Write Soon

Dear Summer Person:

Goodbye.

Fear not, this is not a good-riddance letter. I’ve lived on the Vineyard year-round for eight short years and still relish the Island summer and the people who come with it.

Oh, Summer Person, you bring a burst of vibrancy and activity to the Island. Clambakes, cocktail parties, world-renowned speakers, films, and the stars who make them burst onto the scene. Calendars fill up faster than the ferry on a holiday weekend. House guests arrive and arrive and keep arriving. At the same time our hours at work double – or quadruple – and hours for sleep fight a self-defeating battle against extinction.

Then, Summer Person, you leave and the chaos of summer comes to a screeching stop.

That’s fine too. There is no Chilmark Chocolate sweeter than fall on the Vineyard. In September, year-rounders wander through the Land Bank trails and the village streets sporting slightly obscene smiles of contentment.

But there is a problem.

You see, Summer Person, I don’t think this is a particularly healthy way to live. Some of us are simply miserable for half the year. And I fear that others, who successfully navigate the seasons, might be in danger of developing split personalities.

“We’re all bi-polar and we’re always chasing the next season,” says a friend who grew up on the Vineyard and lives here year-round. “But you know what? We could never live in another place. I hate to admit it, but I don’t know if I could or would want to live somewhere else and work nine to five. I think all of us here are addicted to being bi-polar.”

Can we continue to cope? I’m not convinced that a sassy, Type-A, kinetic extrovert can also be the reclusive and philosophical type for half of each year. Are we really capable of accessing both our inner Katie Couric and our inner Ralph Waldo Emerson season after season, year after year? What happens if our wires get crossed and we start charging across the Island at a breakneck pace during February? Then what? Will we be sent to an Island rehab program where they reposition our inner extrovert?

Or could it be that most of us are actually pretty well-adjusted and simply like to mine the depths of our psyches? Perhaps we’re not bi-polar after all. Maybe we’re just taking a break and refueling. Oh, Summer Person, your comings and goings might actually be a gift.

“I don’t think I would live here if we didn’t have both seasons,” says a woman I know who is a former summer person and current year-rounder. “If it weren’t for summer, I’d go stir crazy. If it weren’t for winter, I’d drop dead.”

My dear Summer Person, please have a good winter, and don’t worry about us here.

We’ll be ready for your return next season and await your arrival with great anticipation, prepared, as always, to go, go, go.

Sincerely yours,
A Year-Rounder.

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