Novelist | Singer
Yeah, it’s STILL winter. It’s April 4th today and it snowed. And they’re saying there will be more. I have started to look for reasons to be happy about being here, and decided that there are some delightful aspects of winter here in Gloucester, although m
aybe not as numerous as in summer. Here’s a big one. Everyone knows how to drive these narrow roads.
I believe after living here for 20 years, it’s because of a clever maneuver that I have coined The Gloucester Pull Out. Some people from the outside think it’s rude, but I’ve never been able to figure out why. In taking a left turn from a driveway or side street, we wait for three or four cars, which is reasonable in the winter, and then pull slowly into the coming lane. Eventually, and most times, immediately, cars in the other lane will stop and motion us into the flow of traffic. We’ve all done this thousands of times, and I’m wondering if Gloucester residents realize how brilliant it is. Nobody gets angry, nobody is inconvenienced and often, you receive a smile or a wave. And, the traffic moves like magic.
We need to teach all of our summer visitors this one technique, and perhaps the love and generosity would spread. I know the traffic would move better. Even at my age, I’m still hopeful.
I’ve lived in lots of places before coming to Gloucester (I’ll never leave by the way, except in the winter for as long as possible), and I’ve never seen this used so consistently. Go even a couple of towns away. They don’t do that. You have to wait and wait and wait and then screech your tires and lay rubber just to jump into the far lane without getting side-swiped. Your heart is pounding, horns are blaring, and your day is less pleasant for a short time. Not in Gloucester. We’re cool.
Why does this one phenomenon exist here and nowhere else? I watched the drivers carefully when they motion me ahead or flash their lights. Friendly faces, smiles, waves. You don’t even see that in the Midwest. And Midwesterners smile a lot. I know. I’m from there.
The answer is pretty simple. Gloucester is a community.
Even if you’re not a socialite, you see someone you know every time you leave the house. I love that. It’s small town stuff. It’s community.
Sure, Gloucester is beautiful and all that, has lots of interesting people and many things to do year-round, live music almost every night, art and artists, politics, culture, the harbor, etc., but I think our greatest asset is the strong sense of community. Everyone just takes care of each other. That’s the way life is supposed to be.
Oh, we have our fights. We have our naysayers. There are people who complain about living here. That’s okay. It’s still the best town in the world.
So what do you think? Shall we teach everyone who visits The Gloucester Pull Out? What a world this would be if we actually lived by the words, “After you.”