I am sitting on my roof under a beach umbrella on a pool chair, a cold glass of water by my side, and despite the umbrella shading me and the cool water by my side beads of sweat are making their way down my forehead, every so often enough of them pooling together that I need to wipe my forehead with the back of my hand. The heat of summer seems to be slowly inching upon New York and I dream of certain things in this type of weather.
I just returned yesterday from a weekend in Fire Island. I had gone with Robert and ten or so of his friends, the only one of whom I knew was Mark. It was Robert’s birthday and to celebrate, we rode in a stretch Hummer to the ferry station, blowing through several bottles of champagne and booze on the way. It was a ridiculous start to what would be a ridiculous weekend. The house we were staying in was a park ranger house on Barrett Beach, a mile or so from the Pines, and in an isolated part of the island with no other houses and numerous foxes abound.
One day while I was on the beach, I started chatting with this older gentleman who knew a great deal about the history of Fire Island. He told me that the place we were staying, Barrett Beach, was originally a community called Talisman, and that it had been built in the 1950s to attract the jetsetters. The community never took off though and there were lots of empty houses. The Park Service bought the land and auctioned off the houses. The houses were sold for basically $1 and were floated down the bay to other communities, including the Pines and Cherry Grove. The only house left was made into the park ranger house, and throughout the island, in other communities, the exact same models of homes could be found, all of which originally came from Barrett Beach, the place we were staying. Or so this man said. How much was true I am not sure, but the story has had a hold on me since, that we spent our weekend in the last remaining part of a now dead community, a ghost house of sorts to some fifties ideal of escapism. The setting seemed particularly magical given this information.
From the roof of the house, there were gorgeous views of Fire Island, the bay, and the ocean. It was such a beautiful land and so amazing to think how close it actually is to this city that doesn’t in the slightest resemble that land. In this setting, I had a nice weekend romance with Robert, fooling around with him in various places, touching him a lot, and kissing him. It was really pleasant and sparked some thoughts that I am now thinking about in this weather and on this roof, thoughts about boys and what role I want them to play in my life, about exactly what it is I want from another person, and how to go about that. He is just getting out of a relationship and so I feel a bit weird sometimes about his motivations and unsure exactly about what he is seeking.
There was lots of hiking this weekend, it being a bit of a trek between our house and various populated parts of the island. I drank quite a bit and was stoned quite a bit, danced some, saw some amazing dancing, i.e. Mark’s unhinged flailing about at Cherry’s, and watched friends sing karaoke quite beautifully at that same bar. We ended up at that bar after being kicked out of the Ice Palace, Renee and Robert having pushed each other into the pool you weren’t supposed to go into. We also went to the Sip N’ Twirl later in the evening and there I ran into the client who things turned romantic with, and that was incredibly awkward, even more so because I was incredibly stoned, and he asked me why I had never called, and I said because it would have been weird, too weird for me to deal with.
I ran into him again the next day on the beach and he was quite cold when I tried to be friendly with him. And there were so many other men on the beach, so many beautiful men, and Fire Island is such a weird place.
That same man who told me this history of Barrett Beach also told Renee and I about some party with free booze. We found ourselves there, obviously. There was also free food. We consumed both, getting fairly wasted, and there met some man with a hot tub, something I had been seeking all weekend, and we followed him up to his absurdly fancy house on the bay, sat in his hot tub, drank more, got stoned, and then fled when his attempts at putting the moves on me became a little too intense.
And now I am back from that. And what does it mean to be in the same type of weather in a different setting, away from sand? How is a certain type of mood, that of being at the beach, induced mainly in one particular setting, and how I can translate that to this city, to New York? I have been thinking about this question, though asked in different forms, ever since coming back from Short Mountain – the question of how I can sustain a certain type of mood, a certain relaxation, in this city where there are so many demands on my time seemingly, this or that thing that I should go to with this or that person, and worries about money, about making some, household concerns and all the rest.
It is a difficult thing to do, to create a leisurely pace here and to move according to your own whims, but I am slowly working my way in that direction and am happy about that.