Sitting in Hamptons’ Traffic on a Tuesday Morning

Written By: Vanessa Pavelock

There are three different Hamptons. There is the locals’ Hamptons, the vacationers’ Hamptons, and finally, the commuter’s Hamptons. In case you didn’t know, the commuters are the poor souls driving with the standstill traffic as you’re driving westward to work. They are the people in constant search of a decent hot meal for less than 10 bucks, a gallon of gas under 2.50, and a cheap bottle of wine to guzzle down once they get home. They are the people who teach your kids, work in the stores you frequent, build and landscape your homes, paint your walls, clean your floors, and patrol your streets. They are hardworking, tired, and often groggy from a long morning sitting in backed up traffic.

Driving (no sitting is the more correct term) in Hamptons’ traffic is always an experience in itself. Your mind wanders in one thousand different directions, you fall asleep at the wheel a few times, you question every aspect of life, you talk to yourself a bit, and you find new ways to keep yourself entertained. I have even gone so far as reading at the wheel. Keep in mind, I’m not driving in Hamptons traffic—I’m sitting. Sitting and thinking.

Perhaps I’ll have time to stop at Hamptons Coffee Company for a hot cup of hazelnut, a copy of Dan’s Paper, a short exchange with a local, or a head nod from a fellow commuter–as if to say I see you with your silver Sentra in the mix of Range Rovers and Buicks and some cliché saying like “remember, money does not buy happiness.” Heh. I’m pretty sure $2.50 just bought this cup of joe.

Perhaps I’ll have time to sip my coffee to the rhythm of the waves, dangle my feet off a probably private dock, and watch the sunrise. Maybe I can even enjoy a few refreshing moments alone with the ocean, preparing and awakening myself for the day ahead.

Perhaps I’ll take Scuttle Hole, Noyak–better not–David Whites Lane to 7 Ponds Road is the way to go. Are there really 7 Ponds on this road? 1…2…3…I’m still not quite sure, I lost count when I started counting roadkill instead. Deer, possum, bunny, raccoon, chicken, turtle, turkey…poor little guys didn’t stand a chance.

“Twenty-five minutes has been added to your arrival time. You are still on the fastest route.” I wonder how long it would take to bike to work. Hm. What’s the train schedule like? Can mopeds drive on the side of the road?

I can’t wait until my lunch break. What should I do? Visit Tennessee Williams’ summer getaway? Say a quick hello to Frank O’Hara? Maybe I’ll pick up a new poetry collection from Harbor Books and faint every time I see a man on a motorcycle. I SWEAR it really was the Piano Man that one time.

“You are in a standstill.” Remind me why I use this app. Remind me why I took this job. How in God’s name can it take 2 hours to drive 36 miles? Where did all these people even come from? I. HATE. EVERYTHING.

Oh. I love this song.

There comes a time when every Hamptons commuter realizes all you can do is put on your shades, blast “New York State of Mind” and enjoy the ride. Maybe even take the long way to work and enjoy the panoramic views along Noyak. Perhaps you’ll have just enough time to only be 5 minutes late to work on a Tuesday morning in the Hamptons. Perhaps it was all worth it. I’m in a Hamptons state of mind.