Outside strip malls, highways, multiplex cinemas, industrial yards, cliche America whizzing past. Inside the man sitting next to me orders me and my roommates where to put our bags that we momentarily placed on the 4th seat between us, “You going to the Hamptons? You don’t want to have your bag in your lap the whole ride, I’ll put it over head.” We assure this chino wearing, golf sweater sporting gentleman that he needn’t be concerned with our laps and our bags. Not your problem, sir.
This is a culture shock. I am going to the Hamptons for Memorial Day Weekend. I felt this a duty to you, dear readers (you few, you happy few) to be as NYcliche as possible my last weekend before I time travel to 1585 and my summer of renaissance. Bag Dude (I’m hoping he peers over my shoulder and sees himself refered to as such) is engrossed in conversation with the woman seated across the isle- apparently they know each other, which fits into this micro Hampton culture cliche perfectly. I’m trespassing in the realm of real-life gossip girls and Charlotte Yorks where everyone knows each other personally or through some easily identified connection that (if all goes right) sound deliciously hoity-toity to 99% of the population.
It’s been fun all week answering the question “Plans this weekend?” “Going to the Hamptons.” It is met with a myriad of responses: “The Hamptons? I thought you were unemployed.” “The Hamptons? Aren’t you fancy” “Hope you run into the Real Housewives!” “Oh I’m so jealous!” “Oh yeah, cool, I’ve been thinking of getting a summer share out there.” (The last spoken by my roommate’s co-worker, clearly trying to impress her.)
I’ve been going to the Hamptons since childhood. I could actually say that, it is fact. But, coming from me, that statement would be entirely misleading. My aunt and uncle, easily top of the list of people I want to be when I grow up, live year round in Southampton. They’re amazing hosts and I’m lucky enough to visit them at least once a year.
Bag Dude has whipped out his top-of-the-line, maximum screen-span MacPowerBook. My little European netbook, its dirty keyboard and dusty screen, cowers with intimidation.
We stick out in this crowd. One roommate is completely zonked out, her mouth open, her head nestled in her duffel bag. The other roommate is pealing a grapefruit- a task that essentially requires a mess- which is perfuming the train car and dripping juice down her shirt. I’m on my not-a-Ipad, eaves dropping, observing my fellow passengers, documenting my experience. We are weirdos on this train. Outsiders.
There’s no wireless on the LIRR, no outlets. My netbook battery gave out at the end of the preceding paragraph. Now I’m on the beach, literally my butt is planted in sand, the ocean infront of me, waves crashing as my sound track.
Some how I’m connected to the “Meadow Beach” wireless networ and squinting at the screen in the brilliant sun that’s making today a perfect Saturday. The waters too cold to go in but it is glorious to just be by the water. Perfect way to spend my last weekend before I head up to the woods on Tuesday. Time is flying- I haven’t packed a thing. But it’s hard to have worries at this time and place. My 80 year old uncle is known to start singing a song from his youth, (ironically) often while washing dishes. Living in a place like this, the didty provides the perfect lyrics for the ocean base line “Heaven I’m in heaven.” For now, I’ll just lay back and relax, dig my toes in the sand and stop squinting at technology in favor of the seaside. Glorious.