On a Saturday night I might say to my wife, I want to get out of the house, have a couple cocktails, see some live music. And because she’s now doing a cartwheel I realize she thinks I mean by myself, but she gets over it and the next step is to decide where we should go. It’s not as easy as it used to be, when you went out to your favorite place and a bunch of your friends were already there. All sorts of factors have since converged into an era where people just stay home in their cocoon and wait for the pupal stage to be over.
It seems like nobody goes out anymore, and for that reason, if you want to go out, there’s no place to go anymore. We went driving around upstate New York last weekend looking for a bar to have a couple beers, and when we finally found a joint that looked like it was jumping, with lots of cars and neon signs, it turned out to be an auto body shop, and even worse, it was closed.
Is it that people are afraid to drink and drive? All that drinking isn’t particularly necessary- the era of excess is over. It was different back in the day, when we were in the dark ages about drinking and driving. On the way home you’d see some flashing lights in the rear view mirror and think, wow there’s a cop after some poor sap, and then the poor sap turned out to be you. “Good day, Occifer, what seems to be the troublem? ...What?.... WHAT? Oh. Okay, I’ll roll down the window.” And then the officer asks where I came from, and I tell him, well, I’m of Swedish descent, but my parents were American. The officer seems to have it in for Swedish Americans and tells me to stand on one leg for thirty seconds, and after 5 seconds I start to feel like a flamingo, and after 10 seconds I’m flapping my arms and I start to look like a flamingo, and after 20 seconds my defense doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
I was watching a “Cops” episode where the cops administered a field sobriety test by telling the guy to recite the alphabet without singing it. He started out okay, but when he got to L-M-N-O-P he started to croon just a little, and when he was done he almost added, “Now I’ve said my A-B-Cs, tell me what you think of me!” The cop thought he should be arrested. This officer tells me he’s going to let me go with a warning, so I warn him not to pull me over again. Today it’s much more complicated, and there are points on your license, and enough for two field goals is NOT winning score.
Are people just staying home and watching Netflix? I know it’s tempting to laze around in your pajamas, glued to an episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” You don’t have to wash your hair, find appropriate footwear, find a babysitter or talk to anyone more challenging than the cat. You don’t have to spend any money or get gas for your car. I get that. But what’s it going to be like if EVERYONE sits around in your pajamas in front of the television? It’s going to get crowded in your pajamas.
The same thing happens with pigeons if you don’t feed them: you don’t see them around as much. And that’s what will happen to your favorite eating and drinking establishments if you don’t show up in person once in a while. Places where people have traditionally congregated will dwindle, and we’ll be left with a homogenized trifling of chain restaurants and bars with that awful canned subscription service music that sounds like someone stepped on a cat over and over with a lot of reverb added to it. And then people will lose their ability to to argue about sports on a casual basis. And people won’t meet as many other people from nearby who share the same feelings about the local Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.
If people just hang out by themselves at home all the time, where are new actual experiences going to come from? We’ll be left with a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world where writers have only old perceptions to draw from, or things they found out about on the internet but never actually did. On the plus side, the internet is probably the best place to meet a crazy future ex-girlfriend, and she won’t know you’re wearing pajamas unless you tell her. If you don’t get out of the house soon you might just be the crazy future ex-boyfriend.
Join Rick and Trillium on Friday, March 13th, 5:00PM at DeCiccos in Somers for happy hour!
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