Disbelief on the 8:30 out of Cherry Grove!
I hopped on the 8:15 ferry and was in the Grove within a half-hour. The place wasn't that crowded at the start, but I almost immediately ran into some friends. As always, there were people there I knew from my normal life, Anthony, Lisa, Ozzie, Paul, and those I knew only from Fire Island like Demi, Michael and Christian, and others, so there were plenty of people for me to hang out with, though I ended up spending most of my time with my friend Anthony and his pal Maria, (if I recall correctly).
Now Michael and Christian are two guys I've known a long time, mostly from going out. They used to be a couple, and even though they're not together anymore, they still hang out together a lot. The two of them are polar opposites, Michael being the more happy go lucky one and Christian a little more serious, and I enjoy hanging out with them, and Michael especially spent a lot of time laughing it up and dancing with us.
Now I have a connection with these two, one that I've mentioned here before (See A Long Night in Cherry Grove, Parts I and II). Two summers ago, the three of us were eating pizza at the end of the night and got so lost in our conversation, we missed the last ferry back to Sayville. Thus the title of the previous post. Ironically, we had just been telling Anthony and Maria about that now funny story, and Michael and i both renewed our mantra that this would never happen again...and then it did!
This time was all my fault. Normally on Saturdays during the summer, the last ferry out is at 2AM, but there was a little asterisk on the schedule that I hadn't noticed saying that the 2AM ferries begin the first Saturday in July. As the 1AM ferry came in, Cherry's began to clear out. Anthony asked me which one I was taking, and I said I was going to stay till the last one. Little did I know...
About ten minutes after that one had left, I went over to Michael and Christian and suggested getting some pizza. I should have known when they told us there were only four slices left that there was going to be trouble, but again, I was being my inner blond self. We sat at the empty tables, totally unaware of anything, and then my pal Ozzie came walking by. As the three of us chatted with Oz, I noticed that the crew from the pizza place were all leaving and the inside went dark.
"Oh my God!" I gasped at the sudden realization. Yes, they were closing because all of the day trippers were gone. The last ferry of the night had left at 1. Surreal is the only word I could use to describe that moment, and none of us could do anything but deal with it.
Overall, we spent this night on the dock like old pros. This time, we knew to go back into Cherry's for another cocktail and to make the most of it until 4. Unfortunately for a friend of theirs named Bob, there were four of us this time. Michael and/or Christian had told him about the 2AM non-ferry and he was stuck with us to try and sleep somewhere in the cold, hard wood of the dock.
It's funny, but like I said, our experience made things much more bearable this time. Once Cherry's had pretty much cleared out, Michael looked at the three of us and one of us said jokingly, "okay then, are we ready for bed?" We made our way towards the Island Breeze Restaurant, which has an enclosed seating area overlooking the bay. Michael peeled off two tablecloths off the tables and the three of us huddled together for warmth (Bob opted for a bench).
It was freezing, and way uncomfortable, but we all persevered till morning. The first ferry out was at 8:30, so even though we had stayed in Cherry's until the end, there was still plenty of time to kill trying to sleep. Around 6:30ish, the sun had come up to reveal all of the other last ferry-misser/losers like us, including the discovery that someone had only realized missing the boat really late and took their anger out on the dock by smashing some Plexiglas with a stanchion. By that time, the sun was up and it was warmer on the benches there, so we all just sat around trying to catch some more z's before the ferry's arrival.
Ugh, I swear I would never have ever done that again, but look at me now: two nights of my life spent trying to sleep on a dock with my nice, warm bed just a few miles away across the Great South Bay. Will I learn my lesson this time? Or will I once again fall back into the ditziest recesses of my mind and find myself once again on that cold, hard dock? All I know is I'll never say never again...
Michael asked me if I was going to take any pictures. I just wasn't in the mood, but here's one from our last long night on the dock at Cherry Grove. Same scenario, different clothes!