Hampton’s Gumball Rally


I’m with the girls getting gas for my impractical off road man toy and thinking about how I’m going to navigate the fresh bagel line at Goldberg’s next door.  It’s like walking on to the floor of the stock exchange during a bull run, where fresh nova and scallion cream cheese are on par with commodities like diamonds, plutonium or Yankee tickets.  I can see already that the parking lot is looking like a gladiator double header at the Coliseum and I fear a confrontation with a 60 year old Soul Cycle devotee that might make me look bad in front of the children.  I start to think about alternatives, like some runny 15 dollar eggs at the Poxabogue golf course greasy spoon or a $8 muffin at Pierre’s overpriced grab and go on Sag Main Rd.  With the turmoil of breakfast choices coming to head, I decide to employ the coping techniques I learned from my online course at the School of Practical Philosophy.  Relaxing my body completely, save the squeezing of the pump handle, I start a meditation that involves deep breathing, a special mantra and clearing of the mind.  In this neutral space I hope to shoo off the chaos of choice and let the right decision just rise to the top.  As my breath rises and falls, my inner voice starts to quite.  Gone are thoughts like, “Crap, that’s getting to be a very big number on the pump” or “I wonder if I have the right parking permit for the Georgica Beach lot?”.

All of the sudden I’m bitch slapped out of bliss by a large crash. I open my eyes and turn around to see that a Mexican housekeeper has rammed the front of her employer’s new Escalade into the iron guard rail protecting the pump.  She’s managed to smash an impressive section of the front right bummer, including the headlights. Glass and pieces of pre-molded body parts are lying everywhere on the pavement.  The SUV is now one with the rail as my mind was one with the universe only moments ago.  I can see her up in the cockpit in a state of shock as her fragile work status passes before her eyes. She looks like a child barely peering over the dash, not like the usual burly, under-employed Uber divers who more commonly captain these tankers.  She starts trying to inch forward, which only makes the grind-fest continue.   I instinctively hold up both hands, palms out,  signifying the international signal for stop.  She takes this as the international sign for “back up” and proceeds to rip the entire front bummer off the vehicle.  Now free, the neutered truck sits idling, holding only 60% of the resale value it held only moments ago. I walk over and give her a sympathetic pat on the shoulder as she climbs down bewildered to inspect the damage. She speaks no English but words are a redundancy at this point.  She knows the score and her eyes tell a woeful story of how the seemingly infinite promise of the American dream can go sideways with one innocent fender bender.   We load the bumper into the back seat and she drives off to face the music, like a dead nanny walking on the fumes of gas she has left in the tank.  Smart money has her on the 12:45 LIRR slow train back to the city.

My blog is by no means a political one but If anyone out there is still thinking about voting Trump to make America great again, please consider that many immigrants contend with far greater hurdles than the Great Wall of Donald to eek out a little bit of dignity in the land of the free.