With its white picket fences lining up against hedges pruned to perfection, Edgartown, Massachusetts is a New England dream.
Nineteenth century sea captain homes border storefronts selling salt water taffy and flower baskets for bicycles. Whalers, kayaks and houseboats dot the glistening harbor as children from the yacht club rush to their sailboats for a morning lesson.
Edgartown is paradise; it's a pastel-filled village on a story book island. And it's making me absolutely insane.
When I chose to work at a country club in Edgartown for the summer, I kind of knew what I was signing up for. Growing up on Cape Cod, I have had my fair share of experience with boat shoe-wearing tourists and private school prepsters. I'm not dissing this lifestyle, heck I even have a lot of friends who seem to be real-life versions of Vineyard Vines ads.
However, I just can't bring myself to get down with the Edgartown lifestyle. I have yet to meet another twenty-something who attends a - dare I say - public university, nor have I been introduced to a kid whose father works a trade job as opposed to a hedge fund. I have been craving a sense of normalcy for the past couple of months; I am counting down the days in which I don't have to flounder in a pastel sea.
Cape Cod offers a cultural escape that this part of the Vineyard doesn't quite have. While the Cape does have its Edgartown-like pockets -- Osterville, Chatham, etc. -- it also has a booming blue collar class that doesn't try to outshine its neighbors in wealth and stature. The Cape has imperfections weaved throughout its diverse 16 towns, imperfections that I can't wait to live among once again.
I have been struggling to thrive in an environment where I have felt like an outsider. I have been the recipient of snide comments about my 20 year old Mustang, and I rarely receive any praise for entering my last year at UMass Amherst. I don't play squash, nor do I own Ray Bans or floral Lilly Pulitzer shorts. Perhaps I am being a cynic, but I feel as though I have been living in a fairy tale land for far too long. If I hear the word "croakie" one more time, or see another pink Vineyard Vines bumper sticker on a black Range Rover, I may suffer a serious mental breakdown.
I couldn't recommend visiting Edgartown enough. However, living there is a whole other beast. I have learned many things from my three month endeavor in Edgartown. I have learned that:
1. A sandwich is never worth $10.
2. There is such a thing as too much pastel.
3. I really don't think that money can buy you happiness.
It can, however, buy you as many overpriced sandwiches and varieties of croakies you will need to suffice an Edgartown lifestyle.