You cannot turn left until October is more than a statement. It is a fact.
In 1994 I moved to The white mountains and each year since, the foregoing statement has become more and more of a reality.
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, the official kick-off to the summer, cars, trucks, motorcycles and RVs head to The mountain via different routes, seeking fun and cooler temperatures.
We locals know what these visitors mean to our Mountain. In fact, many people depend on summer business to make it through the winter months.
When traffic starts to mount, we have to re-adjust our lifestyles.
People who come up from other parts of the state, especially larger municipalities, have further to drive to work and are use to heavy traffic – bumper to bumper and driving fast. On The mountain we watch the speed limit. We know if we exceed the speed, we get a ticket. We are use to 35 and 45 mph. We also do not drive bumper to bumper.
When someone from outside the area arrives, they are usually still in “go” mode. “Slow” does not usually come for them until they have been here a couple of days and experience the cooler temperatures and solace from the so-called “rat-race.” We, however, have our own “slow” and “go” mode and that’s how, as they say, “we roll.”
When someone is on our bumper we don’t like it. On the flip side, while we are going slow, those from the fast-pace world don’t like that either.
Leaving the paper on White Mountain Road and trying to turn left going toward Denny’s, we have no traffic light. To turn left is a long wait. I timed my exit to the suicide lane three different times just to have a point of reference. Each time it took me between five and seven minutes to get out of our lot. I find it the same in several other locations I frequent, and others I know validate this point from their experience.
Though the visitors and summer residents think it is cool on The mountain, it is still hot, especially to those of us who have become acclimated to The mountain.
Unless we are having monsoons, or the sun has gone down, our temperatures stay in the 90s and sometimes even reach a 100 degrees. It has already happened several times this year and it is just the beginning of July.
Add those high temps to the mix of “slow” or “go,” and you have the potential of a volatile situation.
Scientists tell us that as the temperatures rise, so do our tempers.
According to the FBI, the five U.S. Cities with the most murders and violent crime are Detroit, Michigan, New Orleans, Louisiana, Newark, New Jersey, St. Louis, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. These five cities are “hot.” They all have high humidity combined with the high temperatures, the perfect formula for a lot of aggression out there.
Of course, extreme temperatures or humidity are not the only contributing factors to crime in these major cities, but a link between heat and aggressive behavior has been the subject of a number of studies.
One study actually shows that Americans honk their horns more when the weather is hot. There is even a scientific study attributing heat and precipitation to interpersonal and global conflict. Another has to do with being dehydrated, which many of us who came here from other places have discovered.
The point is, we love the visitors and the summer residents and how they contribute to our economy. We make many new friends during the summer months, even life-long friends. The visitors and summer residents love our laid back lifestyle and our cooler temperatures. They just get to visit, but we get to live here.
Trying to understand where another person is coming from can often eliminate a bad situation.
Since our mountain and our weather will continue to be an attractant to people from all over the state and beyond until well after Labor Day, let’s hydrate, appreciate and show our visitors that incredible “White Mountain Hospitality” we are so well known for.
And now, a tip for the locals who may not have figured it out yet, and for our visitors about “not being able to turn left until October:”
The tip, and believe me, it is easier than allowing your blood pressure to rise or worse: Turn right. Yes, turn right and go to the next place you can turn in to that has a traffic light. When the light changes, you can then go in the direction you wanted without risking the suicide land or the aggravating wait.
Now that you know the solution, write it on a post it note and put it in your car to remind yourself.
What I BELIEVE is though you cannot turn left until October, there is a solution, and summer only lasts a little while. Enjoy it!