2018-06-14 / Around Town

Summer Brings Showdowns

By Amy Martin

Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. Particular signs alert me to the arrival of Newport summers: lush green trees, colorful blooms, folks’ translucent white legs in shorts, and nearly being killed by a bright yellow scoot coupe. You know, those zippy little two-seater vehicles with the tall flag on the back that unleash themselves upon our streets from May to October.

In fact, last week’s near-death experience was capped off with getting the finger from the helmeted captain of this Matchbox car. I assume his reaction was due to being frustrated when I got in his way as he careened in the wrong direction down a one-way street, and ran the stop sign. I should have understood that it was difficult for him to see the stop sign, from his vantage point of the opposite direction, but I was too busy obeying traffic laws.

As a permanent resident I have had six months of free parking, no traffic, my line of vision not blocked by miles of parallel parked cars due to weeknight deals at local restaurants. Well, people, it’s over.

The gate at the CVS parking lot is in full swing (pun intended). The guard at the Stop & Shop parking lot had better see you walking out of one of the center’s shops with either all-you-can-eat-sushi, toilet paper, a fresh pedicure or a six pack. Otherwise, you will be chased down. Parking in this lot and walking to the hardware store does not cut the mustard. You must park in one of the six allotted hardware spaces a mere 15 feet away. This really forces you to assess how badly you need that plunger.

Last summer, I hit a resident’s low point when I “illegally parked” my car in the CVS lot and ran to Newport Sweet Shoppe for a Father’s Day gift after purchasing a card at CVS. After being threatened with a tow if I visited a shop outside the lot, I challenged the attendant to tow my car before I could purchase six truffles.

I was immediately transported to the gun sling showdown scene in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” I could hear the iconic woodwind Western music cuing Blondie and "Angel Eyes." But instead of twitchy fingers lingering over weapons, our fingers were hovering over a cell phone and car keys. I won the truffle vs. the tow showdown.

For locals, Bellevue Avenue, Thames Street and Memorial Boulevard are to be avoided at all costs or risk being swallowed by the throngs of wide-eyed tourists taking in the enchanting buildings and views.

The Catch-22 of the tourist headache is that as locals we rely on these visitors for the success of the town that we adore, so it is ultimately a symbiotic relationship. Without them, our economy would not be able to support the diverse culture, academia, restaurants, festivals and activities that we take advantage of year round.

So, I will exercise more patience with tourist annoyances, remembering that I’m the annoying tourist every time I travel. I’m grateful to the residents who make Newport such a wonderful destination, and I’m thankful that visitors choose to spend their dollars here. And I will also remember to look both ways before crossing a one-way street.

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