I’m From New Jersey

Written By: Gene Rackovitch

My wife Harriet was about to leave the store where she rents space from Lydia of Lydia’s Antiques in Greenport when the last of the customers approached.  One was a local man, the other a handsome young man in his mid thirties, a stranger; he dressed well, but nothing exceptional; in fact the stripe shirt he wore hung loosely out of his black trousers. The shirt had a look of the forties. Though well groomed there seemed to be a look of confusion about him. Harriet and Lydia were talking to the local customer.

The stranger stopped at the door turned around and said to no one in particular, “Where am I?”

Lydia and Harriet looked at each other and Lydia said, “Why you’re in Lydia’s Antiques.”

“No, No, I have to ask you a question.”

Lydia looked at Harriet with a knowing smile and said. “Oh my, this sounds serious”        Harriet answered, “I’m sure it is.”

The three locals stood there with broad smiles on their faces.

“I’m from New Jersey is this the Hamptons?”

The seriousness of the man’s expression dispelled doubt that the man was joking. Still the three locals Harriet, Lydia and the buyer looked at each other quizzically. It had to be a joke.

“No,” said Lydia, “you’re in Greenport.”

With out loosing the lost expression he said, “Oh,”

Harriet answered, “This is the North Fork, the Hampton’s are in the South Fork of Long Island.”

“Jeez, I thought I was in the Hamptons, what is the North Fork? I really wanted to go to the Hamptons.”

The local customer though ready to leave, decided to stay and see what the outcome would be with this Jerseyite. He was generally not one to add his two cents to a conversation, but felt he had to say something to put the Jersey man at ease.

“What do you want to go to the Hamptons for; we have a lot of interesting things to see on the North Fork. There’s Greenport, we have a lot of old Historical buildings here and Mitchell Park and the Carousel. The Marina is full at this time of year. We have a lot of wineries, and a great many farm stands in the North Fork. Our restaurants are fine; sea food is fresh from local fishermen. Just walk around and check out our galleries. We’ve got some fancy artists here.”

“Well,” said the Jersyite, “I still want to go to the Hamptons. I’d like to see the luxury; ya know the million dollar houses and the rest of the luxury there. I want to see the beaches and all that stuff too. I like luxury!”

“Well,” Harriet intoned, “even if you go there you won’t see the houses, their hidden by hedges a million years old and I expect if you decide to go in they probably would send the dogs out after you.” She turned to Lydia and smiled.

“Yeah,” the Jersyite said, “But I like luxury. How do I get there?”

“Well,” Lydia added, “You can take the ferry out of Greenport, and get the other ferry out of Shelter Island, that will take you to Sag Harbor.”

“Nah, I wanna go to the Hamptons.”

“Well, you’ll be on the South Fork, and that will lead you to the Hamptons.”

“Does it cost any money, the ferry?

A quick, “Yes, it can be expensive,” came from Harriet.

“Nah, I don’t want to pay. I just want to get there, is there any other way?”

“You can go back to Riverhead and swing back to the south fork from there,” Harriet let him know.

“But I want to go to the Hamptons.”

By now a little bit of frustration is settling in on the locals.

“Well,” said the customer, “it’s kinda late now; even if you go there you’ll probably have no place to stay. It’s real crowded over there. Even here in Greenport at this time of year there is no place to stay.

“Nah, I ain’t gonna stay there!! Ah Jeez, I really wanted to see the luxury. I like luxury.” Carrying his frustration out the door, he left.

Lydia, went to the door, she let the local out, and turned to Harriet raised her arms in the air above her head and said, “We get ‘em all, don’t we,” and bid her a good night.

And so off went our Jersyite never to be heard from again on the North fork, his need for luxury denied on that Saturday June tenth in the year of our lord 2015.