Now that Thanksgiving is over, I can finally give into the Christmas season that has been calling since long before my Jack-o-Lanterns were even carved. Captain Clam and I spent a relaxing couple of days at my parent’s house out on eastern Long Island. My sister lives right across the street from them, so I got to get my “nephew on” while I was there. I have a 6 year old mad man and a 7 month old adorable (but very rude) baby who keep me busy whenever I visit. I was a very happy Auntie and the Clam was overjoyed to discover his baby whispering talents.
As soon as plans are made with my parents, there are weeks of confirming that we are, indeed, going to pay a visit. Every week my mom will ask me “Are you coming for Thanksgiving?” And I answer, “Yes Mom” in that sarcastic little kid voice that we all have when we say yes to our moms when she asks a question that has been asked one million times.
Once it’s down to the wire, we check the weather and train/bus schedules. I am always on the train an hour AFTER the train I intended to be on. I don’t even lie about trying to be on time anymore. I even tell my parents the time of the train I WANT to be on and then the time of that train that I will most likely be on. There is just something in my brain and body that prohibit me from leaving the house on time. And no matter how much I prepare I am always late, I always over pack, and I always forget something. This year it was pajamas.
It’s always this time of year when I talk to me family the most. Between my birthday, my dad’s birthday, and all the holidays, we all call each other a million times to say hi or solidify a loose plan. It’s this time of year that my Long Island really starts to show. Whether it’s from the phone calls to an over serving of eggnog, that ear throbbing accents falls out of my mouth and I just can’t do anything about it. It would also seem that the closer I get to the homestead, the more lazy my language skills and manners become. It’s a Long Island thing.
It seems that as soon as I step foot on that train to Ronkonkoma, a switch flips in my soul. I am homeward bound and hurtling towards my roots at 75 MPH. Out comes the beer and that harsh accent that makes us all feel a little bad ass and sound a little trashy and undereducated.
If there is one thing that my family is, it’s Long Island. Captain Clam has invisible ear muffs because we are just SO DAMN LOUD when we all get together. It’s true. All Long Islanders are. I don’t know why, but it’s inherent throughout the native population of Nassau and Suffolk, and being around anyone from Long Island somehow makes me very comfortable. We could live on opposite ends of Island, and somehow still have a connection.
“Oh, you’re from Long Island? So am I. Where abouts?”
“Oh cool. I’m from Riverhead.”
“Oh wow, that’s way out there.”
“Yeah, it’s not too bad.”
BOOM. Immediate Facebook friends for life.
Riding on the train towards home, I always feel like I never left and the people have never changed. You can find many of the same characters who are named Theresa, Joey, Bobby, or Jamie (or something like that). We all talk with our hands and say ridiculous things way too loudly. Most of us are crude and censor-less. We say things like “Douche bag” and “asshole fuck face” in front of babies and grandmas. I have no idea why that is, but it just is.
There are a few (but not many) stereotypes about Long Islanders that are not true. We are not all rich. There are very few places where the rich reside, and most of us are middle class hard working schmucks who want to live near the ocean and the farms on our 1/8th acre of semi-suburban paradise. Of course, Long Island is a very expensive place to live and property values are sky high due to the lack of space available, but it somehow seems worth the expense.
Another falsity… All Long Island girls have tramp Stamps… NO! Well, I have one, but it was pretty cool in 2002 (but mine is terrible and I hate it and can’t wait to get it removed). In case you DO want a Tramp Stamp, the are only two suitable tattoo parlors that you can go to… Lou’s and Cliff’s. That’s it, argument over.
Now, there is a mystery surrounding the Uncle that everyone has who works in Sanitation. NOPE. Not buying it. Unless sanitation is code for some illegal activities (which it very well could be), then this is another Long Islandism that is simply not true.
I have been reading up on “You know you’re from Long Island if…” blog posts, and some of them are just plain stupid. I DO NOT have a Billy Joel “sighting” story (although it would be nice to have one), and have never had a problem “Changing trains at Jamaica.” No, I don’t know Lindsay Lohan, but do find the Hamptons to be a snooze-fest high school reunion (I’m more of a North Shore kinda gal anyway). And saying “Strong Island” is super douchey. We are douchey enough, so we avoid that phrase altogether.
Long Island is a great place to be, and even though I live in Brooklyn currently, I am STILL technically ON LONG ISLAND!! No Brooklynite or Queens dweller wants to admit this fact… Why? I asked Captain Clam. He told me that Long Island is like being in New Jersey, but Seven times worse. But how can that be? I simply don’t believe it and refuse to hanker around with any such thoughts.
Long Island is Long Island. It’s super special and super douchey, just like any hometown in America. What I do love about Long Island is the dark, starry night skies and the fresh air that smells like bonfire and fresh seawater wind. There are expansive Ocean Beaches, Rocky Sound Beaches, Lakes, Rivers, The Bay, Farm Stands, Buffalo Farms, Duck Farms, Adventure Land, Splish Splash, Aquariums, the Long Island Medium, Pine Barrens, Roadside F-14’s, National Cemeteries, JONES BEACH, Petting Zoos, Vineyards, State Parks, Whale Watching (should I keep going??) … Plus, WE HAVE THE BIG DUCK!!!
And you really just can’t beat the accent.
Tell me, what do you love and hate about Long Island?