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How Much is Too Much?

 We are hitting the half-way point of the summer, and we have had plenty of action with sharks, ATVs, unending heat waves, and God knows what next. I can’t tell why, but for me it feels like there is too much going on. Do you feel that way too? I don’t know how many nights I wanted to see a band play or do something, only to be confronted with having to make a choice about what to do. It wasn’t always like this, and it can be a little unnerving if you ask me. Our sleepy little town has grown exponentially over the last couple of years with an explosion of restaurants, music, happenings, and things to do; so much so that a weekend now requires planning! Yikes!!

I kind of prefer the one thing per night rule that was once the way things were. You know the deal, everyone you knew was going to the same place, going to have the same experience, and it wasn’t overwhelming, it was just a night out. These days it seems a night out requires multiple stops along the night to make sure you hit every party, band, bar, whatever just so you didn’t feel like you missed anything. My mind sometimes gets overloaded with the choices and instead I find myself watching reruns of Wagon Train only because its soothing! And so, as we reach the half-way point, I realize I haven’t really been out much. I have still enjoyed the summer and have been here or there, but it feels like the small-town feel is drifting away a bit. My mermaid still says I am only “down for the day,” but I’ve been here forty years now, and can’t walk a block without saying hello to someone, or having a conversation about this or that, so that a five-minute walk to the store turns into a twenty-minute escapade. But even with that, I still feel a bit of loss for Rockaway. The building continues, the driving is getting harder and harder, and the speed cameras are everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rockaway and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but there is a feeling I get that we are approaching the point where everything is simply too much. And maybe it’s just me, and it’s the middle of the summer, there are sharks in the water (who knew that’s where they were!), but I really feel like it might be time to slow everything down and focus on making what we have better, rather than just adding more. The music falls into this category too. There is music everywhere and some bands are determined to play as much as they can and as many times as they can during the summer. I get that, but I really think it might be better to go back to that old maxim, “less is more.”

I had a neighbor who berated me (nicely) that I should stop writing how wonderful Rockaway was. Instead, he counseled that I should write about how hard the winters were, how difficult it can be to live through a storm, how hard it is to park. In other words, try to make it less appealing so that we weren’t overwhelmed and bombarded by “too much.” It’s taken me a few years, but I think he was right, it’s time to focus on less and realize that “too much” can actually be “too much.” If you think I’ve said enough, you’re probably right, it’s too much! Enjoy the rest of the summer, winter’s coming!

 By Lou Pastina

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