Posts tagged long island life
Besides the caricaturistic accents I encounter on a daily basis, there’s one other language-related oddity that I’ve noticed since I moved out to Long Island. I notice that when people talk about where they live, more often than I not, I hear them say, “I live IN Long Island,” as if it’s a town or city or some sort of collectively-identified place.
Being a person who cares about grammar (a.k.a. the most annoying kind of human around), I find myself wondering if I’m just thinking about it wrong or if there really is a correct way to talk about living in a place like Long Island.
In my head, I think “I live ON Long Island, but I live IN a small town on the North coast.” I can’t think of another island where that seems correct. You don’t live on Greenland. Or on Madagascar. Or on Maui. You live in them. But somehow that seems different, because those places have a large unifying governing/physical presence.
Am I wrong? Is there another island you might live on instead of in?
It’s worth getting up early.
Sometimes living on Long Island feels like you get the worst of both urban life (high rents, lots of laundromats) and suburban life (very few food deliveries, huge box stores and strip malls everywhere), but I always have to remind myself that it also comes with the absolute best parts of rural/seaside life (farm stands, the ocean is a quick trip away, most of my driving takes place through the Pine Barrens). So, yeah, worth it.
Yesterday my work buddy Erin took me on a lunchtime adventure. Just a few minutes from the section of the lab where all the buildings are, you can find really lush wooded areas. We went for a stroll through the trees down by the river, exclaimed over racoon tracks in the mud, whistled at the birds, and even found a turtle shell that some little critter had finished eating out of recently. It was gloriously warm and I kept looking around sort of astonished that Brookhaven’s lab site has so much nature just right down the road from my office building. I’ll definitely be going back on my lunch break from time to time.
Tonight at the beach I witnessed some really great moments:
- A family was hanging out just kicking rocks and digging in the sand near the beach entrance. One of the little girls had gotten into Mom’s purse without anyone noticing and she was crouching down on her heels, holding a mirror up to her face, and smearing bright red lipstick all over her mouth. Her red, curly hair was waving in the wind and the whole look was so overly adult for a 6-year-old that I had to bite my lip to stop myself laughing at her cuteness.
- There are always people fishing in the Sound. I’m not sure what they catch, but it’s a popular activity at the beach near my house. Usually they’re older men with lots of gear. As I was walking down the beach, I saw two people at the waterline with poles and assumed they were an older guy and his son or something, but as I got closer, it turned out to be a young guy who’d brought his girlfriend down there for a date. He was patiently explaining to her how to throw out the line and read the water. It looked like the kind of evening that would charm me if I were on that date.
- Another set of young girls were on the beach with their mother and they found a live crab walking out of the water. They absolutely shrieked with delight. I remember being that way as a kid, and I still feel that crazy excitement at little things like that, but I don’t scream about it out loud anymore. I should remember to do that from time to time.
Living on Long Island is a huge change from my life over the past few years. Portland, London, DC, Chicago, Boston…nothing is like this island. I don’t really have the words to describe it very well yet, but I’ll just share these few observations I’ve made and quotes I’ve overheard in the past few days:
- I got a mani/pedi the other day and in the few hours I was in the salon, I was the ONLY person who didn’t get fake nails put on. When I told them I just wanted polish, the dude doing my nails looked at me really funny.
- People are far nicer than I thought they’d be. Like, they might beat the Midwesterners in niceness. EXCEPT ON THE ROAD. THEY ARE TERRORS ON THE ROAD HERE.
- Overheard in the grocery store: Dad 1: ”You took him to a Mets game? Talk about terrible parenting.” Dad 2, hanging his head: “I know, man. I know.”
- A realtor giving me driving directions to a cottage I was viewing: “The sign is on the left, but the street is on the right … (sigh) … Welcome to Long Island, where very little makes sense.”