Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I've been spending my lunch breaks parked down by the Oredock at Sunset Beach the past few days. (Yes, I know that it has the same name as a former NBC soap opera.) I'm eco-friendly & turn the car off, but do indulge myself by leaving the radio on. Saucy, I know.
At this time of year, there's not a ton going on down there other than ice fishermen coming on & off the lake in their trucks & on their snowmobiles, but during the summer months it's a pretty hoppin' place--there's a boat launch, campground, beach, playground (sadly, it's one of those "modern" ones without any sharp metal edges to get hurt on, how can kids build any character with those?). There also used to be a run-down but endearing little mini golf course there run by the local Plunkett's pest control guy, but sadly that appears to have gone the way of the dodo during my four years' absence. "Boom town," my ass.
Anyway, while I was sitting there watching all the people driving around on the lake (were they all on their lunch breaks, too?), I was reminded of the following anecdote I overheard during my epic four days of employment at the telemarketing place (which, to the best of my knowledge, is true--though even if it's not, man, it sure sounds plausible):
A local guy's at one of the gas stations along Hwy 2, overlooking the lake, filling up his tank. A car full of elderly people (with out-of-state plates) pulls up at the pump beside his, all looking out toward the lake with horrified looks on their faces. Local Guy keeps pumping gas until the old guy driver gets out and approaches him.
"Excuse me, young man?"
"Oh, hello. Uh, can I help you with something?"
Elderly Tourist, indignantly: "Why do they make all the migrant workers stay out there on that open field?"
Local Guy is confused. "Uhh...what?"
Elderly Tourist points out at the lake. "All the migrant workers, why do they have to stay out there in those shacks in that big field?"
Local Guy responds, "OH--no, sir, that's Lake Superior. Not a field. And those are ice shacks."
Elderly Tourist, still indignant: "Well, why do they make the migrant workers stay out there?"
"Uh, there's no migrant workers out there--those are for ice-fishing."
Elderly Tourist responds, "Well, then, where do the migrant workers stay?"
"I don't think there are any migrant workers around here, sir. We're pretty far north, and our economy kind of sucks."
"Well, aren't there a lot of them crossing over from Canada?"
Local Guy is confused once more. "Well, yeah, they talk about it on the news, I guess, but..."
Elderly Tourist: "It must only be a few miles across that field there to Canada."
Local Guy looks out at the lake again, and sighs. "Actually, sir, that's not Canada, that's a town across the bay which is only about four miles from here. Still in Wisconsin. Canada's a couple of hours north from here."
Elderly Tourist, with disbelief and suspicion: "...Oh." And gets back in his car and drives off, no doubt failing to explain these facts to his equally misinformed companions, then deciding to drive over to "Canada" (aka Washburn) to look for Mounties. Or whatever else it is people drive to Canada to look for.
What I love most about this story--and there are MANY things I love about it--is that it just might top my previous favorite Ashlanders Vs. The Tourists story, which is the one about the time my brother's high school friend Ben told a bunch of southern Minnesotans that the Oredock is used to store apples from Bayfield. My god, and I thought I was gullible...I think it's like a right of passage here, to truly become a part of this community you must do your best to mislead as many tourists as possible after you finally CRACK after being asked ONE TOO MANY TIMES if Washburn is Canada.
Maps, people. Look at your freakin' maps.