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August Meltdown

Posted on 28 August 2008

Waaa….waaa……waaaa…….waaa. Quick, what’s that sound? The Answer? A car alarm — that ubiquitous sound of summer in Sag Harbor which, by August, has taken us beyond mere annoyance, through irritation and well on our way into full blown insanity.

We who live and work here in Sag Harbor like to think of ourselves as calm, cool and collective cucumbers in the face of the summer onslaught. And in many ways, we are. On Memorial Day, when the crowds begin to filter in, we put out our welcome mats, put on our game faces and usher in the season.

But by July, we start to wilt a bit. The smile droops as the humidity kicks up a notch (as do the visitors) adding an element of discomfort to the scene. There are suddenly more shouting matches over parking spaces, U-turns galore, rude behavior, jaw-droppingly bizarre outfits and beneath it all, a rising crescendo of cacophonous car horns blaring the same old tune out of unison throughout the day.

Then comes August….and August is the worst of all. To prove it, as if on cue, on Wednesday night as we are putting this Labor Day issue to bed, the most annoying and unending car alarm of the season is in the midst of its mating call — it’s a Mercedes, by the way — blaring away in front of BookHampton. It’s been going on for close to an hour now ruining the al fresco dining experience of everyone on Main Street (to say nothing of those of us toiling away here in the office).  Yes, the police have been called. No, they haven’t shown up yet. But we can’t wait till they do.

It’s not that we’re bad people. It’s just that as a species, there’s only so much we can take. Everything must come to an end and we have to admit, we’re not all that sorry to see this particular summer go. In fact, the season is turning. It’s been cooler in recent days and with the first hint of autumn in the air it’s easy to slip into sentimentality about the waning of yet another summer.

Then another car alarm goes off shaking us back into reality.

So come next Tuesday (or tumbleweed Tuesday as the day after Labor Day has long been known in these parts), we’ll park without pain and after the sun sets, peruse the deserted sidewalks and listen to the lovely sound of something we haven’t heard in months — crickets on Main Street.

See you next summer and we’ll keep the light on for you!

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