Summer’s over, and apparently so are the legendary Memorial Day to Labor Day relationships. This annual tale would best be told from the Masterpiece Theater arm chair; dear viewer, they burn more brightly. At least on the prescribed timeline they start and end with fireworks. I learned on a crisp September morning that those who had the audacity to break the rules, by lasting an extra week, had no such fanfare at the finale.
I digress, and I need to get back to a different kind of pyromania for just a moment to set the scene.
After burning a big fat hole in my wallet at the West Hampton Beach Farmer’s Market, I took its torched remains on a stroll through the center of town while shamelessly schlepping around a battered tote overflowing with golden apples, forest green cucumbers, and deeply red late summer tomatoes. Glancing into the boutiques, I couldn’t help but wonder if, for that price, the sweaters were handwoven by fairies riding unicorns.
Thankfully, it doesn’t matter where you are, you can always afford a cup of coffee and a black and white cookie. I settled at a table in the middle of the busy West Hampton Beach Bakery and started munching on the preferred vanilla half. With cheeks full of muffin textured cookie, I sat behind a pair of sunglasses like a chipmunk and looked over my produce to survey the crowd. There were the locals dropping in with intention of picking up known baked goods. Many had obviously been running that morning or, like me, they were toting around bags from the market. And then there were the determined tourists. The ones who hadn’t gotten the Labor Day end of summer message. Looking around, I couldn’t spot anything pumpkin spice so how were they to know? These migratory animals were hung over and wearing pastel Lacoste polo shirts making them visible on the distant horizon like a buoy. They were the ones to watch. At 1:00 on NBC you can tune into Days of Our Lives, or you can just spend a Saturday morning eavesdropping at this bakery. The couple to my right had obviously broken up the night before, but they were rehashing the terms of the agreement which included making the best out of what time remained in their south of Montauk Highway rental. It’s too bad they didn’t realize it wasn’t going to last forever before they decided to buy matching Nantucket t-shirts. The guy at the table to my left lamented, to a woman who was no longer listening, that he could no longer continue the relationship because he felt he couldn’t be in anything but a good mood around her parents since it was their beach house. While he fixated on his bum deal, he played with his phone in such a way that, by the time I got to the chocolate side of my cookie, I presumed he was swiping his way through a new Tinder profile. Yes, the season of love in the Hamptons is done and there is always next year. A lot of tears fell on already salty Birkenstocks and Toms at the bakery that morning. I guess at least if you get dumped in a bakery you can just reach for a warm jelly donut that is most likely more lovely than your summer love anyway.
The crowd thinned, and I gathered my bags. Well, remains of my black and white cookie, I guess we are in this for the long haul. I had to take a slug of coffee to keep from laughing out loud. Going into the Hamptons, even after Labor Day, is like being on safari while my Friday evening trip to the Center Moriches farmer’s market had produced nothing but pears.