AUTHOR NOTE: This is posting admittedly late due to technical difficulties. I hope it is still enjoyable. Unfortunately I didn’t take pics of the NYC tornados.
Last week at this time, Hurricane Earl was due to wreak some havoc on the East End of Long Island (among other far easterly locales). It was never supposed to make landfall or affect the area as a Category 1 Hurricane or higher, but according to most of the computer models, Earl was certainly forecasted to cause some major Tropical Storm-level nastiness at the start of an ever-important summer holiday weekend: high winds, storm surge, downed branches, and some sideways rain with a dose of local flooding in low-lying areas—at the very least.
The clouds gathered and Friday morning the skies opened up, letting loose buckets of rain over the course of ten minutes. German-engineered windshield wipers frantically flapped back and forth on luxury SUVs and people on foot and bicycles ran for cover under the inadequate doorways of high-end boutiques. The rain stopped as abruptly as it started. We held our breath, waiting for the Big One to begin in earnest.
Well, maybe not nothing. A little rain. A lot of rough surf and rip tides. Followed by some annoying wind that made sitting on the beach downright uncomfortable if not impossible on Saturday and Sunday.
Considering what was supposed to happen, that’s all pretty good, right?
For some reason, people seemed disappointed that the storm never materialized. Perhaps it was because the collective need for drama was not satisfied. Maybe it was because it felt like we were gypped; we were not given what we had been promised for nearly a week and now we had to figure out what were we going to do with all those batteries and candles. Or maybe it was because we can’t stand it when people (in this case meteorologists, who by the way, are human) are wrong, even if those people are ostensibly trying to predict the future. (What if it was your job to do that every day? Professional gamblers aside, of course.) We’ll accept nothing less than 100% accuracy—be it from hair stylists or doctors.
People probably should’ve been relieved that they didn’t experience any major property damage or extended electricity loss or really suffer in any way shape or form. But instead they seemed more pissed than anything. It was like their favorite TV show had been cancelled and there was nothing else to watch except a marathon of The Real Housewives of New Jersey (which they’d already seen before—twice).
Though I too felt a level of disappointment, I’d venture to say it was for different reasons than my fellow East Enders. Hurricanes happen to figure prominently in my new in-progress novel—as does hurricane-chasing meteorologists—so in some sense, I hit the jackpot as one of my Weather Channel meteorologist buddies, Mike Seidel, happened to be stationed out in Montauk to do live shots pre, during and post (ha!) storm. His proximity meant I could zip east down Route 27 at will to see him and the field producing team in action both on Wednesday and on Friday. (I think I lost ten pounds of water weight sitting in the satellite truck for 45 minutes since the A/C was no match for the blistering heat outside on Wednesday afternoon. But man was I in heaven!)
Having a front row seat at the weather event of the year (much better than front row at Fashion Week, IMHO) was an amazing opportunity, one that I had been hoping to have for the past three summers. Though the waves off Montauk provided a dramatic backdrop, the lack of real honest-to-goodness, wild-and-woolly weather that I could experience first-hand alongside my hurricane chaser and personal meteorological tour guide—all in the name of research, mind you, not a deep-seated death wish—left me forlorn to say the least. I wouldn’t feel the wind whipping at 50 mph or above, nearly knocking me over as they did to Jim Cantore in Hatteras, or getting sand blasted like Stephanie Abrams in Kill Devil Hills. I wouldn’t have to wade through knee-deep floodwaters or retreat to higher ground to avoid the storm surge or ride out the storm sitting in front of a propped up mattress to keep the water from flooding my motel room.
As they say, close but no cigar.
Guess I’ll have to rely on my imagination—and maybe a few more interviews with those who have actually toughed out hurricanes gone by—to get me there.
I can’t believe the “July 4th Weekend Triathlon” (LoveHampton, Chapter 8) is here already! June flew by and even though I’m staying in the Hamptons for the rest of the summer, I have a feeling that July and August are going to follow suit.
I’ve always wanted to do this–live out here “full time”–and I finally got all my ducks in a row this summer so I could swing it. Many of my friends have visions of me lying on the beach “phoning it in” via my new CrackBerry (a birthday present from my parents, thanks M&D!) but in truth, I am working. Hard. Though in the spirit of full disclosure, I am doing so in my bathing suit on the deck of my aforementioned house.
So far, the “Summer of LoveHampton” has been fun–hectic, busy, at moments stressful, gas-guzzling, but fun. My new favorite spot is the Surf Lodge in Montauk even though the night I went the sky was threatening a storm that never made good on its threat, so we didn’t get to eat there or see the sunset. Two weekends ago I attended the Love Heals at Luna Farm charity event (as featured in Chapter 6) with a big group of friends. While I didn’t run into any exes or get trashed on cheap champage, I did run into myself once or twice, so to speak, until I finally just chilled out and danced the rest of the night away. There may have been some post-party text-messaging and cold pizza, but nothing too dramatic. (I’ve decided to leave those kinds of shenanigans up to Miller and the gang.) And over the past week, I’ve gotten to celebrate my birthday with friends and family (you must check out Eartha Kitt at Cafe Carlyle this summer in NYC–she is my new hero) and plan to continue doing so through the holiday weekend when my nephew, niece and sister-in-law arrive from London at last.
I always say “Being in the Hamptons is what you make it” and it’s certainly true again for me this summer, as I balance work, friends, family, yoga, beach and something that has eluded me thus far, relaxation, but in a way, right now, that’s the thing I need the least. I love being busy and productive, connecting with the people I care about, driving past the corn fields with my mix CDs blasting, doing yoga almost every day and having an iced coffee klatch with my friend K. afterwards, and still keeping all of the balls that comprise my life in the air.
Now, if I could just figure out how to keep the sand out of my laptop keyboard, I’d be golden.
I’m in love.
It’s only been one week and two weekends (but who’s counting). However, I can safely say that this is the real deal.
Maybe it will only last for three months like (too) many summer loves do, but I can already tell that every minute is going to be wonderful.
Who is the lucky recipient of my affections? My new summer house.
Much like Goldilocks enjoyed on all of her third tries, this house is just right for me and my two housemates, S. and D. It’s equidistant between East Hampton and Sag Harbor, two of my favorite villages: East Hampton for its unabashed flashiness and Sag Harbor for its staunch yet admirable hold on its whaling town heritage.
From the very first night in the house, I slept like a rock. That could’ve been due more to the fact that sirens weren’t screaming by my window every ten minutes as is the case when I’m home in NYC than the deliciously comfortable bed in the “green” room upstairs. But whatever the reason, I felt right at home from the minute I walked in the door. And the absolute stillness outside save for a gentle breeze didn’t hurt, that’s for sure.
After that first restful night, the pace sped up and the rest of Memorial Day Weekend whizzed by in a bit of a blur, albeit a fun, hectic, exhilarating blur. A few highlights:
- My friend K. and I fell right back into our daily summer yoga-followed-by-coffee routine and took two classes with our favorite East End yoga teacher. Classes were so packed that people had to be turned away, but those who made it in gamely dealt with the mat-to-mat proximity–or at least pretended to.
- Saturday afternoon I taped an interview for Hamptons Plum TV about LoveHampton—my first TV appearance ever—which started airing this past weekend.
- My good friends hosted a party at their beautiful home in Bridgehampton on Saturday night. I thought it was going to be an intimate birthday celebration for my friend R., but it turned out to be a 150-people clambake on their gorgeous lawn. It was the exact perfect way to kick off the summer of 2008, even though it was a tad too chilly to be wearing strappy platform sandals. (It took the whole ride home with the heater in my car blasting to get my toes to warm up but so worth it.)
- On Sunday, I went in to BookHampton in Sag Harbor, where I’ll be giving a reading in July, and saw that they had a stack of my books on the front table—perfectly positioned for the casual book browser looking for a fun beach read. Then I had lunch at a friend’s house in Bridgehampton, stopped to visit the Saturday night party hosts for a “Thorough Party Post-Mortem” and then met the gang for dinner and a little dancing at Madame Tong’s in Southampton. (No, I didn’t see Tori Miller there.)
I definitely ran myself ragged during Memorial Day Weekend (hey, I thought this weekend-at-the-beach thing was supposed to be relaxing?), but I was having way too much fun to stop, except for maybe a couple of hours on Monday afternoon when the tank finally ran out of gas–literally and figuratively! By the time I got home on Monday night, it was all I could do to drop my bags at the door and fall into bed at 9:30. Despite the relentless sound of trucks barreling down Second Avenue, I slept like a rock. Funny, that.