While not much of a Saturday Night Live person – past my bedtime – I always liked the Weekend Update, essentially real news yet when an errant picture or caption, or even a stutter in the delivery is thrown in, the absurdity becomes evident. That is the way I feel about this story – absurd bordering on self parody.
I have written of Phil’s friend Stan, his last boyfriend and current beach buddy. I have written how the three of us would find the beach or maybe I would just join them for dinner after my day of work. And I have written of Stan turning against me – not that I blame him - and my wondering what this summer would bring. I wondered on these pages would there be resentment on my part, not so much of their days at the beach – I do work – but of the evenings after, dinners presumably absent me.
Of course having fixated on all of the possibilities, I missed the ones that actually came to pass. You see we are not just talking beaches, Phil and Stan are not making sand castles with hoards of children: they are at the gay beaches, a small universe. If one wants to travel – drive a bit, take a ferry, walk a bit, there is Fire Island, more of a weekend than day visit. If one wants to go to the local beach there is Jones and there is Robert Moses. They are quite convenient to each other – one drives to Jones and if the parking lot near the gay section is full, another twenty minutes on a beautiful road and Robert Moses awaits.
The summer comes and things roll along – Phil is busy running to the country, a wedding to make, I have my weekends with the children and we have a surprising number of weekends together. It is quite nice; we work on his house, paint cabinets, blissfully mundane. Phil has some beach days – weekday affairs. I have my work. We meet up on those days, a surreptitious mid-evening rendezvous swooping him from a railroad station, a train not taken. I won’t deny the strangeness but like everything else in life, after a while it starts to feel normal.
The summer is drawing to a close and a weekend day, clear sky, humidity dripping, Phil and I together. Let’s go to the beach! Jones or Robert Moses? What’s that – Jersey shore he suggests, something new. And it all comes together. We cannot go to Jones or Robert Moses. Stan is going to the beach and he may be at Jones or maybe the parking lot will be full and off to Robert Moses. We end up on the beach with the kids. Now as a practical matter, I am actually not upset, these are the beaches I grew up on, where I take my kids, not too crowded, my comfort zone. But that does not change the “why”, the fact that my choices are limited, impacted by choices of another who has no place in my life.
Now I am sure there are comments to be made, conclusions to be reached but ultimately the joy of weekend update is giving the story. The audience gets to make of it what they may. While today looks like summer, it is truly autumn and there is much time before the next visit to the beach.