You learn a lot in the couple of hours spent circulating a petition to stop the rotary at the blinker. (Yes, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission voted not to rescind the order to build, but the will of the people — or many of the people — right now is to refuse to take things lying down. Or maybe we’ll have to take this one lying down, if it comes to that.)

So on my way to Post Office Square in Oak Bluffs last Saturday morning, with the temperature hovering at 48 degrees and a stiff north by northwest­­ — or was it south by southeast, what, did you think I was a meteorologist? — I stopped at DaRosa’s to get some copies made of the petition snail-mailed to me by sister-at-arms, Susanna Sturgis, who circulated her own set in West Tisbury.

I also purchased a snappy purple clipboard to pick up the tones in my wool jumper. No self-respecting Valley Girl starts the revolution without the proper ensemble.

Emily and Tony DaRosa signed the petition, although their dad, Tony Sr., coming out of hiding from his back office, took one look at me and the purple clipboard and hung an ambulatory U-turn. Meanwhile, the DaRosa girls encouraged a young man to also sign. “Nah, I like the idea of a rotary,” he said. I told him I wasn’t going to argue about it. I was there to collect signatures of true believers whose hoards, I believed, were legion.

I scooped up John Hancocks from retailers along the way, then suddenly found myself standing in the square, my dog at my side, purple clipboard in hand, my voice cracking like a seventh grader’s as I called out, “Um, anybody have any problem with the roundabout?”

“The what?”

It was necessary to say it twice. Soon I learned from a bright, retired lady in an orange-and-gray wool jacket that roundabout was too charming a term — so English, so Puss in Bootsy, so “stop in for a pint at the next Irish pub-ish.” “It’s a rotary,” she said. “That’s a word that lets you know what kind of steel-and-concrete monstrosity we’ll be getting.”

Someone else reminded me that whenever we allow the state to foot the bill, it also dictates style. Hence those white blobs down at the bottom of Circuit which, reports still confirm this, continue to be visible from the Hubble telescope.

I learned to guess with fair accuracy which people would swoop in to grab the pen and which would refuse. Those who refused tended to dress in sports caps and plain sweatshirts, like Michael Moore’s standard gear (though they hardly shared his politics). “I like the idea of a rotary,” some replied, although fellow Vineyarders argued, “You only need it for two weeks out of the year!”

Some people suggested that instead of a rotary, we should bite the bullet and put in a stoplight. (For those who maintain there never has been a set of lights on the Vineyard, David Medeiros of Phillips Hardware refutes that claim. According to David, although he was born sometime later in Oak Bluffs, there once stood a set of lights at the bottom of Circuit where the visitors’ booth sits today.

Other people argued for a summer cop for a couple of hours daily at the intersection. Others hinted darkly at business interests — certain captains of industry fixing to buy land around the perimeter of the rotary and stud it with the usual highway-friendly outlets. Still others entertained wild, conspiracy theories, such as the Walmart corporation slipping money to key commissioners to set the groundwork for, heavens-to-Betsy, box stores.

Every time something big, bad, ugly and un-Vineyard has been allowed to slip through the cracks of our own innate sense of aesthetics, such as the bathhouse down on the O.B. harbor that squats like a smudge on the hitherto perfect bowl of twinkling water, we find it’s a thousand times harder — impossible, in fact — to undo it.

And we know the $1.6 million tab will rise even higher, because that’s what tabs do. Sure, the state will pay for much of it, but you know a bunch of bills will land in our rickety, impoverished laps. Don’t we need other things first? Folks, I’ve already mentioned our loss of an events planner at the library, but couldn’t we also use an animal control officer back on the payroll?

Last night my dog was attacked by a big grumbly pooch already known to have a temper. Now, an animal control officer would be keeping track, and would never allow its owners to say with a sigh, “Oh, he got out? He didn’t bite your dog, did he?”

Yes, he bit my dog! We got home, I cleaned his bloody chest, wrapped a towel around him, wept with my arms around his limp torso and spent the night with him on the couch awaiting our vet’s call this morning.

These times are turning some of us into activists. I’ll be heading out for the next selectmen’s meeting. Normally by the 19th line item, I’m chewing my leg, coyote-style, to get free, but I’ll stand in the queue, hold up my pages of signatures against the rotary and beg for the re-installation of a couple of essential services.

And here comes better news: This Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the folks at the Trinity Parish Hall will be hosting the annual Holiday Fair. The roster of items for sale includes attic treasures, Advent calendars, jewelry, gifts, bric-a-brac and fresh-baked goods. Lunch, consisting of sandwiches, clam chowder, desserts, coffee, tea and cold drinks, will be available