The Silly Season

Tomorrow marks the opening of the silly season here on Cape Cod. Already the roads are clogged, the grocery stores jammed, and all good year-rounders transition into a sullen mode of nocturnalism and native resentment.

The first rule is never, ever go to Hyannis on a rainy day. If the touristas can’t go to the beach, then they go to the mall. All transactions — parking stickers for the beach, clamming licenses, renewal of drivers licenses — must be completed by Memorial Day or bad things will happen.

The waterways are a parade of Fiberglas and exhaust. The water turns tepid and the red tide arrives. The beaches are clogged with sunburned whiners, giving rise to my favorite summertime entertainment, Beach Theater, in which one gets to watch children enact seaside dramas for the benefit of all. Swimming is a dodgy affair (see red tide) due to the toilet habits of said children. Fishing shuts down due to the nautical parade of people wearing too little clothing in boats with too big engines.

The good news is it lasts for eight weeks. Labor Day — once the saddest day of the year — is now my happiest. The bad news is my extended family, ex-roommates, and other people I am forced into jocular familiarity with due to circumstances beyond my control, all come knocking, ready to stir things up (“Wow, have you put on weight?”) and play in what my cousin has come to dub “Camp Alky-Smoky”; where everyone over-imbibes and begins to tell each other what they really think of each other.

When I was young the alarmists used to say that Cape Cod was on the road to overdeveloped ruin, soon to become a nightmare like Long Island. Guess what? It’s gone beyond that. It’s now a year round suburb of Boston and totaly over-romanticized as a summer destination. All the smart locals sold out years ago and moved to Nova Scotia. Those of us who remain just get grumpy and grind our teeth for two months.

So I post, an hour before driving to Hyannis on the Friday before the Fourth of July on a rainy morning. Pray for me.

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