Forget the national obesity epidemic. We have a national ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) epidemic. Here’s an entire nation unable or unwilling to focus. Distraction is just too much fun: why pay attention to any one thing when there are so many people, web sites, IM sessions, TV shows, Tivo’ed shows, emails, parties, and iPods to plug into. Unplug from all this and withdrawal hurts. We don’t like it when nothing’s going on.
The Hamptons is the ultimate resort for the ultimately distracted. It’s where we go. There is nothing you actually have to pay attention to out here. And you can’t possibly get bored since the whole experience happens in just a couple of days. We’re attracted to the Hamptons for the same reason fish like lures with lots of shiny objects hanging off them. A continuous stream of shiny people pass by us as we cruise the beach, bars and parties for ever more shiny people. Real conversation presents a threat: focusing can kill this rush in an instant.
Fortunately we’ve adapted: we’ve so honed our ability to schmooze the night away by waving, air kissing, and looking for the next party, that we remain permanently anesthetized to reality. Like all good addicts, we deny it. “Oh, I come out east to do nothing, to hang out with a few friends” we say as we’re dashing to the American Hotel for a drink, arrive, find it boring, and leave immediately for the next venue. We even learned how to keep the cell phone in its place as an instrument of distraction: if the call is in danger of becoming a real conversation, we declare that the connection stinks and hang up. As you know, everyone gets away with that these days.