It’s early-morning and I’m floating on a surfboard in the middle of a fog bank. I can no longer see the shore or the opulent beach houses beyond the dunes. I was using a white post modern one as a visual marker but the soup has thickened and now I’m completely decoupled from terra firma. It’s a weird feeling. I could be drifting down to Fire Island for all I know but I don’t hear any Lady GaGa remixes coming from the beach so I think I’m ok. Waves come in from nowhere like phantoms and quickly disappear. I think for a surfer this is pretty close to what heaven or hell looks like, plus or minus a bikini clad girl to watch your every surf move from the beach. After catching a few I start to think about Shark Week on Discovery Channel and the fact that Jaws was set in Long Island somewhere. There’s not a breath of wind and the water is grey and murky. I start to imagine things from a shark’s perspective, looking up at a big silhouetted oval with four bit-sized protrusions flailing around. I can’t get back to land quick enough. This begins what will become a decathlon of activities at constitutes Memorial Day weekend and the commencement of summer in the Hamptons . I get back to the house and Thing 1 and Thing 2 are slathered up with SPF 3,000 and wearing hats that could be easily turned upside down to serve as nice planters for a hibiscus tree. They’re raring to go. Thing 2 is holding a pail and shovel and obviously looking to do major landscaping at the high tide line. I peel off my wetsuit, which requires a lot of patience, persistence and the ability to dislocate several key joints at will. Before I know it we’re back at the beach. I spent the prior weekend picking the perfect chairs for this environment. I settled on “The Big Kahuna” for two reasons. One, it has holders for a cell phone, a beer and a news paper. Two, it can hold up to 250 lbs of displaced weight to accommodate even the most rotund clam bake invitee. The kids begin to collect lots of rocks. We have roughly 5 thousand of them in the garage and we’ve only been coming out for a month of weekends. Maybe we can build a replica of the Berlin Wall. It could go along highway 27 which is the mythical divider used by real estate agents to garner up to 30% more in perceptual home value. It’s the first question anybody will ask you when you say you have a house in the Hampton’s. “Is it north or south?” There’s qualifying shorthand for everything out here, even down to beach chairs. “Tommy Bahama or The Big Kahuna?” The Big Kahuna far superior but I digress.
The fog has burned off and the surf still looks pretty good, so I slither back into my damp wetsuit and head out again. Ten minutes later I glance back at the shore. Thing 1 and 2 and the nanny I brought along for coverage are frantically waving brightly colored Ralph Lauren beach towels in the air. I conclude they’ve seen a fin and for the second time in one day I get spooked from the water. They meet me at the shore line. Not a shark but something equally as dire. Apparently I’ve lost track of time and now only have ten minutes to get to the Soul Cycle spin class my wife booked for us in Bridge Hampton. My phone has been vibrating one arm off the Big Kahuna with my wife’s frantic calls because getting a bike at this high profile flash mob is harder to score than court side at a Nicks game. I’m now barreling down one of many hedge lined streets like an idiot in my maroon Chevy Cruze. This vehicle is not even on the charts when rating one’s monetary standing out here but it’s light and quick and gives me a jump on larger imported SUV’s at intersections. The class is starting in 2 minutes and once again I find myself on the wrong side of highway 27. I commit about 4 moving violations and finally skid to a stop inside the gravel parking lot. Hooray! I’m just in time to saddle up and prepare to go nowhere on a stationary bike. I think there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. The barn it’s held in is as hot as a native american sweat lodge and perfectly quaffed socialites are already starting to melt like those Germans in Raiders of the Lost Arch. We’re on the back row, which in the high profile fitness world is like being north of highway 27. I’m ok with it because my wife and I are playing grab ass and trying to knock each other off the beat. We finish the class, mingle a bit and on the way home pass a house that has a pee stained mattress out front with a sign on it that says “Free”. This aberration really puts the whole weekend into perspective for me. I pull up close and ask my wife to snap a photo. I’m overwhelmed by the honestly and full disclosure. It’s a rare quality to find in a place where holding your cards close is at a premium. It’s like, “Hey, this mattress has a big, ugly, circular pee stain on it. We’re not trying to hide it. If you need a free bed to sleep in and don’t think you’ll have nightmares about R. Kelly peeing on you, then this is the bed for you!” The long weekend comes to a close with a quick dash to the beach for our last “rock run”. I’m now thinking the Great Wall of China.