I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Monday, January 24, 2022

Montauk lighthouse

The Montauk lighthouse was a five-minute drive from the house where I was staying. Despite my less than ideal first evening in town, I slept surprisingly well, and I woke to bright sunshine and the sound of gulls calling from the beach two blocks away. I treated myself to a latte and a yogurt parfait from the coffee shop in the village for breakfast, and decided to go out to the lighthouse to take some pictures, and maybe find a good place to go for a walk later.

I quickly realized that I wasn't going to be walking anywhere for very long; it may have been sunny, but the January winds coming off the Atlantic were fierce. (I actually put my facemask back on just to keep my nose from freezing.) After twenty minutes I had seen enough and I was ready to go back to the house and curl up with some hot chocolate and a book.

And the car wouldn't start. And I had no signal on my phone. And have I mentioned that it was freezing?

Obviously, since I am no longer sitting in an empty parking lot by the Montauk lighthouse, I figured it out. I walked around until I got enough of a signal to call for roadside assistance. It took 90 minutes for the truck to get there, but only a couple of minutes to fix the terminal on the battery that had come loose. And I eventually got my hot chocolate.

There were moments, sitting alone in that parking lot, and pacing around my car to warm up my feet, where I thought about other travel misadventures and wondered, as I sometimes do when these things happen, why I don't just stay home. Pascal famously said that all of our problems stem from an inability to sit quietly in a room alone; that's something I've always been very good at, but it doesn't mean that it's the only thing I want to do. And after these past two years, being someplace I've never been, seeing sunsets and hearing sea birds and taking a few interesting photos, was more than worth a few hours of discomfort in a deserted parking lot.

I was very happy to be home again on Wednesday, but I was also better for having left.

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