Indeed, President Obama will be vacationing on MV later this month. We know this partly because a minor fire at Blue Heron Farm, where the Obamas stay, was covered in the Huffington Post. Trust me, this was not the news event of the week on Martha’s Vineyard. We also know it because my friend who lives not far from Blue Heron Farm reports that her cell phone service has improved — something that happened in the run-up to the last two presidential visits. QED: the president is coming back.
What this means is that Martha’s Vineyard is about to appear on the psychic maps of people who rarely think about the place otherwise. This includes the national and regional press corps. When President Clinton came to call in 1993, the Clintons spent most of their time at their hard-to-reach vacation compound near the island’s south shore. Thus the national and regional press corps had a lot of time to kill and (I’m guessing) editors at home pressing them to file stories. They swarmed around interviewing “locals” — loosely defined, because most of them didn’t realize that most year-round residents over the age of 14 or so do not spend their summer days at the beach. I vaguely recognized the place they were writing about, but it sure wasn’t the Martha’s Vineyard I live on.
What I have been thinking is that President Obama probably appears on the psychic map of every sentient U.S. resident who’s old enough to ingest news in any form, and that what we think we know about the man is probably as distorted, incomplete, or downright wrong as what most off-islanders think they know about Martha’s Vineyard.