Dan Rattiner's Stories

On My Mind: Pocket Calls, Other Resorts, Pool Question, Deer Talk and More

Dan shares six short dispatches from the Hamptons.

POCKET CALL
Here’s a story a friend told me:

Last Thursday my wife was at our apartment in New York City and I was at our house in East Hampton. She is coming out tomorrow on the Jitney.

I called her about 10 p.m. to say good night. In the morning, she called me.

“After you said good night,” she said, “you called again three times, but weren’t there when I picked up. Anything important?”

“I didn’t call you after I said good night.”

“Well, your phone called.”

I thought about it. “I think it was pocket calls.”

“What?”

“It was a series of calls from my member. My male member.”

No response.

“It likes you.”

“What did it want?”

“You’d have to ask it. I don’t know. You know, this is something you can’t do. Women can’t make pocket calls.”

“That’s true.”

“Was doing that inappropriate sexual behavior?”

“It called so late.”

“And?”

“And it depends what it wanted.”

DEER AT THE HEDGEROW
When I drive up Three Mile Harbor Road to my house, I turn into the driveway and go up a hill about 30 yards to the parking area alongside the garage. Sometimes my wife’s car is there. Sometimes not. It wasn’t there yesterday when I made the turn. She was out somewhere. Instead there was this huge deer halfway up the driveway facing my front door and blocking the driveway. I stopped short of him.

This deer was taller than the car. Maybe 400 pounds.

The deer looked at me. I looked at the deer. The deer blinked, turned around to face the empty lot next to our house and then walked slowly over to it and stopped. It turned its head toward me, and quietly and firmly engaged me in a staring match.

This is MY house, I told it. It didn’t move. We were eyeball to eyeball.

You can’t come on my property. I’ll have you arrested. The staring continued.

Or whoever I have to get to take you away.

The deer was, it seemed to me, mentally challenging me about the ownership of my property. It continued to stare. I raced the car engine. The staring continued. I honked the horn. Still nothing. I pay $11,000 a year in taxes, I told it.

At this point, a second deer appeared, coming out of the woods up the hill from the vacant lot. It walked down to the first deer. The first deer broke off our staring match and told the other deer what was going on. Then they both commenced to stare at me. Clearly it was two against one. If they didn’t leave, I wasn’t getting out of the car. I raced the engine again and once again started honking the horn. Nothing.

So I made my move. I got out of the car, slammed the driver’s door, looked at the two of them not 20 yards from me and said “go away.” Then I took big long strides in a very manly way along the side of my car and around the front and thought, they are going to BITE me. But they didn’t. Yet. So I climbed the two steps to my front porch, went inside and slammed that door loudly behind me.

Once, I looked out the window. They were still there. I drew the blinds. That’s that, I said to myself.

I should call my wife to warn her about this.

OTHER RESORTS REST UP
I’ve just read that three other beach resorts in the world have ordered a “time out” to allow nature to revive them. The time outs are for four months. No tourists are allowed in during this time. There will be a general cleanup. Paper cups, balloons, no swim fins on the coral reef, no anything. Just a time for these beautiful places to restore themselves from the continuous beatings they’ve been getting.

The resorts are Maya Beach and Young Island in Thailand and Boracay Island in the Philippines, and according to the article I read about this in the Associated Press, it seems to be a trend.

Maybe we should do that here. Actually, we are already doing it. It’s called “winter.”

I GOT A PHONE CALL
Every once in a while when I can’t find my cell phone, I go to the old house phone and dial it. If the ringer is off, it’s difficult to locate the cell phone, but eventually it turns up. I have been worried sick about all this for a while. But now it is all over. And look, I have a whole series of phone calls. Great!

WEATHER
How did we know what to wear before the phone weather report? I have no idea. Now the cell phone tells me. What I used to do before was go outside and get the hang of it. But now when I do that, I really don’t trust myself. It’s really for the phone to decide if I need a jacket.

A POOL QUESTION
Here’s a short history of our swimming pool. At this house on Three Mile Harbor Road in the 1970s, there was no pool on the property. There was a dirt and grass yard. There were scraggly bushes. The house itself was an old fishing camp. But it had a view of the beautiful sunset over water. So I bought it.

The yard was a flat spot, but behind it the property went up a hill. My wife and I and our little kids went sleigh riding down the hill to the flat spot during winters when we had snow. But when they got to be teenagers, they pointed out the sleigh riding was only once every couple of years and there were bigger hills elsewhere, for instance, at Quail Hill in Amagansett. Couldn’t we have a pool at the house?

The flat spot got a pool, a small, relatively inexpensive one. It was in-ground, very beautiful and 16 feet by 32. A gas pool heater was off nearby in an enclosure. I bordered the pool with brickwork so when you climbed out and forgot to hose off your feet, you wouldn’t track dirt into the house.

As a result, there was no mistaking the fact that our yard now looked like a first class resort while the house, because we hadn’t done a single thing to it, looked really awful. Wires went up and down the shingles. The bushes looked worn and old. Claw marks were on the kitchen door that led out to the pool from where the dog scratched to get inside.

In other words, something had to be done. The Bonac fishing shack was over.

Today, beautiful green awnings overarch the new sliders and retract at the press of a button. A picture window overlooks the pool. Gorgeous landscaping is everywhere. Lilacs and rhododendrons peep out of wooden barrel planters on the bricks and red roses overflow around the fences. Birds and squirrels play and the new trellis I put up is covered with trumpet vines. Many aluminum deck chairs and umbrellas are spread around. We might as well be South of the Highway.

All because I put in a pool.

Last spring, I installed solar panels on the roof. The installer put in the pipes so water from the pool circulated up to it, and showed me how, by turning two knobs part way up the wall, I could drain out the water to end heating the pool at the end of the summer.

I did that.

Now here’s the crux of the matter. On a breezy day over Memorial Day weekend, noting that it would soon be swimming weather, I considered turning those two knobs back on and allowing the solar panels to fill with water, thus heating the pool. But I have hesitated.

It’s a rule, deep inside of me, to turn the lights out when I leave a room. We have to conserve energy. Here’s the question. If I turn those knobs before it’s actually swimming weather, wouldn’t I be wasting the solar power? Wouldn’t my doing this contribute to climate change? What if a neighbor wanted to turn on his solar panels later on? Would there be enough sunshine left?

Facebook Comments

Show More

Related Articles