Hurricane In The Hamptons

Aug 30

Stranded by Hurricane Irene . . .

With lots to eat. Lots to drink. Lots to read. But no working toilets.


SunsetBeachTo tell the truth, we weren’t exactly in the Hamptons when Irene hit, but close enough —on the island of Shelter, where Hugh Carey’s ghost roams the golf course and so many high end restaurants are sprouting up that this lovely getaway may end up being called Shelter Hampton. God forfend.

I hear tell that two martinis at the Island’s trendiest place can set you back 40 bucks. Not a good sign.

We were in a quieter part of Shelter Island, a bucolic place where the deer, although no antelope that I know of, roam, and the most noise you get is from the Canadian geese passing by. Coming soon: a blog about the anatomically correct coyotes strategically placed on the lawn to scare the geese and keep them from landing, because besides all that annoying honking, these flying flocks leave mounds of crap all over the lawn. Where does all that shit come from? Seriously.

Which is a nice segue to the toilets. When the electricity goes off, and believe me, Long Island Power Authority does not need Hurricane Irene to have a power outage, there’s some water left in the tank or the pipes or wherever (Hey, I’m a city girl and what do I know from plumbing), so you can still get a flush or two. But after that, you have to pour water into the john to get things moving, so to speak. Unfortunately, with no electricity there’s no water.

Fortunately, the owner of the house had experienced LIPA power outages (interesting enough,  that word is just one little letter away from “outrages”) on occasions too numerous to mention, and had filled up her super large bathtub with water. We could also have tapped the swimming pool, if we didn’t mind being knocked over by 70 mile-an-hour gusts of wind. We minded. We used the water from the bathtub.

It was at this point that my unpredictable and nearly always inconvenient irritable bowel syndrome, known and unloved by millions as IBS, decided to kick in, affecting my own personal plumbing in ways too indelicate to mention here. But what’s a girl to do . . .

To Evacuate Or Not To Evacuate

That indeed was the question. In more ways than one.  Anyway, it was too late to get off the island, so all I could hope for was that my bucket didn’t have a hole in it. It didn’t. And that my condition would pass quickly. It did.


The thing about a hurricane is that you either get the hell out, or you batten down the hatches and hang in there. With all hatches as battened down as best we knew how, and the power now off, we stayed the course, learning a few things in the process:

martinis•Martinis by candlelight are very nice.

•It’s good to have leftovers. Good leftovers, like steak and penne with pesto, even better.

•Always bring olives.

•Always bring Imodium.

•Indoor plumbing —when it’s working— is a grand and a glorious thing. Since I got back home I’ve been hummiing the tune Goin’ To The Chapel (And We’re Gonna Get Married), with the words: Goin’ to the toilet and I’m going to flush it” dancing merrily in my head.

Spoiler Alert (Not): Modern conveniences rule our lives. We are even more hopelessly addicted to TV and our computers than we knew, and during the daylight hours when we had plenty of light and could have read up a storm . . . we never really caught up with all those magazines we were saving for a rainy day, let alone a hurricane. If it weren’t for our cell phones we would have climbed the clammy walls.


BigLebowskiPosterLuckily, before the power went out, we had watched The Big Lebowski, me for the umpteenth time, the others for the first. I don’t know which is best —revisiting a cult classic that you know you will love, or experiencing it anew.

Either way, it set a rather . . . mellow tone for whatever was to come, even if some of it was coming a bit too frequently for comfort.

Hurricane, smurricane. Buckets, smuckets. LIPA, SMIPA.

The Dude abides.

As The Stranger in the film says, there’s comfort in knowing that someone like The Dude, a lovable out-of-work slacker whose only activities are bowling, drinking White Russians, smoking pot and having the occasional acid flashback, is out there, “taking it easy for all us sinners.”

Or for those of us toting buckets of water to the toilet during a hurricane. Or placing anatomically correct coyotes on our lawn to avoid geese turds. Or working for a living.

Ah yes, The Dude abides. That alone is enough to keep you from getting bitter.


For more about The Big Lebowski, go to Reviews To Peruse under BITTER PATTER on the right.

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