Monday, June 27, 2005

I Dream of Greenwich

This weekend, fearing another set of hot, nasty days spent bored in my apartment with my inadequate air conditioner, cursing the evil bar exam that has stolen my boyfriend from me and the other cities/countries/boyfriends who have stolen my friends, I decided to bring the fun to the burbs and escape to greener pastures. (Well, I doubt there's been a pasture with real live animals anywhere near Greenwich, Connecticut in about 200 years. The only animals I observed were small white dogs on Louis Vuitton leashes, a phenomenon I had foolishly concluded was endemic to the Nick and Jessica Show, but has apparently migrated eastward.)

Greenwich, the promised land. As the Preppy Handbook pointed out, we live in a free country, and in this day and age anybody can be from Connecticut! It's green. It's beautiful. People wear Lilly Pulitzer, men wear pink shorts and seersucker blazers, no one sweats, and kids are named Lulu and Buffy. It's got shopping, restaurants, and - count 'em - FOUR Metro North stops. What is not to love? I mean, this is a town that pays people to direct traffic in 95 degree heat, rather than installing those gauche traffic lights. Those colors - they're just so . . . bright. Tacky, really.

But apparently not all in Greenwich is sunshine and light. This weekend, my dear friend L and I encountered an example of Greenwich's dirty, ugly side. Silly us, we thought that we could go to the beach using her grandma's beach pass. I mean, her grandma has lived there since 1930, belongs to a yacht club, is a bona fide Christian, and so on - but that was not enough to sneak past the Greenwich Gestapo. No, no.

L and I walked up to the little booth prior to boarding the ferry to the beach and she flashed the card. "I'm going to need to see all of that card," intoned Fat Man 1 behind the counter. She showed him the card. "S?" asked Fat Man 2. "You're not a senior."

"No," explained L, "it's my grandma's. I live with her and I haven't gotten my own beach pass yet. Sorry."

"You know, I could legally take that away from you," threatened Fat Man 1. "You really can't use someone else's beach pass."

L rolled her eyes. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."

Sensing a lack of respect for their beach pass policy, Fat Man 2 reached out and took L's beach card and confiscated it, saying that her grandma (who is quite elderly and not allowed to drive) would have to come to the town hall to pick it up. For some reason, probably with their eye on the ferry fee, they permitted us to board and go to the beach anyway, which apparently is a dirty little policy of theirs.

I understand the policy behind keeping non-residents out of Greenwich beaches. It smells a little like discrimination to me, but I am all for a clean beach, littered only by blond children with dumb nicknames (dumb real names?). But the situation has escalated to national security proportions, complete with phone calls to town hall, impassioned pleas to bureaucrats' "better judgment," AND we both got sunburnt. Where is the justice, Greenwich? And why, after this little exercise in absurdity and the full knowledge that I cannot wear pink & green, do I still kinda want to move there?


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