MamaBlogger365 – Not Exactly Upper Crust by Loren Christie

Start out with nothing to do and a day off on Long Island and you may find yourself where you don’t belong. For my husband and I, that means we spent the day on a “date” in the Hamptons. What better place to do what we love to do best in public when the kids aren’t with us: look around at people nearby and imagine what they are saying to one another? I thought we were the only ones on Earth who did this for laughs until I saw the movie Date Night.

Unlike the characters played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, my husband and I don’t have to take someone else’s reservation to get a table in the Hamptons with a last name like Christie. We could pretend to be those famous auctioneer Christies, or descendants of Agatha Christie, or perhaps find some thread of relation to the governor of New Jersey before we admit that we are just the ordinary ones from suburbia with three kids and a really round pet dog affectionately named Hell Hound.

I think it’s kind of funny how in the Hamptons a Laundromat becomes a launderette. I’d like to switch the signs in my town for theirs to see if I can jump start our village revitalization. It’s the same Great South Bay and Atlantic Ocean, but there is a whole lot in a name. Personally, I’d rather go to the Dollar Store in my town and get a brand new pair of imitation Crocs than buy someone’s ratty, used pair of pink leather Pradas for $150 in the Hampton’s version of a thrift shop.

Nevertheless, there we were on the lawn of the Parrish Art Museum posing for pictures and cozying up with the only celebrities we could find: a few past Roman Emperors who had been turned into stone. While it has been widely noted by historians that Caligula was an insane tyrant, I’d now like to add “bad kisser” to that ancient record.

Feeling bored, I decided that if we were actually going to fit in then I needed to get my husband a new look. On his days off from work, he’s been wearing the same two pairs of shorts and alternating one button between them so they don’t fall down. Plus, I’ve told him so many times those guys in the Hamptons wear hats that advertise hedge funds, not the state of Vermont missing the “m.” To make matters worse, my significant other will not part with his favorite loafers even though they are so worn that the fronts are cracked open like two mouths ready to gasp for air if his feet become too sweaty.

A good wife recognizes the need for a style intervention, so I picked a posh men’s clothing store and dragged him in as he pointed in horror at the mannequin wearing purple sneakers in the window. However, my attempt to introduce my spouse to the world of haute couture didn’t go well. Let’s just say it would have been easier to put a sweater on Hell Hound then get this man into a pair of canary yellow shorts embroidered with shamrocks.

So I gave up and he decided, as we continued walking down the block, that I needed a new look as well. And I actually would have entertained the idea of letting him buy me a closet full of see-through sarongs, but I knew that if we were to survive a day in the Hamptons, we ordinary suburbanites had to make tough decisions. For instance, what was more important: food or clothing? Since we were already covered, we decided to eat.

One would think that while in the Hamptons, we might take an opportunity to try one of the many fine restaurants, but old habits die hard, and on the road to Sag Harbor, after passing a hawk with road rage and a suicidal wild turkey, we found a little pizza place that resembled the businesses we know and love at home. However, there was pineapple and ham pizza on the menu, which no real Italian-American would ever make.

“It turns out that those pineapples are really chunks of gold,” my husband said, handing me my lunch.

The pizza was about $10 a slice. We each had one and fought over a third, finally compromising by splitting it in half. Then I didn’t want my half after all because I was full and not finished with my can of premium, platinum, unleaded cola. Expensive or not, what really mattered about that meal was that the crust was made right and when it comes to pizza, or marriage, I think that’s what really counts.

Bio: Loren Christie is a mom and journalist for three local weekly newspapers in NY. Check out her book, I Hope God is Laughing: Confessions of an Imperfect Parent on Amazon.com. A portion of the proceeds goes to The Life Center of Long Island, a non-profit organization that supports mothers in crisis and their children.

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