“I cannot believe how expensive these are,” whined the middle-aged woman wearing a chic hat with a floppy, 360-degree brim. She pointed to the peppers, onion, bananas, and other goods she was purchasing at our local general store. “This is not right.”

I stood behind her, my arms tiring from holding a gallon of milk, bread, and two prepackaged sandwiches. I was embarrassed for the cashier.

“Put them in a bag,” the woman said, snippy like.

I could tell she was not from around here. She sported short pants that showed off toned legs, and leather sandals with shiny bronze buckles. I am not implying local women do not have toned legs — I have seen quite a few — but it was the attitude, plus the hat and sandals with buckles, that gave her away. She was “one of them.”

The young cashier, about 25 years old or so, had obviously dealt with many tourists over the years.

“Sure, be happy to. That is five cents a bag,” she said, all sugar and spice.

This caused a cry from the woman, who then turned to me and rolled her eyes like we were accomplices. She must have used this tactic wherever she came from so as to get attention and be given a discount by a mortified retailer. It did not work at this store.

The cashier, bless her heart, was unflappable. The groceries were bagged, money transacted, and the clueless woman hmphed out of the store.

“You handled that really well,” I said to the young clerk. “I am impressed.”

“What I say and what I want to say are two different things,” she said with a smile.

I admit to being tough on some tourists who come to Midcoast Maine in the summer. My sarcastic attitude comes about based on experience. For example, when I go to Port Clyde, I drive around like I am in a dodgem bumper car.

“Can you believe both parking spaces were taken with out-of-state cars?” I lamented to my wife.

I like the local pizza shops as much as anyone, but to travel between Route 131 and Route 1 is maddening in July and August due to traffic.

“Sorry for the cold shriveled pepperoni,” I have said to my crestfallen guests.

The Lobster Festival in Rockland attracts tourists who I fantasize devour lobsters at twice the speed of a shark on seal. I admit I never have attended the festival because I worry about dodging flying lobster claws, slipping on melted butter, and avoiding deranged vacationers — hunched over and carrying forks shaped like spears — frantically searching for that fourth helping.

Do not get me wrong; I love the idea of the festival. I just wish visitors were mandated to pick a seating time, like they do at church or game suppers, and then depart in an orderly fashion.

How about the dress code of tourists I see walking down Main Street in Rockland? My goodness, what is it with some men and women wearing baggy short pants with leggings that hang way below the knee with what look like two twigs sticking out, and t-shirts advertising some heavy metal band from the 70’s? For God’s sake, who cares about Judas Priest?

Or, what about those folks from Connecticut driving their Subaru Outback at 35 mph in a 55-mph zone on Route 1? They must see me snarling and gesturing with my hands in their rear-view mirror, and them thinking “That poor old Mainer is having a seizure.”

My Mainer wife has listened to my complaints about tourists for the past several years.

“Hey, you were what they call a tourist once,” she said, her words dripping with sarcasm.

“Yes, but I was not a real tourist. You were ‘from here’ and asked me to go with you to see your family,” I said in defense, acting as if she lashed me to the car seat and put a gag in my mouth. I was not about to admit having been “One of Them.”

As someone “from here,” she did not retreat from the obvious.

“You hiked in Acadia, sailed on a Camden windjammer, camped at Oceanside in Trenton, and took an RV trip to Bar Harbor and Cushing,” she said. “I hate to break it to you, dear, but you were a tourist.”

She then noted I wrote this essay wearing old, faded, Nike swim shorts with my pale legs sticking out at odd angles, a t-shirt that advertised only solid gray, two rolled-down brown socks, and dingy black clogs.

In other words, while I may live here now, she suggested I still dress like some of the tourists I see on Main Street.

I now admit I was once “one of them.”

Mike Skinner is a writer who lives in Tenants Harbor. Skinner was a medic in the U.S. Army, a hospital executive, and a college educator. He is the author of “My Life as a Non-Valedictorian,” available through Maine Authors Publishing, local bookstores, and Amazon and Kindle.

As Mike Skinner is a writer who lives in Tenants Harbor. Skinner was a medic in the U.S. Army, a hospital executive, and a college educator. He is the author of “My Life as a Non-Valedictorian,” available through Maine Authors Publishing, local bookstores, and Amazon and Kindle.

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