This is Not The Truman Show

I live in a cabin on a lake in a forest (purchased back when people like me, not-rich people, could afford such things).  There are about ten permanent residences; about ten cottages owned by people who may (or may not) be there during any given weekend or week; and, now, oh the horror, about ten houses owned by absentee landlords who rent them out on a short-term basis (typically for a weekend or a week).  So in addition to the 20 or so people who live here and the familiar 20 or so people who are here occasionally, we now have up to another 100 people (because ‘Sleeps 10!’), strangers, who are here pretty much all the time from mid-spring to mid-fall.

I moved here for the beauty, the quiet, the solitude.  Paddling here used to feel like paddling in Algonquin.  It doesn’t feel that way anymore.  (‘Course, I suspect that paddling in Algonquin doesn’t even feel like paddling in Algonquin anymore.)  Now it often feels like paddling around a pond in Toronto.

A while ago I was accused of being rude.  Because I didn’t smile and wave back when I paddled past someone sitting on a dock who’d smiled and waved at me.  Excuse me?

I am not part of your cottage experience.  This is not The Truman Show.  I’m an actual, real person, and I live here.  I do not come into existence when you arrive and disappear when you leave.

You’ve been suckered by the rental ads claiming a cottage escape where you can relax and have fun.  Like many tourists, you think the people you see are part of the package.  I assure you we are not.

You may be able to relax and have fun here.  But keep in mind that you’re really just renting a house in someone else’s neighbourhood for the weekend/week.

So you’ll understand why many of us are pissed off by your jetskis that shove gasoline fumes and engine noise into every cove (and over a gallon of uncombusted fuel directly into the lake for every hour of operation), your all-day firepits that send smoke into everyone’s back yard, and your evening campfires during which due to the acoustics of the lake and your insistence on using your outdoor voices (because, hey, you’re outdoors!  up north, in the wild!) we have to listen to your inane conversations (and sometimes your gawdawful music) when we really want to listen to the loons.  (And I’m the one who’s rude?!)

So, no.  If you smile and wave at me when I pass by (and I doubt you do that to every stranger who passes by when you’re sitting on your porch at home in your own neighbourhood), I’m not going to smile and wave back.




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