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Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Point Roberts Story

Last week, I ran into an article from Slate magazine about the strangeness of Point Roberts.  Of course, about once a year, some writer or another discovers that we are up here living our esoteric lives in our deeply peculiar community.  I can't usually disagree with them; many of us are probably here because we are ourselves somewhat peculiar and thus we don't stand out so much in a 5-square-mile place defined by peculiarity.  Nevertheless, I rarely feel so out of touch with the regular world as when, reading this Slate article, the author, underlining our deprivations, observed that we had neither a dentist, a veterinarian, nor a shoe store.  All true, certainly, but I wouldn't have imagined the absence of a shoe store as being in any of the top 100 spots of things we are missing.  Does the writer not know about Zappos or Amazon?  Does the writer not notice that we have at least five places where packages from the rest of the US are regularly delivered.  It is the presence of five package delivery stores (as well as five gas stations) that is strange, not the absence of a shoe store.

But, one cannot argue with the strangeness.  Point Roberts is a community that is always in search of an economic development plan.  If only we had tourists and something for the tourists to buy; if only it was summer all the time.

On the other hand, a true story.  Tuesday tends to be a bad border day; i.e., there's a lot of traffic coming in (and then eventually going out).  This, I am told, is because the package stores get their major Fedex, etc., deliveries on Monday, after a non-delivery weekend, and the packages are then processed on Monday and ready for delivery on Tuesday.  So Tuesday is the beginning of the package delivery week.  And thus the Canadians are here en masse for their packages, their shoes et al.

So, it is Tuesday.  Two friends and I meet at Brewster's for lunch, but Brewster's is closed on Tuesday, it turns out.  So we go cross border for lunch, in the process running into an unusually long line because the border dudes are making a unusually careful inspection of individual cars.  (Later, I'm told they were looking for elephant ivory from Kenya.  Delivered by Fedex?)  We get through the line, we go have lunch in Tsawwassen, we come back to the Point, and then back to Brewster's where one of our cars is still parked.

There, in the parking lot, we see a Canadian car with three guys in it.  They get out and start to amble up onto the porch.  One of us tells them that it's closed today.  "Really?" one guy says.  "If we knocked on the window or something, would they open up, you think?"

"No, because there's nobody there; there are no cars here but yours and ours."
"Right," the guy says.
"Do you know another good place where we can eat?" inquires the second guy.
"There's a coffee shop down the road," offers the third guy.
"No," I say, "that's closed."

My friends and I think.  No, the marina place is closed; no, the golf course isn't still open by 2, probably; South Beach House? Well it's not night time and it's not summer.

"Ahhh," we say, "there's the Shell Station and the grocery store."  Either of which are okay for a gas station place and a grocery store, but maybe not what you had in mind if you were aiming for Brewsters.  "No, there's really no place to eat on Tuesday at 2 pm in Point Roberts."

"Well," says one guy with great sincerity, "Thanks for being so helpful."

What to say to that? "Thanks for being so Canadian that you think that's helpful."  If only I could have directed him to a local shoe store.


West End Bob said...

Love this story, Judy - Thanx!

Sorry for your loss, too . . . .

Unknown said...

Yes, Mondays & Tuesdays are a challenge here, off season at least. However, there's always the golf course eatery for the carnivores.