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No deadlines here

   I don’t know about you, but I am at my best in crisis mode, hence the newspaper jobs. I love a good deadline. The tighter, the better. There’s nothing quite like knowing that you have to sit at the keyboard and come up with 1,000 carefully executed words before you can pay your rent. It’s quite inspiring. The obvious lack of a weekly deadline in my life has really taken its toll. When you begin to feel like wearing anything with a zipper is an effort, you know there’s a problem.
   The whole winter vibe on Martha’s Vineyard is not real conducive to deadlines. There’s a little thing here called “Vineyard Time” or “Island time.”  It’s similar to Eastern Standard Time only it goes by much, much slower. And the people who follow it might come by and fix your roof after they’ve gone clamming if the weather is good, or just after they’ve looked for some sea glass or caught some blue fish. Or, in my husband’s case, after they’ve searched every beach on the Island for the perfect whelk shell. There’s no hurry here. It takes some adjusting but in the end, it feels really, really, good.
   I’m finding a few paradoxes here. For instance, there are people moving here from all over the place and they come here not exactly sure how they’ll pay their $1,500 a month rent for a studio apartment. All they know is that they want to be here. They really don’t know how they’ll stay here. We’re in the same boat only our rent is higher. We’re not completely sure how it will happen, but as long as our rent is paid we’re happy to stay here.
   It gives us a bit of freedom while at the same time leaves us terrified. We don’t want to leave the Island because of the absolute beauty, the vibe, the warm lobster rolls in Menemsha and the fact that we probably will never have to dress up again. Did I mention that to drive to the grocery store I go down a road that has the open sea on one side and the other side is Sengekontacket Pond? Spell that again twice. Once you’re here you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason to leave.
   I haven’t encountered celebrities to my knowledge. And if I do I already think I’ll feel like most of the year-rounders here. I won’t much care. They would be here for the same reason I’m here. Only difference being they can buy a house. I haven’t met anyone yet who has a disagreement with the view.
   The people who live here year round are pretty darn cool. They wave. They strike up conversations at the hardware store. They wear rain boots with “dress pants.” If they own dress pants. They tell you where to buy fish and how to cook it. They feed the hungry and they make sure everybody knows where the food pantry is. There’s not a lot of celebrity in feeding the poor and making sure kids get some Christmas presents when their mom is a waitress and dad works at the gas station. Sure the president comes here to relax but when the snow piles up and all you have for supper is the community dinner at the church up the street, it’s good to know your neighbor’s got your back. I think the view is amazing but the people might be even more so.

    Except for some places in Edgartown, we don’t have to wear green pants. You don’t have to prove who you are on Martha’s Vineyard. Island people don’t have to dress like peacocks. - Art Buchwald


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