We weekended with friends in the Hamptons, which is the only place you can use “weekend” as a verb. It’s a transitive verb after labor day, but during the summer the traffic is so bad in the Hamptons that it’s an intransitive verb. It’s impossible for non-residents to get around, but Laurie and Mark know all the shortcuts when it’s time to go to the beach. You take a left at Sebaponic Road, a right at Quiniponack Road, then a left at Ponaponac Road and then a right at Quagaquonic. Then you have to cut across some guy’s lawn, but it’s an easement so everybody does it. There is even more money in the Hamptons than there is traffic, so why doesn’t somebody build a monorail? Since it’s a monorail you only have to build one of them, and it stops everywhere you need to go. It comes to our street to pick us up, but we’re not ready yet, so it has to wait until we finish making the sandwiches. When you bring a sandwich to the beach, you find out how it got that name. Then the monorail goes to the CVS (we forgot sunscreen, but all they have is banana and coconut, I wish somebody would invent a new flavor), then stops at the deli (everyone else gets fresh fruit but what they really want is potato chips; I get potato chips but what I really want is Kit Kat bars), goes across that guy’s lawn and dumps us off at the beach right near the ice cream truck.
I get a dirty look from the ice cream guy, who can sense that I don’t live there and have probably overstayed my welcome. I give him a dirty look right back to let him know that he’s way off base because I was never welcome in the first place, and I’m also angry that he has such a good parking space. I clearly don’t belong around all that money. To live here you have to know what compote is, you have to be able to afford staff and you may not under any circumstances drive a Dodge Dart. I don’t have a staff but I sure could use one. I need a separate professional for each job I have around the house. I’d like a catbox specialist who really knows the scoop. I’m going to need my own weed guy, and also someone to pluck all the unwanted plants out of the garden. I’ll hire a trash technician to take out the garbage, and perhaps he can figure out how it got in here in the first place. I make a mental note to pick up more W-9 forms when we get back to town.
Surprisingly, as we’re driving about the back roads there aren’t very many people around. There are a lot of deer though, there’s probably some kind of Deer Fest going on this weekend. There’s one in front of me with kind of a deer-in-the-headlights look, and when I turn around there’s another one in back of us with a deer-in-the-taillights look. It’s hard to see out the back window, because Laurie has parking permits for every beach in the Hamptons. Life is too short not to, but deciding which beach to go to is time-consuming. One has nicer sand, but the waves are dangerous. Another one has no parking, but a really nice bathroom. The other one is close by, but it doesn’t have any dangerous waves.
Isn’t that Billy Joel’s house? Yes, and he bought it from Madonna who got it from Alec Baldwin. Who purchased it from Billy Joel. I wonder who owns that house over there, it’s huge. Laurie says it belongs to a hedge fund guy. Makes sense, because if you look at it from the street all you can see is a 40-foot hedge. Hedge fund guys like a lot of privacy so you don’t ask too many questions about how they got all that money. I know it’s not from human trafficking, because no one who lives in the Hamptons would ever do anything to add to the traffic. However, if you look at the houses from Google Earth you can see everything! One guy has a maze built out of shrubbery, and it looks like one of Madonna’s dancers has been caught in there for quite some time. Here’s a house that has a moat to prevent people from accidentally falling into the lake and drowning. Another guy has had the entire state of Rhode Island installed into his back yard.
I’m not moving out here until I can afford to live on a compound. I’m not sure what that is but I know it involves at least one molecule of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen. I’d like my own tennis court, but indoors, so no one from outside can see that I can’t hold my serve. I’d put in a 40-foot hedge at net so no one from inside can see that I can’t hold my serve either. Security is an important consideration. I’m so tired of Kate Beckinsale wandering over in her bikini asking me to put sunscreen on her. And Martha Stewart always waving her cupcakes in my face. And here comes Seinfeld again to argue with me about the size of my heliport. I’ll need a concrete wall like the one that used to be in Berlin, but tasteful, with a concrete gate. You can only get in if you know the secret password, which is the name of my cat plus whatever year it is. Ironically my cat has been way more useful as a password than he’s been as a pet.
We stop at the market in town to pick up some stuff for dinner. I walk around the Hamptons pointing and saying, “I think that’s Rick Melén’s house, but he hardly ever comes here. He lives in a beautiful mansion, you know, but he’s a few molecules short of a compound.” I have a cardboard cutout of me sunbathing au naturel that can only be seen from above by Google Earth, so if you really want to see my house be careful what you can’t un-see.
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