Article posted Wednesday, May 13, 2009 5:48pm

With the arrival of the season, I thought it was time to have a refresher course for the locals who work and live here:

1) Get into the right mindset about driving. You can no longer zip throughout the county, ignoring speed limits in most cases. The campers, minivans, trailers and buses are coming. Accept it. If you don’t, you will be forced to grit your teeth, pound on your steering wheel, make rude hand gestures and scream within the confines of your car. If someone should witness you having such a breakdown in your car (going 25 miles below the limit, naturally), you may find yourself inside a padded cell shortly soon after. It’s not worth the risk.

2) Expect names of towns to be mispronounced or outright slaughtered. Try not to giggle when someone asks where Jacksontown, Bailey Creek or Washington’s Island, Egg Bay, or Effrum is. There are a lot of first timers up here. If you make your living on tourism, it’s not only polite to gently correct an error, it’s financially responsible.

3) Try to understand that when families are on vacation, they can get sick of each other quickly. When Timmy and Tammy are in school all year, it’s easier for their parents to have loving feelings towards them. When they have to spend 8 hours in a car with them, then have them underfoot all day for a week straight, they tend to lose patience. In extreme cases, they may try to pretend they don’t have children anymore and leave them in a restaurant hoping someone will assume their roles. Most of the time, they just ignore them and forget about reprimanding them in businesses. This of course leads to chocolate handprints on white silk blouses, broken glassware and lots of long temper tantrums. Resist the urge to strangle the children. It really is the fault of the parents. Plus, I think you get less prison time for assaulting an adult versus a child. Food for thought.

4) You will hear a lot of misinformation coming out of the mouths of people who have been here several times before. They feel a sense of ownership of the peninsula since they have crossed the bridge over four times now. Some catch on much more quickly and have a handle on the place in about a day or so. “Yeah, I’ve seen everything already. I went up 42 and came back down 57.” Annoying? Yes. However, it’s harmless to let them think they are the experts.

5) As we have discussed before, a visitor tends to lose some common sense somewhere on the journey, somewhere north of Green Bay and south of Sturgeon Bay. The high-powered attorney who is known for his quick thinking suddenly finds himself asking how big a 16” pizza is. Prepare yourself to be peppered with silly questions. The following two quotes are actual and unfortunately are not the product of my imagination. They make the point rather well. “This place is just like Lake Geneva, except without the lake.” When a tourist was looking at the frozen harbor at Fish Creek’s winter games she remarked, “Huh. It’s weird that they stopped building the town so abruptly and didn’t expand it further.”

The overall theme here is patience. Find it and use it, that’s your only hope.