Twice this year I’ve been on cold beaches in knee-heigh boots. Both times digging into the sand with Alistair by my side, trying to take selfies with our faces to the sun. Every time they turn out with our head and shoulders dark; the beach the star of the show.
It was Easter Sunday. To refresh your memory from last week, Alistair's two friends invited us to stay with them at their waterfront home in Orient, N.Y. for the weekend. They have the most gorgeous beach house I've ever been in, which they've designed in a modern, minimalist style. To borrow the phrase from a friend, it was pure "lifestyle porn" -- the Smeg fridge and oven range! Vertical slats! The matte black rain shower and subway tile! It was like being inserted into AD magazine. I was so jealous my ears burned red hot to the touch.
Saturday we did a hike to Orient Point and on Sunday Alistair’s friends took us to an Easter Egg hunt with their kids. Then we decided to pick up garbage at the beach.
“The kids hunted for eggs and the adults hunted for trash,” I said jokingly. My dad’s company organized beach cleanups for PR to purposes when I was a kid. We once had our photos in the paper holding up bags of trash. No one knew we went to a catered lunch at a private club and swam afterwards—the real reason anyone went in the first place. I was long overdue for a "real" beach cleanup.
This beach was rocky compared to the long Gulf Coast stretches I cleaned as a child. To cross it completely you needed to climb up boulders covered in garbage: single sneakers, busted sails and Bud Light cans. The water was more green and clear than at my favorite beach (Ditch Plains). The tide was low with no sand in sight just smooth pebbles in green, black and pink. “This is the ocean floor,” I said.
At one point we all climbed up the highest rock and sat to look at the horizon. This is what indie films are made of: New friends and old friends being silent and contemplative on moody beaches in the winter.
Alistair and I got into our rental car and I looked briefly at my phone. A random Instagram user sent me a video singing a song about me and my blog (this blog!).
“Oh my god, oh my god,” I kept saying as we got closer to the house. I showed everyone and we laughed at the Internet and how random it was.
In the late afternoon Alistair and I agreed to drive to Greenport to get supplies and wine for dinner. My heart fluttered at the thought of going to IGA, the same spot where I buy my booze and snacks in Montauk, because everything that reminds me of Montauk makes me smile. The store was closed, but Alistair wanted to park anyway and see main street.
Down by the water we paused to watch a ferry depart for Shelter Island. A bee landed on my neck and I told Alistair the story of being stung by a bee in Shelter Island years ago.
Back at the house we opened the wine, played a game of Clue and Alistair repurposed a little sauce from Citarella and ground beef into a bolognese with zucchini and carrots borrowed from the neighbors. The sun set. From their windows you could see it sink behind the trees, bouncing off the water. "The Instagram moment," we laughed.
Over dinner, we talked at length about the weather. New York was in the middle of a long winter. Snow was due the next day. We went to bed at 10 pm, and when we woke up, everything was covered. Six inches in total.
After having breakfast and when the snow stopped, we thanked our gracious hosts and headed back to New York. We had an early dinner at an Afghani restaurant.
The rest of the week was slow. Alistair's birthday was Wednesday and I bought him a vase from the MOMA store, and we had dinner at his favorite place, Hanjan. The slow week continued to today, where I write to you from my bedroom. The ceiling work persists in the living room. Already I can see, everything is covered in dust.