You know those cartoon traffic jams where four cars are stuck in an intersection and none of them can move because each one is being blocked by another?

Five Corners looked like that a little after midday and I was in the middle of it.

Island Closed smI was coming from Beach Road heading toward Main Street. Another car was coming from Beach Street heading toward Oak Bluffs. The coast looked pretty clear apart from the monster SUV coming in from Lagoon Pond Road and the little sedan coming from the ferry dock, and they’d yield the right of way, wouldn’t they?

Nope. In the next instant the little sedan was blocking me, I was blocking the SUV, the SUV was blocking the car coming from Beach Street, and the car coming from Beach Street was blocking the little sedan. There was a pickup on my tail so I couldn’t back up. The only vehicle that wasn’t blocked fore and aft was the little sedan. She backed up. As I resumed forward motion, I noted the Connecticut plates on her car and vowed that I will make no snotty remarks about Connecticut drivers for the next week.

Since I’d just come from the dentist (the first of three appointments that will result in a new crown on a first molar and a gaping hole in my checkbook), I felt a hankering for ice cream and/or cookies so I stopped at down-island Cronig’s. The parking lot was jammed. I hardly recognized a soul in the store. One of the souls I did recognize was rolling her eyes. “They’ve just come out of nowhere,” she said.

Loose translation: Summer is upon us. So I told her my Five Corners gridlock story. She reciprocated with the story of a woman who called the shop where she works to ask what time they closed. “Five o’clock,” said my friend, which hour was fast approaching. “But I’m in Chilmark!” the caller wailed.

“I don’t care if you’re in Istanbul,” my friend thought but did not say. “We close at five o’clock.”

Martha's vineyardOh yeah, and the ticks are terrible too. They’re always terrible this time of year, the dog (wood) ticks especially, but several friends are swearing that this is the Worst. Year. Ever. Some express surprise that the cold winter we had didn’t do them in. I figured out a long time ago that there’s no such thing as a bad winter for ticks.

In the dentist’s office we talked mostly about ticks. The dentist is relatively new to the island. He doesn’t have a dog. His assistant and I have been here quite a while and both of us hang out with animals. The dentist got a crash course in tick behavior, tick-borne diseases, and tick-prevention products.

There’s more to summer on Martha’s Vineyard than ticks and traffic, but at the moment I can’t remember what.



About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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6 Responses to Infested

  1. Shirley says:

    Good one, Susanna – I have ceased going to VH until after Labor Day. Had my first bad experience last week, and realized the summer has begun – even if the summer weather hasn’t yet…..


  2. Sharon Stewart says:

    I wonder what ticks have to say for themselves. They don’t seem to make a contribution to nature. (And I could say the same thing about mosquitoes.)


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