Tuckahoe, Wednesday
Tuckahoe Road, Shinnecock Hills, Wednesday. The police send you down this road when you try to drive to Sebonack.

I’m all for women playing sports. Really. It’s good for women and it’s good for society. But I’m so steamed at the U.S. Women’s Open in Southampton this week that it would take a barista to pour me out.

Now, people say that golf is a perfectly good game, and I believe them, but frankly, in the time it would take me to get my gear out of the car and find a caddy and shoot the breeze in the clubhouse with some other lucky saps who got the day off from work, I would probably begin daydreaming about all the files in my office that I’d rather be organizing.

No one gives you the day off from work to ride your bike and no one gives you the day off from work to play baseball (they might give you the day off from work to go see the Mets play, but that’s out of pity, my friend). Why should golf be any different?

So now it’s Friday and I’ve got to get a cash register to Southampton so that Harold at Dunkerly’s can have a look at it. It must be done this morning and they tell me it’s the first day of match play, whatever the heck that is, at the Women’s Open in Sebonack, which is directly between me in Flanders and Dunkerly’s in Southampton.

I pore over the maps. I think about the highway. There’s this bridge over Sunrise Highway that is known as “the Peconic Road Bridge.” If you get to that bridge and the traffic is backed up, you’re in for a long day. It was this way for at least a decade, maybe longer, if you lived out west and had to go to work in the Hamptons.

Yeah, I know, all you people in the Hamptons call that back-up “the trade parade.” You can kiss my cash register. You want your houses cleaned? Shut up.

About five years ago, the county widened Route 39 into Southampton and the back-up at the Peconic Road Bridge was sent to the dustbin of history. But that dustbin could easily be reopened by a bunch of women in golf pants.

I twisted my love’s arm, promised him air conditioning and hot coffee, and made him sit in the passenger seat. I buckled the cash register behind him, so I could check on it while we were stuck in traffic. I plotted to take Montauk Highway the entire way. We turned left at the Hampton Bays diner and BAM!, the road was a parking lot of white Ford vans and Chevy S-3500 pickup trucks.

It may have been five years since they fixed Route 39, but nothing erases the muscle memory of the years you spend sitting in traffic waiting to get to work in the Hamptons. All of us, our whole trade parade, had decided to take Montauk Highway to work.

My hands began to twitch on the steering wheel. My knuckles turned white. I bit my lip. I spilled coffee in my lap. My love turned on the radio and held my hand. I bit my lip until it bled. The car moved an inch. Then it moved another inch. Then another. I looked at the clock. Twenty minutes had gone past and we were still in downtown Hampton Bays.

At the first chance I had, I made a u-turn and high-tailed it back to Sunrise Highway. Sure enough, there was a back-up at the Peconic Road Bridge, but it was a back-up of Audi coupes and 4Matics and BMW 3 series. You could at least see over the cars so you could know how far the traffic jam stretched down the road. It was a panorama, I’m sure, that would match the view from the Sebonack Golf Club in its epic proportions. A commercial for 4Matics came on the radio.

Shinnecock Hills is the only golf course I got a chance to see this week. It's pretty too, when there aren't people on it.
Shinnecock Hills is the only golf course I got a chance to see this week. It’s pretty too, when there aren’t people on it.

“What the bleep is a 4Matic?” I asked.

“It’s an automatic transmission, I think.”

“A four-speed? What the bleep? Is that something to brag about?” I asked. Traffic brings out the worst in me.

“Maybe a four wheel drive? Who needs a four wheel drive sedan to get to their summer house in the Hamptons?”

“Just keep driving.”

I’ve gotta tell you, even though that traffic was backed up to the Peconic Road Bridge, it did move. We made it to Dunkerly’s. Harold was awesome. He gave us a manual for the cash register and made sure every key worked. If you ever need work done on your cash register, you should go there. They’ll help you out.

We walked out to the car with the cash register.

We were starving.

We walked to the Golden Pear, paid $8 for two bagels, and sat outside to watch the Southampton people walk by.

The woman sitting next to us thought she saw the founder of Instagram walking down the street. She kept sneaking glances down the road until she made her husband jealous. He jumped up and began craning his neck to try to see his competition.

“He’s worth $400 million,” his wife whined from her seat. Her husband finally sat down.

“You know, I wouldn’t die for any of the brands in these stores,” she said. “Even though I have a job now where I make ten times what I made at my last job.”

“Uh hum, sweetie,” said her husband. His hair was falling out.

Two of their girl friends who usually summer on the Jersey Shore came by with their lap dog. They sat down and one girl put the dog in her lap.

“We’re thinking of buying here,” she said. “It’s soooo peaceful.”

“Wait until August. See if you like it in August,” said the Instagram-founder-stalker, rolling her eyes.

“I wouldn’t die for any of the brands here, though,” said the Jersey girl.

Two men in polo shirts who were carrying copies of Hamptons Magazine walked by.

“I can’t wait until August!” said one, who began grinding his midsection against the air. “That’s when all the fun happens here!”

I picked at the hole in my shoe. I always have a hole in my shoe. My love and I talked about mowing the lawn. Then we talked about flood insurance. Then we talked about mortgages but we started sounding like real estate hipsters so we stopped. Then we talked about all the debris we still have to clean up from Hurricane Sandy. We wondered if we should take pity on the Instagram-stalker and give her our cash register. It it was time to go home.

If women’s football comes to Southampton, I’ll wait in line. If they ever have a women’s Tour de France I will fly to Europe to watch. I’ll even sit in traffic to go see the first woman play in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. But forgive me for sitting this game out.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

8 thoughts on “The Women’s Open can kiss my cash register

  1. Gosh, you make me miss that parade! Still, it’s nice to know my road rage gene has been passed along – though I’m glad you had a hand to hold on the way, and next time know us “trade paraders” are also right there alongside you in spirit! – ditto on the Brilliant comments, but “funny” if it wasn’t so tragically true! Love this, and do keep it comin’!

    1. Oh, I didn’t mean to minimize the frustration that comes with being stuck in South Fork traffic. I’ve been a victim as well and I empathize.

  2. You certainly are humorous. I happened to travel between East Hampton and Hampton Bays round trip on Friday. No problems; made excellent time. The golf tournament seemed to make no impact on the traffic though the trade parade was worse than ever.

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