Security: A barefoot man precedes me into my room at the Inn. He hands me a key and says, “You can lock if you want, but there’s no need. Nobody does.”
Suspense: At The Ocracoke Coffee Company, a bearded barrista says, “I thought I’d try something different today and open on time.” The half dozen locals who’ve been chatting on the porch laugh. On time, not on time, whatever. A little girl is first in line. She wonders aloud if they’ve baked her favorite muffins.
Contingency: A maintenance outage leaves the entire island without power for most of the afternoon. A hand-written note in the window at Zillie’s gourmet grocery reads “Closed until 5 p.m. or whenever they turn the power back on.”
Interruption: Mallards cross the tiny main drag downtown. They’re in no special hurry. (And I use the term “downtown” loosely.) A golf cart stops to let them pass.
A crab backed away from me this afternoon as I stepped up beside him on the beach. He’d been watching the tide come in, I guess, thinking peaceful crab thoughts that I interrupted. His brief reaction to my arrival was the only sign of stress that I’ve observed here thus far.