How to Be a Cape Cod Tourist

Wikimedia Commons

1. Prepare your vehicle.

The first step is to strap your shit to your vehicle. Think bicycles, kayaks, lawn chairs, beach umbrellas, and the like. Doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as it’s attached to the exterior of your vehicle. Maybe on the roof. Maybe on the rear. Get creative! Bonus points if the shit obstructs the view of surrounding vehicles.

The next step in vehicle prep is to make sure your bumper stickers are attached. The acceptable stickers are those oval white ones containing any of the following: CC, MV, ACK, and The Black Dog logo. If you’re especially clever, you’ll have a Cape Cod Tunnel Permit sticker, too, to demonstrate how funny you are.

2. Coordinate your arrival with the other tourists.

You want to be sure you all arrive at the same time. Once you’re on the Cape, complain to everyone about the traffic as if you did not contribute to the problem.

3. Disregard signage.

Interpret signs as mere suggestions and make your own choices anyway. Be bold! For example, if you see an office building with a sign in front stating, “Employees only, not open to public”, you should totally feel okay about walking in to ask if you can use the bathroom. I mean, you just drove all that way, and there was traffic, and so you’re not really intruding or anything — you deserve to have access to a bathroom.

Another sign you may encounter is this one:

pixabay (CC0)

For those unfamiliar, this sign means “Do not make a left turn here”. But, again, it’s totally fine to just ignore this “suggestion”. You had no way of anticipating the presence of this sign. So now that you’re at this intersection and you reallllly want to make a left turn instead of making a right and then turning around in a parking lot like any decent person, go ahead and just make the left. No worries. You can hold up traffic and everyone else will wait for you to complete your “illegal” turn. Even though making a left at this intersection is really difficult if not impossible, hence the presence of the sign to begin with, it’s okay. Do you.

Oooh, another great sign you can disregard is the one at the coffee shop that suggests customers not talk on their cell phone whilst at the counter. That sign is clearly intended for the customers who are not on important phone calls. If you are on an important call (which you are) just yap away. Make it known that you’re very important by yapping loudly.

4. Always drive too fast. Except when you drive too slow.

If you’re running late or just feeling punchy, drive fast. If you’re late for the ferry, drive super fast. Get all up on the bumper of the car in front of you so they know you need to go fast.

Otherwise, drive slow. Like at least 15 mph below the speed limit slow. Because it’s Cape Cod and it’s just so relaxed here. If you are approaching a lighthouse, scenic vista, or cranberry bog, drive even slower to bask in the beauty. Soak it all in. Veryyyy, veryyyy slowly.

5. Dress appropriately.

Closed-toe shoes must be Sperry’s. It’s the law. Whenever possible, have a cardigan tied around your shoulders. This is not the law but it’s highly recommended. Polo shirts and plaids are excellent choices, as well. Don’t forget the Wayfarers!

6. Arrive with a tan.

Tourists should always arrive with a tan, as if you’ve been vacationing for weeks already and maybe, in fact, you have been. Did you just return from Cabo? Fantastic. Everyone loves a warm, summery glow. This helps distinguish you from the vitamin D deficient “locals” (if they even really exist) beginning to emerge from winter hibernation. Be careful and don’t approach them unexpectedly. Sometimes they bite.

7. Rent bicycles!

You should especially rent a bicycle if you haven’t ridden one since you were a child. It’ll be so fun! Ride on the bike path and be all wobbly and go extra slow and drive on the wrong side of the path. If you really wanna go balls to the wall in the fun department, rent a tandem bicycle. Your spouse will be thrilled.

8. Get a pedicure.

Cape Cod is a great place to get a pedicure, since you’ll be on the beach and all. So go get one. Then review the salon on Yelp. Be sure to state in your review that the salon was “cute” but you can get a better pedicure for half the price in New York.

9. Fully occupy the sidewalk.

If there are four people in your group, walk in a line stretching across the width of the sidewalk. Occupy that whole damn sidewalk. It’s yours now. Others shall not pass. Also, walk very slowly.

10. Gather your posse at the beach.

When you go to the beach, it’s vital that you go with a posse of no fewer than six people. It’s highly recommended that your posse also include a minimum of three children, one Grandma, a pop-up tent, two large coolers, four boogie boards, an assortment of buckets, a portable iPhone charger, and enough food for you all to survive on for a minimum of three days.

If you arrive at the beach and see a woman alone, sunbathing on a towel with headphones in, you should set up your posse right next to her. She’ll definitely be a nice, quiet beach-neighbor.

11. Go to the supermarket.

At some point during your trip, you’ll need to go to the supermarket so you can barbecue at your VRBO. This is another activity you must coordinate with the other tourists. MAKE SURE YOU ALL GO AT EXACTLY THE SAME TIME. This is very important. I can’t explain why exactly, but you must all be in the supermarket at the same time. There’s safety in numbers. While you’re there, make sure you buy all the jalapeño peppers. Every last one. Leave no jalapeño behind.

12. Come back next year. Forever.

If there’s one thing Cape Cod tourists are, it’s persistent. You must return. Year after year after year after year. Tell everyone you see exactly how long you’ve been summering on the Cape and which town is your town of choice. Correct people who say they are “in” the Cape. Those silly people. They don’t know better yet. But with a little hard work and consistency, they too will someday learn how to be a master Cape Cod tourist.

Mystery woman by day. Writer by night. Hopeless yet unrelenting 24–7. I like to contemplate: love, sex, feelings, quantum physics, and pop music lyrics.

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