We were in East Hampton over the holiday weekend, for a wedding. We stayed with friends, and had a wonderful time at the wedding and during our stay, but I did notice that I found myself thinking a lot about money.
Maybe it’s because July is the month when I’m focusing on the connection between money and happiness, but I think it also had a lot to do with the Hamptons themselves.
Why, I asked myself, was money so much more on my mind in that place than it usually is?
Partly, I think, it’s because in New York, unless someone invites you over, you don’t really know much about where they live. Even people who live in fancy buildings someitmes have unfancy apartments, and people who live in unfancy buildings sometimes have terrific apartments, and neighborhoods that seem utterly unresidential–a street of apparently abandoned warehouses, or in the middle of the fur-and-feather district–often hide apartment buildings that look like nothing on the outside but have great apartments.
But in the Hamptons, you can really see people’s houses–of course, the most lavish houses are mostly hidden, but you can see a lot of gorgeous houses. And when you can see, you compare, you calculate, you covet.
But it was more than the houses…I honestly, truly, do not crave a house in the Hamptons, so I don’t think that alone would have kept forcing the subject of money into my mind. So what was it? The rows of luxury stores that line the streets of the little village? The cars some people drive? I hate to shop for clothes, and I don’t like cars…yet nevertheless, I felt a vague, nagging sense of…grabbiness. Of wanting something more.
I really don’t like that feeling.
The wise thing to do is to conquer my desires, let go of my grabbiness, maintain a proper perspective. Not easy. At the very least, for now, I’ll take the short-cut of avoiding the Hamptons for the forseeable future.