My first week of August was reserved for two things: parties and real estate envy. Early in the week Alistair invited me to the going-away party for an ambassador. We had raclette on the roof of an art institute in East Village, and ramen afterwards. I knew we were walking into a few busy weeks -- North Fork, Montauk then capped by a week and a half in Switzerland. I wasn't a good dinner partner that night, I was ticking off my errands and whining that everything would not be done.
I was right to worry. I ended up in a Duane Reade at 11:30 pm that same night buying stuff for the weekend away. I packed my weekender with a few outfits and fell into bed at 2 am.
The next day after work Alistair picked me up in a rental car and we headed east to the North Fork. A friend was celebrating her fortieth birthday at her beautiful beachfront home in Orient (where we stayed Easter weekend). But first, we would be seeing other friends on Shelter Island. As we pulled into the lawn of the twelve bedroom, two-winged house, real estate envy, which normally feels like a hot steam, escaped from my ears. (This would continue to happen for at least a few more weeks.)
That night our hosts cooked us dinner on the grill and we talked till midnight about current events and culture. The next morning after breakfast we swam in the heated pool while it drizzled. I took a shower outdoors, then we had lunch at the yacht club.
In the afternoon we took the ferry back to Greenport and checked into the hotel the birthday girl booked for us. My confidence plummeted that night when I changed clothes for the party. I disliked everything I packed and felt quite ugly in the mirror. Alistair had to put up with my grumbles and nerves as we arrived. For me the worst part of parties is the arrival—getting a chair at a table, remembering the names. I was as underdressed as I feared but after the first hour and a drink later, I felt more easy and relaxed. When I grew anxious, I looked to the horizon line and made a comment about the view.
A chef made lobster and corn on the cob on a gigantic grill on the beach. The birthday girl gave a speech and then everyone was handed ice cream cones, and danced on the deck till midnight. I offered to take two of the party guests home, and on our walk to the car, we pointed up at the moon sitting low in the trees.
The next day Alistair and I returned to the city around 4 pm and had dim sum at Tim Ho Wan. That night at my apartment I dropped my overnight bag from the weekend on the bedroom floor. I decided to barely unpack it; I would be going to Montauk the very next weekend.