07/12/2006: "They Say The Darnedest Things"
Tourists can be very humorous and they don't even know it. To be fair though, we may look just as funny to them. For instance, a serious bicycle-riding tourist may think an Islander riding a bicycle looks comical wearing normal clothing like jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes. But to many of us a tourist riding a bike looks quite like a creature from another Galaxy.
I swear that the outfits these bike enthusiasts wear are right out of a bad science fiction movie. Why are the helmets so funny looking? Do they have to make them look like the head of some giant army ant from Mars? And the color of the spandex shirts and tights are often not natural colors found anywhere on this planet. Because they look like aliens they tend to stick out. They probably think I'm weird too when I shoot my beverage out of my nose as a group of these guys pedal past.
The special cycling shoes are really weird too. When they get off their bikes they clomp around like robots. Ever watched them on stairs or tile floors? They walk with their arms out for balance like Zombies about to tip over with one misstep.
I didn't intend to make fun of tourists who ride bicycles. I'm just making a general observation. Sure they dress funny, but I want to talk about tourists who say things that are hilarious and they don't even know it. The other day I watched a guy come off the ferry with a huge pack on his back, one arm was full of gear, the other one was pulling on the nose of a big kayak heaped with stuff that was carefully balanced on two wheels. The first cars were coming off right behind him nipping at his heels.
He obviously wanted to get out of the way of traffic and he must have thought I was standing there for some official reason because he came up and asked me a question. I smiled in a friendly way but then my wisecracking smart-aleck mouth started to quiver because what he asked me was really hilarious. He said, "Where is a good place to stick my Kayak?" Because I like tourists I did not touch that one but I did laugh out loud.
So sometimes tourists say the darnedest things and they don't even know they are funny. The Kayak guy reminded me about the many years I spent working next to the ferry dock where I kept a log of funny questions that tourists seriously asked me. When I heard a good one I would whip out the pen and pad and ask them to repeat it verbatim. Below are several classic questions. Perhaps you have heard some questions like these:
Do the Ferries ever run over the whales?
Are these Islands connected?
Who makes up the funny names for the ferries?
Where's the closest McDonalds?
Can we sit on the Ferry or will we have to stand?
What kind of money do you use here?
Are the deer here all year around?
What time do the whales go by?
Can we drive to the other islands and catch the ferry there?
You have to love the visitors that come to the islands. We all depend on them and we don't even know it. Next time you begin to loose patience with a tourist remember to laugh. They may not even know they are being funny. We are all tourists at one time or another. Just have fun. That's the whole idea.