... the work of some deservedly little-known American abstract-impressionist named Pinajian, or so he claims. This was in fact the most interesting image of Bellport I could find.
It really looks more like this:
... which is, of course, from a real-estate shark's site, where it is accompanied with this breathless prose:
OLD SCRATCH PROPERTIES is the leader in seasonal rentals in the Bellport area. Nothing compares to experiencing quiet time by the shore in this beautiful community. Be sure to contact us soon because there are so few rentals available.("Old Scratch Properties" is my inspiration, naturally.)
Our friends' house looks a little like this, actually, except the house is nicer and the pool smaller. Let's call the friends Ludwig and Maria Theresa von Hapsburg.
Bellport is really a pretty town. I don't want to be unkind here. The marina is efficiently run and has a sturdy wave-wall sheltering three well-built docks, with a few transient slips available. Maria Theresa met us on the middle dock and waved us toward one of these transient slips, which I miraculously got us into without dinging the hull or even swearing. Not even once. Honest.
Still. It's not just Long Island -- it's the South Shore of Long Island, and not a million miles from the dire Hamptons. As we strolled up the street from the marina to Schloss Hapsburg, we passed a pleasant grassy field where a bevy of nice-looking young people, with even tans and perfect teeth, were de-rigging and stowing their bran-new shiny-bright Laser fleet, after a day of schooling on the water. Jeunes filles en fleur, and garcons too, for those whose taste runs that way. A delightful sight -- if it weren't for the voices.
Is there anything more grating than a Long Guyland accent? A South Shore accent, at that? I despair of rendering it. Dickens and Trollope and Thackeray tried to do dialects, and failed dismally. Where they failed I am unlikely to succeed. Let me just observe that there are no simple vowels on Long Island -- no eh's and ah's and oh's. There are only diphthongs, and triphthongs, and tetraphthongs: Eeeuuoowww!
The Hapsburgs don't talk that way, thank God, being transplants from elsewhere, and people with an ear as well. They're a charming couple, with a very likable teenage son, and they had, on this occasion, some amiable and clubbable houseguests. Penelope and I spent a very pleasant evening chez Hapsburg, grilling chicken and talking about everything under the sun, and then we strolled back to the boat, in its quiet slip, and turned in.