A Petition for Long Island Secession
I hate summer.
Before you call me cynical, understand that my unwavering distaste comes from a sincere sense of loyalty for my home. I hate summer. Not because I’ve had too many Chipotle burritos to even expect an ounce of all of dis’ to fit into last year’s bikini, but mostly because for three unbearable and ruthless months, a dangerous predator invades the peace and calm of the East End: the New Yorker. This particular species is renowned for its vast knowledge of complex subway systems, its rather fascinating ability to hail down a cab, and most importantly, an adoration for all things caffeine. But for three merciless months, New Yorkers leave it all behind for their neighbor to the east—a neighbor, I might add, for whom they feel particularly possessive.
I have a cousin from New York. In her element, she is a force of nature. Whenever my family visits, she’s adamant about taking me out to all the trendiest restaurants and exclusive gallery openings. Honestly, I’d be happy just hiding away in their bathroom until any semblance of a family reunion is replaced by childhood grudges and way too much dark liquor. But I digress…
My cousin and all her city comrades have what I like to call “New Yorker-ness.” (My apologies for the lack in creativity.) New Yorkers are a special breed. They have evolved from typical human beings into serious power-walkers with an underdeveloped sense of smell for all things pollution and urine. They’ve mastered the “purse-bump.” (For all of you who don’t know, the purse-bump is one of the most insidious of all New Yorker insults. Ever walk down a busy Manhattan street? Ever been shoved 20,000 feet by a woman’s oversized bag, only to have her ignore you mercilessly following the aforementioned abuse? Oh, you look at her, and wonder how she wouldn’t think to apologize. But she’s a New Yawker. Simply put, she doesn’t care.)
I suppose you could say my cousin has pride of place, especially when that place is one of the most famous cities in all the world. There’s a certain mystique surrounding the lifestyle of New York, but it’s one that I refuse to endure in any capacity, except when I’m in Manhattan.
All in all, New Yorkers are the antithesis of Long Islanders. Maybe that’s why Hampton summers are so appealing to city folk. They want to “get away for a few weeks.” Maybe rent a house by the beach and finish that manuscript they started all those years ago. You know, the one that’s been catching dust on their, er, iMacs.
Thing is, they never seem to leave the New Yorker-ness behind. Hampton beaches, in all their glory and serenity, are invaded. And by the end of the summer, the remnants of said invasion are too difficult to bear.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Manhattan. But just as they can spot me, a bonafide suburbian, from a mile away, there’s no missing a New Yorker on vacation in the Hamptons.
So I propose this: secession. We really are just two completely different peoples. Manhattan has its skyscrapers and 42nd street; we have the Montauk Lighthouse and Main Beach.
My cousin will soon be arriving at our lake house. Every year it’s the same: she puts on a bathing suit, splashes around a bit, and takes a few selfies for all her friends back home. Later, she commits to a full day of shopping and a good bar crawl at night. I usually stay home, desperately ignoring the insanity of the fourth of July and the fireworks that ravage the sky.
Last night, I thought about a silent summer and its not-so-silent nature. A quiet, peaceful summer is ocean blue and warm sand in between my toes. It’s the soft breeze of a lakeside nap, lulling me to sleep. It’s the Peconic River and every single paddle through its soft meanders. I thought about all the familiar noises I’ve known for years now; the chirping of both gentle and whacky birds alike, the waking of the night’s hidden critters.
Let’s secede, I say. Let’s break away from all the trampling. Tomorrow, let’s see our little island drift away, into the sea—a quiet home of our own.