By Katharine Lusk Berger
I like to think I’m a comedian, but I’m not. When I try out jokes on my husband he usually mutters something about my day job. Apparently he’s not a comedian either.
When I think of my “official” job title, I’d like it to mimic the professions you see on Reality Television. The American Idol contestant toils away as a Singer/Barista or the Top Chef cook is a Baby Food Maker/Accountant. Following that style, I guess I’m a Marketing Manager/Mom, but I long for a more prestigious title.
What I really want to be is a Hamptons Local.
They say inTexas, you’re not a Texan unless you were born there or married someone who was born there. Even with that logic, my husband’sMerrickupbringing still doesn’t qualify me.
For the record, I’ve lived in the Town ofSouthampton, specifically the hamlet of Speonk, full-time since 2006. As a former weekend warrior, I noticed that the conductors, and many passengers, on the Long Island Railroad seemed to get great pleasure when they announced, “Speonk, next stop, Speonk.” Now I just chuckle when the telemarketers inquire if live in “Sponk” or “Spunk”.
Unfortunately, I still don’t speak “Local”. When we first moved here, I often heard people referring to going “out west”. I thought that was odd, I didn’t know people from theHamptonsreguarly went toColoradoorUtah. I soon discovered that “out west” is really just anywhere west of theHamptons, more like,HuntingtonorPort Washington. Locals also say “up-island” which is a synonym for “out west”, but sadly I can’t seem to make either expression happen for me.
I do know some Local tricks though, like how to navigate the back roads when driving fromEast Hamptonto Westhampton on a summer Sunday. I have the patience to wait for Tumbleweed Tuesday to shop for deep discounts (read: normal prices). I know some cops and how to avoid them chalking my tires. I know some firemen and hope to never need their services. And I have been known to get a free drink or two on Locals Night at the village watering hole.
I don’t have a Local car, but I’m working on it. It seems that if you’re a Local, you really need a pickup truck. You don’t have to been in a career that requires it, but it seems that one day you’ll need it for something (I have yet to be enlightened). If you don’t have a pickup truck, then just an old car will do. It doesn’t really matter what kind of car of it is, as long as it’s old. And you get extra points for beach stickers, the more the better. I’ll take option #2, please.
Speaking of the beach, I am a proficient and prolific beach-goer. I don’t need one of those “Wonder Wheel” carts to drag all of my beach paraphenalia and I am snack bar-averse. I am, however, ashamed to admit that I still get a sunburn at least once a year.
I have come to love St. Patrick’s Day, even though there is not one lick of a shamrock of Irish in our family. I have beaches, restaurants and vineyards that I will happily recommend to friends and tourists, and then they are my secret Local spots that are very closely-guarded.
When I do venture back to the city, I still love it and I miss it often, but I really do consider theHamptonsmy home. It’s not just where I pay my taxes, but where my adult life really began and will continue to grow.
So where does my official job title stand now? I guess technically I’ve been promoted to Marketing Manager/Mom/Writer/Local – of course, depending on who you ask.