Woog's World / My non-summer vacation
It happens every year. One minute you're hauling coolers down to the beach for July 4th, shooting off sparklers and planning all the great things you'll do during the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer ahead.
The next minute it's Labor Day. You're hauling in patio furniture, dodging hurricanes, and wondering where the hell the summer went.
I'm no physicist, but even Stephen Hawking would have trouble explaining how the 28 days of February last twice as long as June, July and August combined.
Every year, I make a list of things I want to do that summer. Every September, those items are as untouched as my other list -- the one with "get elected president" and "grow a full head of hair" on it.
For example, I did not get to the Levitt Pavilion once this summer. I did not see any rock concerts. I heard not one military band, nor one note of zydeco music. I did not laugh with comedians, or stand among hundreds of toddlers for whatever they go for. I hope to make amends next year (except the babies).
I did not watch a single sunset at Compo Beach. I came close -- sometimes I walked at dusk -- but I never made it all the way to slip-below-the-horizon time. Fortunately there's WestportNow.com, where sunset-at-Compo photos are outnumbered only by shots of homes in various stages of teardowned-ness.
I also never saw a beach sunrise. That may relate to the fact that I did not go fishing this summer. I should mention that I have never been fishing, but it seems at some point in my Westport life I should experience the joy (or solitude, boredom or whatever) of rising before dawn, buying worms, sticking them on a sharp hook, then standing around waiting for something to happen.
Rest assured, this is at the top of my 2011 to-do list.
I did not enjoy cocktails on the Splash patio this year. I came close -- one Sunday evening, some friends suddenly decided to go -- but when we got there we found the patio closed due to an afternoon thunderstorm. You can tell this happened early in the summer, because after opening the season with daily monsoons, we have switched to Gobi Desert mode.
Not once this summer did I go to the Hamptons. I know that means I missed hours of traffic and the joys of celebrity-spotting, but I'm happy just to battle the traffic on South Compo, and stare at our own A-listers. I could tell you who I saw here but this is "Woog's World," not Gawker.
I did not rent my home out this summer. In fact, I never even thought about it. But after hearing a couple got $5,000 a week for their home, the idea made sense. Then I remembered that I live in a condo, not a gorgeous waterfront house. So maybe next summer I will buy an expensive home, and rent it out so I can afford my taxes. Plus my sewer assessment.
This summer, I did not find time to ride my bike. Judging by the tales of horror I've heard from cyclists, that may have been the smartest thing I did -- I mean, did not do -- this year.
I never played golf this summer. I thought about it, but since my favorite courses -- the ones with the clowns, and a free game at the end for a hole in one -- closed, my heart just isn't in the game.
I did go to Bobby Q's rooftop -- once. Frank Bergonzi's Springsteen tribute band, Lost in the Flood, put on a fantastic show. It's one of the highlights of every summer. I planned to go back for more, but other activities -- not going to Splash, for instance -- got in the way.
My Staples High School graduating class did not have a reunion this summer, so I did not not go to it. I did, however, lead tours of the new Staples building for the reunion classes of 1980, 1975 and 1970. The alumni were appropriately impressed with our amazing school, and all that goes on inside.
To put today's Staples in context, I told all three classes that they attended school at a time when Staples consisted of nine separate buildings. Since then, a renovation project brought everything under one roof. "Modernization" gave way to adequacy, then obsolescence. A long planning process led to the design of an entirely new school.
A long permit process ensued; several years of construction followed. Meanwhile, the old Staples was demolished. Since then, one full class -- and part of a second -- has moved through the new building, from ninth grade to graduation.
Yeah, we're old.
Which might explain why I didn't do anything much this summer. There's just nothing new under the sun.