I made the mistake yesterday of driving to Bridgehampton - on a Sunday - in the late afternoon. Need I say more?
As soon as I left my house and turned onto 27 I knew I had made a major error in judgement so I quickly adjusted my route and headed west via Route 114 through "The Harbor". My next tactical error came when I turned off Scuttlehole Road and onto Butter Lane. Well, truth be told I made a mistake there - no tactics ever came into play. I was intending to turn onto Mitchell but the traffic was so heavy that I could not slow down enough to see the street sign and turned onto the wrong one. Anyway, mistake made, and I figured "No problem - I'll adjust at the end of the road". Well of course this was the day that the school on Butter Lane was having a big fundraising event so when I approached that area of the street both sides of the little country road were lined with parked cars, there were cars double-parked letting people off, and luxury buses idled by the road waiting for some big star to make their quick escape, I suppose.
Slowly I worked my way along the road and past the parking mess, eventually coming to the railroad overpass where I deftly snaked my way right and headed toward the K-Mart plaza. Back to Mitchell Road, past the tents being prepared for the Hampton Classic, and into the parking lot I went.
Now I passed TJ's, and then the pharmacy, and I got as far as about the third lane of the parking lot when I spotted a few available spaces and turned on my left turn signal to turn into lane number 3. Naturally, as I did so a lady in a large SUV suddenly appeared in that lane, heading toward me and signaling that she wanted to turn left. Since she was taking up more than half the lane of travel, I waited and gestured for her to come on out so that I could enter. I could not figure out why she did not respond to me until yet another SUV (have I mentioned yet that I hate SUVs?) suddenly whizzed by me on my left, passing me and proceeding down the travel lane - no doubt late for an importnat date at King Kullen or something. I could have touched him had I wanted to. OK, one jerk has gone by so now I wave her on again. Still no response. I look into my side mirror and there is a huge black pick-up truck, the kind that sits so high I cannot imagine ever trying to get anything out of the bed without having to climb up into it, and the kid driving it is signaling that he is going to pass me on the left! Here I am with my left turn signal on and people are passing me-on the left-because they do not want to wait all of 10 seconds for this lady to pull out! I was so angry that I did something very uncharacteristic of me and gestured to him through my window. (No, not that kind of gesture! I could never be that uncharacteristic!) So there I am waving my arms at him and yelling "Could you please let the lady pull out here???" and finally he stops, to my left about half way down the length of my little car, and waits. She quickly pulls out, I just as quickly turn left and right into a parking spot before this guy even gets past the parking lane.
By this time I've got no desire to even complete my errand anymore, but hey - I'm here so I go in, shop and head home.
Now one would think that this may be the end of my story but no, I still had to get home. This time I headed toward Route 27 because now I would be facing the long line of traffic and could simply pity them all the way home, feeling superior in my "localness" and knowing I do not have to commute anywhere. But - I decided to turn off onto the southern route anyway and try to enjoy the scenery on the way home. That was no doubt my best decision of the day because suddenly I was driving by farmhouses and hedges and some of the most beautiful sights to be seen out on the East End. Suddenly I could feel my shoulders relax and the tips of my mouth turn back up again as I breezed along Waiscott Main Street, past the Osborn farm, and then the colorful farm stand on the corner of Beach Lane.
Ah, yes...life is good. There are blue skies, green fields, and warm people on these back roads, and I was once again at home, feeling chivalrous and content to be here and not driving back to my apartment in metropolis or some other place that I would not reach for a couple hours or more.
East Hampton is the place for me. And all the rude drivers and silly celebrity events and clogged roads cannot dissuade me from loving it. Because the back roads are still here to remind me that this is a place like no other. And the only one I want to live in!