Not so long ago I wrote about how local Sonomans are no longer coming downtown, particularly on the weekends. My initial research (admittedly a very modest effort) revealed that local folks shy away from the Plaza because they are intimidated by the hordes of tourists. The tourists, of course, are coming here for the same reason locals (shall we call them pilgrims? pioneers?) came here before them: they're drawn to the warm air, the lovely scenery, the plethora of wineries and restaurants, the historicity, etc. It's sorta like what savvy real estate pros lop under the term "charm" when they calculate what our homes are worth.
You may recall that I argued against intimidation. I argued that there is no us and them. I argued that in the big picture us locals and them tourists are really one extended tribe of happy, warm blooded, sensual consumers. We're all here to enjoy; they (the tourists) are maybe just a little bit late to the party, is all.
Further research (I asked four citizens) suggests that Sonoma is not the most welcoming place for young people to live, that they would rather live in San Francisco or Paris or practically anywhere than here. So young people, as a group, are on the decline. That's the bad news. The good news is that older urbanites are coming here to buy a second home for themselves in the country. These new locals, however, may not be here day in and day out. In fact, they're probably just here on weekends because they still have their old lives back in the city. If I'm right about this, then the tourists you've been complaining about are in reality your new next-door neighbors, you know, that sweet quiet couple you hardly ever run into, Mr. and Mrs. Invisible.
You can rest assured that I'm going to continue my rigorous monitoring of this tectonic shift in our demographics, but for now, I just want everyone to know that, as immortal Pogo used to say, "we have met the enemy and they are us." And one day soon, maybe we'll have them over for dinner.