All summer, I've read with dismay the patently false vacation stories people have submitted here. People, stop fooling Scarsdale10583.com's lovely yet naive administrator with crazy tales of visits to mythic lands such as "Europe" and "The Catskills." (If you have to make up a name, must you combine "cats" and "kills"? That's just sick.)
As everyone knows, the world begins and ends with Scarsdale. Drive too far north, and you reach a raging ocean teeming with sea serpents. To the south lies cratered earth, while a mile past Central Avenue yawns the Wild West, with roaming buffalo and hardy folk who drive cars with more than 36,000 miles on them. And east of Post Road lies...
Well, I didn't know. Till recently. Someone among us had to be the true summer adventurer; to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations...to boldly go where no Greenacres resident has gone before.
Yes, my friends. In a mere few days, I visited every other neighborhood in Scarsdale.
I know, it sounds impossible: Who has the courage, let alone the stamina? Read and believe.
Journey 1: From Here to Eternity (a.k.a. Fox Meadow)
Having obtained the necessary vaccines, I closed my eyes and crossed Fenimore Road. Immediately I was besieged by honking noises from wheeled border patrols, and cries of "Watch where you're going, you crazy b..." Well, that last word must be some regional patois, since I don't know it.
I continued to the residential area. Suddenly, I spotted a female of the Fox Meadow tribe. She was the slave of a small, shaggy animal, who used a leather strap, wrapped around her wrist, to force her onward. Still, her cruel master was not without grace: Occasionally he would pause to genuflect by a little yellow temple, lifting his leg with the grace of a young Nuryev.
By now, it had been an agonizing eight minutes since I'd eaten. I wheeled around in horror, realizing there wasn't a Patisserie Salzburg in sight. Then I heard a sizzling noise. I rounded a corner and encountered a tribal male standing before a metal box, using a primitive tool to flip disks of meat.
I approached, waving the beads and feathers I'd brought for trade, while snapping photos. The man pulled an object from his pocket and spoke into it. Minutes later, a white, wheeled transport with red and blue flashing lights pulled up. A diplomat emerged, asked where I lived, and graciously escorted me home. As a parting gift, he presented me with something called "a summons," which I believe is the local term for "certificate of distinguished travel."
Journey 2: Life Among the Quakers
Next it was time to cross Post Road - which, obviously, is short for Post-Apocalyptic Road. I popped an iodine tablet and dressed for my trip. Fortunately, I knew how to blend in with the locals, since I'd seen a portrait of their leader on a box of oats. In a disguise of modest black clothing, I slipped past the border undetected.
I wandered aimlessly until, to my delight, I spotted a group of similarly attired folk headed south. I fell in and was welcomed to their command center, where we chanted, drank wine from a silver cup, and consumed marvelous round carbohydrate units topped with a whitish spread.
I was invited to return next Saturday for "Noah Gopnik's bris." I don't know what that means, but I plan to arrive early and snag a front-row seat for an extra-good view.
Journey 3: The Horrors of Heathcote
I opted to explore this remote outpost by automobile. I'm forever grateful to a neighbor who warned me that crossing its "Five Corners" would require extensive supplies. Indeed, I consumed three meals and finished "War and Peace" in my car before the traffic light changed.
I resolved to memorize a local landmark so I'd have a point of reference. To my right, I found a turreted building bearing the sign "HEATHCOTE TAVERN." I immediately settled upon it as my proverbial north star. Yet moments later, its sign had changed to "BACKALS." I did a u-turn; the sign was now "BAR CITRON." Utterly flummoxed, I did a 360 in my car. Now it read "MASSA." Beware this land of shape-shifters.
The diplomatic transport again appeared as if by magic. I wept for joy at the sight of its flashing lights, and the man with the badge gave me another personal escort home. For a second time, he provided me with a souvenir. This one, he called "a ticket." Must translate.
Journey 4: Into the (Edgewood)
Now I pressed south again. Unable to find a Starbucks or a Lange's Deli, I became hungry and dangerously undercaffeinated. My thought processes jumbled. Along the Post (Apocalyptic) Road, I reached a regal stone building. I ran inside and, in my delirium, shouted, "Am I too early for Noah Gopnik's bris?". This caused some confusion among the natives gathered there - an adorable race of miniature people wearing blazers and plaid skirts. They politely explained I must be lost.
Humiliated, I stumbled out, driving along a row of houses. I heard a humming noise and steered toward it. A man was (note: the remainder of this tale may be unsuitable for some) attacking the very earth on which he stood with a machine equipped with blades. Bits of green flew this way and that. I'll admit I'd sometimes seen that in my own neighborhood too, but had the composure to mask my outrage at the wanton slaughter. Now, with my electrolytes in perilous flux, I aimed my car right toward the green-stuff-murderer.
Perhaps it's best of all of us that at that moment, my car ran out of gas, a result of my Five Corners ordeal. I panicked, trembling with fear lest my ONstar button not get reception so far from Greenacres. Miracle of miracles, though, it did, and a very nice truck pulled up and towed me home.
I'm still considering turning in that crazy man with the blade machine...but who would believe?
Journey 5: The Full Edgemonty
I almost didn't make this last leg of my incredible journey. But how could I call myself a true explorer if I didn't visit Scarsdale's West Pole? Crossing Central Avenue, I traveled on foot down winding roads, wondering who on earth would ever opt to live here, so far from The Yoga Station
But then something extraordinary happened. The landscape grew familiar. I began to anticipate what house, or tree, I'd see around each corner. Suddenly, I found myself standing before a split-level ranch. I walked down the driveway. Repressed memories began flooding my brain circuits...of playing in that back yard...of riding my bike on the street...of swinging in a hammock between two trees...
Who would ever live in Edgemont? I once had, I suddenly realized!
"KUNTA KINTE! AT LAST, I HAVE FOUND YOU!" I shouted, tears streaming from my cheeks. My mother appeared on the sundeck. "Deborah, is that you? Are you off your meds again?" she called. Then she ushered me inside for spaghetti and meatballs.
Truly, all roads lead home.
Deborah Skolnik is a Greenacres mother of two, a senior editor at Parenting magazine, and an unseasoned traveler.