The Innocence of Pretentiousness


We’re all in the car heading out for our first weekend at the new house.  Our SUV is a comfy cocoon of materialism.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 are playing Angry Birds and Cut the Rope on separate iPads in the back seat and traffic is moving well. My wife is about levitate out of her seat from the excitement of having an escape from the sites and smells of lower Manhattan.  During the summer it’s almost sacrilege to be spotted in city on the weekend. It’s is like hanging out on campus during spring break week. We are joining a time honored migration, where Manhattanites,  like frenzied salmon, return upstream to the spawning ground.  Better termed the “wanting grounds”, this is the place where every latte, spin class, fresh bagel, tee time, beach parking sticker and lawn care professional are hotly contested for and relaxation is a euphemism for in-close social knife fighting. Thing 2 asks, “How long to the Hamptons.”  I cringe that a four-year-old even knows the “H-word”.  I’ve tried to train them to speak with a tone of understatement about the new pad by saying “we’re going to the beach house” or “we’re headed out east this weekend” My wife, being from Australia, sees no logic in not being specific about where we’re actually going. “Quit bloody confusing them!  When we go to visit your dad in Houston we don’t say we’re headed out west do we?”  I hate it when she’s right like that.  It’s that same feeling I get when she orders for me at a restaurant.  When she does that, I usually contradict her right in front of the waiter and rashly order something I don’t want just to retain my dignity.  Then I sit and mope quietly over a nice plate of  lima beans and boiled tripe.

Wait! I feel a list coming on!

Things that help men retain their manhood:
1. Alway pee standing up no matter who it wakes up at 2am
2.Come home after wife has gone to bed at least once a quarter
3. Follow some type of sport other than bowling or ice skating
4. Always sleep if wife is driving
5. Negotiate all monetary terms with nanny
6. Always keep a $100 bill in your wallet
7.  Never let your wife put her arm around your shoulder like a dude at a dinner party
8. Never learn which of your wife’s undergarments can go in the dyer
9.  Never call your wife from work more than three times in one day.

And finally…. Never take period pain medication in a pinch if you can’t find Tylenol

Back to the kids.  We pull up at the house and take them straight to the back yard.  It’s like dropping two domesticated chimps into the middle of the Congo.  Thing 1 puts her hands on the grass as if it’s moon dust.  Thing 2 cries as a quail darts out from some native growth on the perimeter.  These girls have what I call “an irrational fear of nature”.  They can hail a cab on the westside highway and probably know the street value of an ounce of weed in Time Square but expose them to the tiniest bug and they totally wig out.  I’ve got my hands full here.  I sit down on the deck and google “best camping spots in Long Island.”

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