It's basically over.
Those of us who live here know it, but we pretend because we also know that so many summer people and tourists still don't understand.
Those people should stop reading now and skip ahead a couple sentences.
Summer is over.
Yes, the weather has been glorious, the water is warm, burgers are sizzling on the grill, and the ticks are gnawing human flesh. In other words, it's all good.
One evening though, and it's coming soon, we'll be out in the backyard as the sun is setting, and whoosh! -- that gentle breeze won't be as warm as usual. We'll get goosebumps. We'll think of going inside and grabbing a sweater.
That breeze, ladies and gents, will be Old Man Winter, coming out for a test drive. Here are the surefire signs summer is almost over.
Hurricane Talk Begins. We have a strange fascination with hurricanes. We profess to be afraid, but something about the danger excites us. For those of you, like us, who have a lot of friends from the city who visit (i.e. mooches) during the summer, hurricane talk is a godsend.
"Me, Herb, and the kids are thinking of coming out for a visit next week," our friend Barb will say. Notice they don't ask, they inform.
"That would be great," I say. "Except Hurricane Amber is coming."
"Yes, Killer Hurricane Amber. It's a tornado, too. And a tsunami. Did I mention Superstorm Killer Ambrosia?"
Hurricanes form in the Sahara Desert (really). As soon as the summer's first one forms, visitors to The Hamptons start getting edgy and pack up, and that's a good thing.
Football Looms. Right now the sports pages are still filled with baseball stories, but with both local teams floundering, rest assured our attention will turn to the gridiron, and soon our bookies will be hounding us for dough. Ah, the sweet sounds of winter.
Back-to-school specials are everywhere. I hate those pretentious little punks who say stuff like, "I can't wait for school to begin because I'm going to learn about French Lit" and stuff like that.
First of all, no self-respecting kid likes school. School is a one-year sentence in the state penitentiary with three months off for good behavior. It is prison.
By the way, there is no such thing as French Lit, either. There has never been a single word of important literature written in French. All they know how to do is smoke cigarettes, grow ugly mustaches (and that's just the women), and surrender.
You finally get the nerve to tell your waiter the truth. This is a rite of passage for me, and it usually comes right about now. You're in a restaurant and the waiter is reading the overpriced specials and you interrupt during the list of soups. "Listen, pal, and make sure you tell the chef this: No one I know likes cucumber soup, no matter what frilly name you give it!"
It is particularly annoying to those of us who have vegetable gardens. They are charging $16 for a bowl of cucumber soup and we have 40 of the damn things – some the size of torpedoes – rotting in the garden because everyone is sick of them. So let's set the record straight: soup by definition is HOT. Beef barley soup. Chicken noodle soup. Two-fisted bowls of steaming, slurp-inducing man food.
Keep the cold crap away from me, and that includes summer pea soup.
By the way, there is no such thing as "summer squash." It is the same as winter, fall, and spring squash. And the "catch of the day" is the same as the "catch of yesterday" and will be until it is finally sold out, even it is really "the catch of last month," but I digress. And by the way, that fish you just paid $44 for didn't really come from a Montauk day boat - it came from Queens.
You put socks on. I haven't worn socks in a couple of months, which means every pair I have are lying in a pile near the washing machine. Soon, though, it'll be time to crank that baby up, because I'll go out and it will be so damn cold my toes will get frostbite. Once you put socks on it's over. The next time you go sockless will be next Memorial Day.
It's been one hell of a summer, but now it's time for football.
So if you plan on visiting The Hamptons and staying at my house, be aware - there's a killer hurricane coming.