Sunday, August 11, 2002

Some friends took me to the Hamptons this past weekend to recover from and get my mind off having been the victim of a violent attack by a stranger in mid-town Manhattan in broad daylight. (Read prior post for the story.)

If you have never been, it is definitely worth the two and a half or three, four or even sometimes five hour drive out there. It's best to drive yourself, who wants to be stuck on a big dumb bus with a stupid name like "the Jitney" for that long? I think "Jitney" is the English people's word for crap. As in, "Blimey! Am I the only one who has to take a jitney?" Just drive your overpriced, overly extravagant, unreasonably shiny import car East on the LIE to exit 70, then look for and follow the caravan of SUV's, Mercedes, and vintage sports cars. Make sure you are driving a nice car, rent one if you have to, or else four or five drivers who actually ARE in nice cars will gang up on you and veer you off a cliff. There are no Pintos allowed in the Hamptons. En route, I saw a Lamborghini with a bumper sticker that said, "My other car is a Maserati."

There are plenty of fancy places to spend money in the Hamptons. If you have money, can get money, are made of money, know people who have and like to share their money, your parents own a money factory, or you find a sizeable sum of money in your pocket by chance, you're bound to have a great time. Fancy pants restaurants and boutiques, spas, rich people places, fru fru salons, ritzy flashy fancy doodles (that's something rich people are into), even expensive-looking dogs line the streets and are hidden in unsuspecting corners and along dark, curvy roads. I heard that the local golf course in Amagansett has an 8 year waiting list and a $40,000 a year membership fee that you even have to pay while you wait. Who said you can't find ways to spend money in the Hamptons? No one.

While all my friends got settled in and lounged in the summer share affectionately referred to as the 'gray cube' because that's what it is, I went jogging to sweat out my worries. It's really nice to go jogging around there because there is very little traffic, big challenging hills and scenic, curvy roads that lead to more hills and other curvy roads. Plus, there are lots of pretty houses to look at that you will never get to see the insides of and many fancy cars to see that you will never get to ride in. I think this way because I am what you might call an 'optimist.' It's just the way I am, don't try to change me.

Later that evening, my friends and I ate dinner at an authentic lobster shanty in Montauk on Saturday night. We waited for about an hour for a table, but it was fun, because we brought a bunch of booze, we sat on the rocks, got very drunk and waited for our name to be called. The food was good and simple. I had a 'surf and turf' - that's lobster and steak if you happen to be one of those people who doesn't eat meat or seafood. The place was employed by a bunch of Russian chicks who like to drink while they're working, then talk about you in Russian and laugh at you while you're just trying to order a friggin' dessert, even if you aren't fat or ugly.

Late Saturday night we went to the beach, made a bonfire and watched the Persied Meteor Showers. I only saw two shooting stars, but I kept falling asleep because I'd been drinking wine AND beer, and was full of hot butter and meat. My friends claimed to have seen anywhere between three and five, but all my friends are well-documented drug and alcohol abusers, so either they were seeing shooting stars or the stars were leaving trails before their eyes.

Sunday, we went to Napeague beach and sprawled out under the sun on towels, on sarongs and in chairs, merely feet away from where we'd been burning wood just hours before. The beach is free to park at, but only if you have a beach permit on your car. If you don't have a permit, that's okay, just park anyway and a nice officer will be glad to place an expensive ticket on your car where a beach permit should have been. The day was beautiful, albeit the ocean was in a foul mood. Every time I stepped in past mid-thigh, a huge wave would come and confront me with a whole bunch of attitude, then whisper something softly that sounded like a cross between "sweesh swoosh" and "get out." So I didn't swim too much, instead I worked on my tan, played travel chess and lost twice to my friend Ed, and started reading a book by Judy Blume called "Summer Sisters" because no one ever took the time to tell me I'm too old to still be reading Judy Blume.

After the beach, we went back to the gray cube and showered, packed up and headed for home. On the way, we stopped at the lovely Amagansett Farmer's Market where I bought a delicious Caprese Sandwich and a bag of grapes. They have the best produce there and really delicious, fresh food. I promise. They aren't paying me to write this. We ate on the benches at the market, then got on the road. We had a pretty uneventful trip home, with just a little bit of congestion. My friends mostly slept and lounged while I sang every word to every CD in my CD player - The Grateful Dead's American Beauty, Wyclef Jean's The Carnival, John Lennon's Imagine, The Beatles White Album, Disc 1, Crosby Stills Nash and Young's So Far, and I forget the last one.

So that was my trip to the Hamptons.

As soon as we pulled out of the Mid-town tunnel, I turned left for 2nd Ave and waited for the light to turn green. The second it turned green the car behind me began furiously jamming on the horn. I didn't get mad. I just accepted it. That's what they do here. "That's how we know we're home."

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