My vision of Cape Cod is one big J. Crew catalog shoot. Willowy and tanned Ivy League blondes, warm sun on lighthouses and Kennedy's behaving badly. I guess if you know where to look, it's all still there, but there sure seem to be a lot of extras wandering into the corner of the frame.
There's still a kind of suavity and glamor clinging to this place, and it must be very nearly heaven to a certain class of white people. The kind of guy with casual ease and grace and just a touch of careless cruelty. Jay Gatsby in polo shirt and docksiders. The kind of guy I always hoped to become. And never even came close.
In Hyannis, I look for a spot to park and walk to the shore, but every lot is blocked by someone richer, better looking and smarter than me charging admission. There's one empty lot and I duck in, but a guy saunters over and tells me it's for residents only. I need to use the visitor's lot. For twenty dollars.
I look up and sputter..."Um, is there a place where I can just go and...um...kind of like out west, where we have this big ocean and pretty much anybody can drive up and just hang out and admire the scene...Is there a place like that around here someplace?"
He looks with me with thinly disguised contempt and asks "You gonna' be long?"
"Five minutes, I swear."
I have come to accept that I will never be as suave as Gatsby. But it hurts that I’m not even as cool as his parking lot attendant.