Ian Frazier's essay was very humorous and simple to read. He effectively draws in the reader by sharing an embarrassing moment experienced that establishes trust and credibility. I think anyone can relate to their own amateur experiences in which they relied on How-To or DIY books and/or advice from "the professionals" (and how they at one point or another cursed the figure in the black and white photo inside the cover for the personal disasters their recommendations have caused). It is funny how much faith and trustworthiness we are sometimes willing to put into advice from those situated in environments we unfamiliar with.
I too have experienced the subtle cold shoulder from locals (especially in small towns) when it comes to visiting new territory and inquiring about their attractions. It is almost as if habitants feel threatened by tourists roaming about their land and that they think we throw off the town’s equilibrium they have established. When comparing this to our general attitude towards tourists on our turf in Victoria, while we may not be so obvious in our attitudes or body language, I think we may behave in similar ways. I reflected on some of the times I spent downtown in the summer, and the random conversations that were overheard between Victorians stopped on the street and curious tourists. Several times their answers were wrong, so wrong; but I didn’t correct them. Maybe they genuinely had the wrong perception. Maybe they were on their way to that restaurant themselves and didn’t want competition. Maybe they were just having fun. Nonetheless, the tourists turned on their heels and booked it in the direction that was suggested without question, and without stopping to ask more locals to cross-reference information.
It is really such a boggling concept Frazier introduces. Most of us probably have a tendency to be more skeptical and oppose people we are closer with than we do strangers. At times we verbally question and oppose a teacher’s statement in a lesson, or a friend’s attempt at making a suggestion. When it comes to strangers however, we seem to be more inclined to follow their lead. We have been told by our parents to "question everything" but in a foreign environment we think we are always being given a helping hand. It isn't until we learn for ourselves where the best place on the mountain is to catch the sunset, where the best martinis are served, or where you should go for optimal ocean waves.
Frazier certainly was not joking about those fine establishments owned by Pappy's, Cappy's and Happy's either. These places are ironic: They tend to sell all sorts of goods to serve in your adventures, yet their effectiveness is depleted or unexperienced thanks to owners' poor advice.