Lions Den

Twentysomething: Enjoy Your Cake!

Yesterday I sensed a little chill in the air, signifying the first day of autumn. I was at Sunset Beach on Shelter Island, enjoying the scene and a late August evening and found myself wanting to stay as close as possible to the fire pit to enjoy the warmth. My body was still sore from the Artists Vs. Writers game the day before, and I started to feel a little pensive.
If there is one thing I’m sure of, it’s that there are a lot of people in the world today who want to have their cake and eat it, too. I found myself listening in on a conversation, where a couple was complaining about traffic on the East End. They were maybe in their late 50s, and their main complaint was that they didn’t like dealing with all of the traffic outside of Sunset Beach, and that it was difficult to park there. Later on in the conversation, I heard them complain about how dead a restaurant was that they had been to earlier in the week.
I felt like walking up to the couple and asking them, “What is it that you want? Do you want to be in a place that is busy and has traffic or do you want to be in a place that is slow and has no traffic? It is impossible to have both.”
I held my tongue, but I find myself thinking things like this a lot lately. There are just so many people out there who seem completely angry, fascinated and surprised, that they can’t have their cake and eat it, too.
I can give you a simple example of a family friend who bought a house near the East Hampton Town dump and used to complain about the smell. Even at 10 years old, I didn’t quite fully understand why they had bought a house near the dump. How could they not know it was going to smell? Did they think they could somehow change the fact that there was a dump next to them?
I hate to say it, but the same is true about East Hampton Airport. So many people complain about noise there. I’m not being harsh, and I’m not trying to be rude, but why the heck did you move near an airport if plane noise bothers you? It just doesn’t make sense to me.
It happens in the economy too. Not only do people complain about deficit spending, but they vote for the guy who offers lower taxes, and then when he borrows to make up the difference, worsening the problem, they vote him out and search for another answer that isn’t there.
It’s amazing to me. I know countless people out there who discuss diets and losing weight all of the time, and all of them subscribe to diets ruled by “you can eat as much as you want and lose weight” lunacy.
We want our cake and we want to eat it, too, but unfortunately, we are rapidly approaching an age where we have to deal with pain for gain. Many are already dealing with it, but there is still a large part of the country that just doesn’t get it.
I read with fascination about grownups getting together to discuss things that are unsolvable without some kind of sacrifice. They will meet for years, discussing how to better handle the traffic problem on the East End, when the reality is, there are only a couple of solutions— either we expand the size of the roads, we make cars illegal or unaffordable for most people, or you just have to deal with sitting in traffic during the summertime. My vote? Just deal with it. But no, we have a committee! We have people thinking! Surely they will come up with something!
Get real.
Maybe I’m just the crazy one. Maybe doing things that makes no sense whatsoever is the answer to everything.
Nobody is immune to the forces of time and age, me included. That said, this is the final installment of “20something.” But it’s not my last column! To find out it’s new name, check!

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