Dear Montauk: A Love Letter
For as long as I can remember I could not live without you. You were in my veins and all I desired was to be in you and on you–smell, feel and see you. You felt like home. You were my home even after long periods of absence. Though now, after only a two year separation, I no longer feel entirely comfortable in your summertime presence. Have I changed so much? Have you changed? But the change in a place – a location and such a dramatic change in such a short period of time–can it be for the betterment of that place? I don’t know. All I know is that you use to have character and an authentic and genuine vibe. Now the vibe seems different.
I was over the moon recently regarding our last encounter wherein I still saw some glimpses of the real you. But I will not speak of them for fear that whatever or whoever has happened to you will invade all of you like some blob from an old B-rated movie. I long for the days I could go to your Ditch Plains beach and be greeted by a fellow surfer, a beachcomber with a friendly hello and not those who now look past you with no response at all. Not only is common courtesy and respect gone from some of those that sit on your benches, but some type of world has descended upon that part of you of which I want no part. Some locals and transplants refer to them as so-called “hipsters” with their fedoras and/or their I-Phones permanently stuck to their ear even while they place an order in an establishment and/or while driving their cars. But, I believe, there is nothing hip about them. Maybe they are the genetically privileged from the states and abroad; you always did draw a famous and beautiful crowd. But now everyone acts as if they are someone famous. If they are, I never heard of them. All I know from my experience is that these are the same people who are canine waste perpetrators while back at home in their concrete neighborhoods and talk during Ray LaMontagne and Beth Orton performances.
Oh my, and the crunching noise of impacted heavy metal is a sound that you did not use to constantly make. Next thing you know, you will have your first stop light – maybe right there at the 7-11 that I thought you would never have. While you are at it you will probably build one of those golden arches restaurants right on the beach like they do in that state whose drivers do not usually use their turn signals when visiting the east end. All I know is that I use to be able to walk your beaches with no particular issue in mind but afterward have the answer and/or decision to something that I was facing at the time. Now, I’m preoccupied picking up the trash left behind by someone who does not truly care about you.
My dear Montauk, who I affectionately use to refer to as the mother’s womb because of the complete sense of security and beauty you bring to your inhabitants, I apologize for my cynical and angry tone. I am just so sad and depressed over how you seem to have changed. I want the old you back so badly. You may have always been nutty, but it was in a good way; now it seems to tip toward the pathological during the summer months. I have this nagging feeling that you may not know what is best for you. I believe that maybe all of the materialism and sense of entitlement shown by some of your visitors and what appear to be tax write-offs by corporations and developers are clouding your judgment. If that is what is happening, it can be corrected.
I have had relationships since you wherein I projected what I wanted to see onto the object of my affection. Hopefully, that is all there is to my current perception of you. That you really have not changed at all. Just my perception of you has changed. Carl G. Fisher, an earlier admirer of yours, as you know some 80 plus years ago wanted to develop you into a “Miami of the north.” If he were alive today he may approve of the renovation of a former family style motel in the town center into a boutique hotel like something you can find in South Beach. But you definitely do not seem like the distinguished colony he had in mind. What do I know? All I know is that we cannot change anyone but ourselves. Therefore, I will look within myself and see what I can do to help you, if you want help. Regardless, I feel privileged for having known you with–what I believe was, soul–and I hope and pray you find your way back. You produced and enchanted so many incredible people, some no longer in our physical world, so many awesome and spectacular moments and, of course, scenery for which I will always be grateful. Thank you.
Forever in love but living by the tide elsewhere for now.