Living in the Hamptons
By Julia Leef Hi. My name is Julia, and I live in theHamptons. Now, I’m sure you’ve got a lot of questions for me, so I’ll do my best to answer them as best I can.
No, I’m not rich. No, I don’t live in a big fancy mansion by the beach. Yes, a lot of famous people have houses out here, but I haven’t had many celebrity-sightings myself (though pretty much everyone I know has seen Alec Baldwin at some point). Yes, the roads are a nightmare during the summer. I say ‘coffee,’ not ‘cah-fee.’ It’s pronounced ‘ci-ti-ot.’
Oh how I wish I was exaggerating, but sadly, these are the FAQs I get whenever I mention my hometown,Southampton. I remember one conversation I had a few years ago with someone at a college I was visiting (which, funnily enough, ended up being the one I enrolled in a year later). It went something like this:
“So where are you from?”
“I live inSouthampton.”
“Wait, you mean theHamptons? So that means you’re rich, right?”
Nowadays, and mostly because of that incident (during which the guy repeatedly insisted that I, being from the Hamptons, must therefore be rich), I just tell people I’m from Long Island. That way, I usually only get the question about the accent. You know, the whole ‘If you’re from Long Islanddoes that mean you have an accent?’ bit. I don’t know, I’ve been talking to you for the past fifteen minutes so does it sound like I have an accent to you?
Well, it doesn’t annoy me as much as it used to. Actually, I kind of find the stereotypes amusing now, like an inside joke between all the year-round residents. I’m sure some of you have heard of Royal Pains? That show about a concierge doctor who treats the rich and famous people of the Hamptons? It portrays the lives of people with giant mansions, oodles of cash, and the free time and resources to throw dozens of parties the size of Kate and William’s wedding reception. Not that those crowds don’t exist, but the way the show makes it out, that’s how everyone around here lives. We’re a bit more than just the rich and beautiful, you know.
My family and I like to play ‘spot what’s wrong with this picture’ whenever we watch Royal Pains. Even people who aren’t familiar with the show might remember the film crew that came toSouthampton last April to shoot a scene involving a Jitney crash outsideAgawamPark. My brother and I took particular pleasure in pointing out all the little inaccuracies of that scene (for example, a Hampton Jitney with elbow- and leg-room). I’ve yet to spot a single local on that show (other than our esteemed Mayor of Southampton, who had a special guest appearance at the aforementioned bus crash), but I still watch it, partly for the joy of making fun of it and partly in the hopes of catching those rare shots that actually show parts of eastern Long Island instead of Huntington.
Because even though the stereotypes and assumptions sometimes drive me crazy, I still love living in theHamptons. I love our beaches, even when they’re overcrowded with tourists sporting beach cabanas instead of the regular chair and umbrella. I love all the towns from Westhampton to Montauk, despite the terrifying prices on display (I once saw a dress marked at one million as a joke–I think the actual price was only about half that). I love going to the movies in Hampton Bays, catching a show atBay StreetinSag Harbor, and yelling at the idiots who swerve in front of me in the middle of rush hour traffic onMontauk Highway. I love driving downDune Roadand admiring the architecturally stunning mansions I’ll never be able to dream of affording (even if Calvin Klein did knock down my favorite one). I love getting ice cream inEast Hampton, playing mini-golf in Montauk, my inability to get a cell phone signal inNorth Sea, and the fact that no matter where I am there always seems to be deer around. I love the hectic summers and the quiet winters. I love being a local fromSouthampton.