Hissy Fit

There are some things about our visitors to the Lowcountry that make me say, "Come on tourists. Really?"
But before I go into my hissy fit, I want to take a moment to thank the kind and respectful people that visit the Lowcountry. We are all aware that you make a positive impact on our economy, help keep our businesses thriving, and allow us to continually make improvements to our small piece of paradise. So with that said, please know that the rest of this article is with all due respect. I am actually referring to the tourists that even tourists call tourists. You know.the ones that give everyone else a bad rap.

First up- Alligators

People. This is NOT Disney. The animals that you see and encounter in the Lowcountry are Real. Wild. Animals. Alligators, while admittedly fascinating, are beasts of nature. They are predators that eat other animals, including dogs, small deer, and given the opportunity, with or without provocation, they are not opposed to tasting a human now and then. They don't even require salt and pepper.

So here's why I bring this to your attention: I was leaving Sea Pines and saw a crowd gathered. I knew immediately there was an alligator. Tourists were huddled up like they had just sighted Elvis leaving the Squat and Gobble. With cameras drawn, there they stood approximately 8-10 feet away from what I would consider a dangerous-sized gator-about 8 or 9 feet. By the way, they are ALL dangerous. Did you know that gators run as fast as 30 miles per hour and can climb fences? Can you? If not, you might consider a telephoto lens for your camera over an up close and personal encounter that can go awry any minute.

Have you seen the signs that read, DO NOT FEED THE ALLIGATORS? That means you. Here's what happens: you throw the alligator a potato chip or hot dog because you know that is what they eat in the wild. He sees you do it-they have extremely good eyesight. He eats it. He likes it. He wants more. Sounds like a typical American so far, right? Here's where the difference lies. He comes after your ass for more. He's not like your toddler that you appease with a sing-song "all gone". He now looks at you-and every other human- as a "wow this is definitely easier and much more delicious than a deer" food factory. Are you prepared for that? Sadly, feeding the gator will make them aggressive towards humans, which always leads to not only their demise, but possibly to some poor human's, as well.

I like to compare gawking at alligators with gawking at rattlesnakes. Oh, wait; no one ever gawks at a rattlesnake. That's because they will bite you. Well, duh.so will alligators. But here's the deal. The snake will strike and try to get away. Usually, the hospital has anti-venom serum at the ready. Alligators don't just bite, they chomp down, take hold, and can take you for a little swim called the death roll-much more terrifying than the Tower of Terror! Really, if you must gawk, choose a tourist's calf-high socks.now those are really terrifying.


Second on my list is driving.

The rules of the road here are the same as everywhere. But a refresher course never hurts:
. No right turns from the left lane and no left turns from the right lane. These tend to cause accidents, which ruin vacations. Come on. You know better. If you happen to find that you need to make a turn and can't get over, just pass your road, turn around and come back to it. Remember, this is the slow-country. The road will wait on you to return.
. Don't back up in your lane. In case you forgot, lanes were built for traffic to go one way. This keeps chaos at bay, you see. Maybe traffic only goes one way in a lane where you live, too. We're kind of anal about this rule. So I see a car backing down Palmetto Bay Road. Are they crazy? I hope so. Why else would someone back down busy Palmetto Bay Road? Oh, I understand now. You missed your turn into Red Fish. Well then, by all means, the solution would certainly be to come to a complete stop and start to back up the 100 feet you just overshot. I mean gosh, why should you drive the 30 more feet to actually legally and safely turn around?

 . Which brings me to my last complaint about "tourists who even tourists call tourists" drivers. Please don't stop at random in the middle of the road. You see, we expect you to stop at traffic lights and stop signs; what we don't expect is for you to lock up your brakes when you realize you just passed Walmart. And I know you consider backing up (see above).but don't be "that guy!" Besides, why are you even going to Walmart? Don't you have a Walmart back home where you live? Aren't they all the same? Go to Piggly Wiggly in Coligny Plaza.now there's local flavor!


Third and finally, the traffic circles.

(Northerners refer to them as round-a-bouts)

Here's the deal.STAY IN YOUR LANE! The town has done a good job dummy-proofing the main circle near Sea Pines, where you have no choice but to stay in your lane, but the rest of our circles, and there are many, allow free-will. The good news is this, if you stay in your lane, and somehow realize too late that you need to get off, all you have to do is go around the circle again. I mean, you can see your whole darn route with one small sweeping glance. So, should you need to change lanes while on the circle, the key is looking over your shoulder to see if another car is in the lane you need to get into. If there is a car, don't panic and get over anyway-remember, wrecky-poo equals yucky-poo. Just stay in your lane until you can get over. If you end up having to go around the circle a few times, just have fun with it. Do like Chevy Chase in European Vacation, when he gets stuck on the famous London round-a-bout, call out "Big Ben" and "Parliament" as you go around. Heck, as teens, we used to do that for fun!

With these tips, which I have graciously shared with you in a loving and respectful manner, you will be well on your way to enjoying a beautiful Lowcountry/Island vacation. And I just have one thing to say to those NOT in the category of "tourists who even tourists call tourists".Y'all come back now, ya hear!

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