A Sign of Respect for Both Visitors and Locals Alike

By Linda Frank

It’s not uncommon for people of a certain age to gravitate from the “frozen tundra” of Wisconsin and similar northern homelands to warm sunny “climes,” like Palm Springs, in the wintertime.

They’re called “snowbirds” because they fly away from that white stuff. Although I qualify for the demographic, I reject the stereotype that life in Palm Springs is one long round of golf and a daily decision about where to eat dinner. In fact, this is a desert oasis where all age groups can enjoy an abundance of outdoor, cultural and commercial offerings.

And, for me this year, it’s a place to retreat while researching and developing a fourth novel. My protagonist character is a journalist who stumbles into situations that lead her to uncover fictional mysteries steeped in historical fact and relevance. Being a writer residing even temporarily in Palm Springs puts me in historical good company, because such authors as Truman Capote and Ray Bradbury, among many others, lived and worked here.

I’ve visited here frequently since I was in my 20s, a-hefty-fraction-of-a-century ago. I remember when Louise’s Pantry, now an upscale eatery with bar in Palm Desert, was just a diner counter in downtown Palm Springs with a line around the corner for breakfast seating.

Just as the senior snowbird life can be an unfair stereotype, residents who stereotype visitors aren’t always right either.

Speaking as someone who came here when I was all those years younger, I personally know that most travelers aren’t out to party-party-party to the point of disturbing the peace and tranquility that’s existential to this physically beautiful oasis.

As in most places I’ve visited for short- or long-term stays, respect for local residents and their daily lives is as much a given as visitors’ pleasure in boosting the local economy by taking advantage of what the area has to offer.For my husband and me, the sign that greeted us on the foyer table of our rental house was neither necessary nor resented. Why would we want to threaten our welcome in our vacation neighborhood?           

Why would anyone?