Off To See The Wizard

One of the very first things about Provincetown that appealed to me was how genuinely friendly people were.  The other tourists were nice.  Service people in shops smiled.  People smiled on their bikes.  It just seemed that everyone was so unbelievably happy and kind.  And it kept on being like that for the 12 years I continued to visit.

My friend Joel and I used to fantasize about moving here and one thing we’d laugh about was that once we got here, we’d see behind the Wizard’s curtain and our seemingly idyllic little Oz would be exposed for what it really was….a tiny place full of back biters and gossips and petty people.

Well, everyone gossips, but in the best possible way.

I have never lived in a place where people are so genuinely kind and caring.   Folks look out for each other.  They run errands out of niceness.  They check on the old neighbor lady.  They ask about your dinner party.  They’re interested in your “story” and happy to bring over something wonderful they cooked up.  I’ve yet to lock the door.  And on a deeper level, they look out for what’s right and important in their community.  I overheard a man in the liquor store the other day explaining to the clerk, in the nicest possible way, that they should limit what they sold his friend, who was having a particularly bad streak of luck and a difficult battle with schizophrenia. When’s the last time your friend went to bat for you like that, when you couldn’t help yourself?  It rarely happens in our modern lives.

I would theorize the reasons for this.  The most apparent and most practical is that it really is a two street town, both streets stretching 4 miles long and 2 blocks deep.   Everyone knows everyone.  People see each other 2,3,4 times a day on Commercial St.  There’s no anonymity to speak of, unless you venture out to the National Seashore or further down Cape.  It’s the very best of small town America, albeit with a liberal streak a mile (er, two blocks) wide.  The other, more metaphysical reason for this is that I suspect that the shape of the Cape, its swirling wrap that points back on itself, is a sort of karmic boomerang, deflecting and redirecting whatever energy one puts out almost instantly back upon oneself.

As a friend says, “Karma’s a bitch, y’all.”   It’s easy here to stay on the right side of that coin!

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