Memorial Day Weekend. County Road 39 or Route 27 or Sunrise Highway is clogged beginning at Hampton Bays and funneling into Southampton where the highway ends at the Lobster Inn, bumper to bumper all the way; it is the initiation of the summer season, the end of normalcy as we know it, the incursion of festive celebrants, the advent of blatant conspicuous consumption on a monumental level.
We stay at home in the summer whenever possible, off the roads, out of the stores. I shop late at night or at the crack of dawn, before the assault begins. Now you must take a ticket from a machine at the mouth of the parking lot before you enter, and then you drive around and around looking for a spot, as rare as hen’s teeth. If the little ticket floats off of the windshield in a whiff of summer breeze, a waiting constable will quickly issue a summons for violation of town statute which incurs a costly fee in lieu of wasted time fighting it. Hoards of couples and trios of festive excited young women in trendy dress, coiffed and made up to the enth degree to look casual, dressed in the most de rigeur of provocative alluring fashion descend like locusts ready to decimate every thing in their path, now they are shopping for the necessities of entertainment and festivity, their hopes and dreams of romance and good times a brightly burning flame at their brittle cores. They no longer talk through every activity non stop to celphones seemingly attached to their heads, but instead are ticatacking perpetually, text messaging all and even sundry about each and every movement that they make, comment on everything they see, list their plans and activities ad naseum.
It is a new and different way of life, here, which we love because of the well regulated beauty of the area, and the pristine and well appointed nature of our environs. We pay the price, willingly, and allow ourselves the additional privilege of grumbling about it all. But in the old days, this weekend as every holiday was an occasion for the family to convene for a long visit. Vast pots of incredible varieties of food were prepared and consumed; barbecued ribs and chicken, burgers and hot dogs and salads and fresh bread and side dishes, multicolored striated glass bowls of salsa, guacamole and sour cream called out to tostitos, strawberry shortcake sat patiently on the sideboard for the gluttony to abate. Grown children came with their own babies and toddlers, friends joined the crowd. There was music that was drowned out by the loud hoots and screams of joy and monumental splashes issuing from the pool as people jumped and were pushed and just splashed around. What I remember most is the smiles, smiles on every face except for those that were not evident for the laughter that overwhelmed them. Happy days.
Now I am a pariah, the more so for telling my story and daring to put it into print for the world to see, the seemingly most unforgivable crime of all. I have refused to knuckle under, to slink away, to end my life, to just lie down and die. They, known to the world at large as the forgivers and forgetters as they have quietly accepted as one of the holy tenets of their new faith, offer me no leniency, because I have committed the most unforgivable sin of all, I have defended myself from the lies and misinformation that I know has influenced them all, caused this rift between us. And yet, they are so certain that what they believe is true, that they show me no compassion in their defense of their misinformation. That was why I needed to tell it all. And their response is not to hear me out and consider my words, but to mindlessly attack full blast, full steam ahead, to go for the kill. I think this is a bit excessive, but it is what it is.
Strangely enough, somehow I have survived even this, come out the other side free from pain, accepting of whatever is and will be. It has not been easy, but I have learned some valuable lessons about life and love and the malevolence of people with agendas.
I just think silently, what a shame for them.