Being a seasonal Island resident, when I return to my other homeland I am often asked what do people on Martha’s Vineyard do in the winter? My most immediate impulse is to react to this probing inquiry by saying that they, the entire Island population, immediately after the last seasonal resident or tourist has disappeared over the horizon, take off all their clothing, paint their fundaments an intense shade of aqua and indulge in the worship of various forms of fungi.
But since my other homeland is Los Angeles this wouldn’t get as much as a raised eyebrow. So I resort to the truth. They do in winter what they do in summer . . . they disagree. And about so many things. You name it and you will uncover at least two differing opinions on any subject and more often than not more than two. In the interest of bringing some sense of serenity to Martha’s Vineyard for the coming months I have studied a few of the more onerous matters and herein offer some possible solutions.
First: The Garage Mahal. The disputation about what was proposed to be a minor addition to a simple standing structure has grown to gross proportions. Back and forth the disputants go. Tear it down, no, let it stand, burn it, bulldoze the monstrosity, etc. etc. The structure is now three stories high.
I would suggest that it be reduced to two stories but only by removing the middle story. That should satisfy both the “too high” and “not high enough” contingents and lead to an idyllic winter.
Second: The Wind Farm. As contentious as this matter is, it is not solely an Island problem since it falls into the Nimiby (Not In My Immediate Backyard) category. Still it does have Vineyard impact. My suggestion here is to have all the attorneys, from both sides of the struggle, placed in a sealed room for a week or so and all the excess gas and air that they release into the atmosphere be captured in ecologically approved containers. When released the accumulated wind should be sufficient to keep us all off the grid for some time to come.
There are I know other areas of dispute such as “his tree is shedding leaves on my lawn” and “her rooster irks my cat” and of course “one more McMansion and the Island will sink.” I trust that these and others will get you through the crueler months and should they fail you can strip down, get out the aqua paint and bless the mushrooms. Have a grand winter.
Allan Manings, after 40 years of writing and producing for television and films, has retired to Edgartown and California. His column appears regularly in the Gazette.