Last night, my Facebook (subscribe!) post read: Hanging out with Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times Editor in Chief, John. Good times. I lied, but not about hanging out with him. His brothers were along for the night, and his youngest sibling’s friends were there as well. John is my age, and he does (in fact) work for The New York Times. Although he is not Editor in Chief, he does have his name attached to a project that generated a Pulitzer, and that’s (almost) as credible as acquiring one himself. He will get there sooner than later. I always give him that title and credit, because I want to boost his ego.
He’s probably one of the nicest guys I know, and would probably never rub anything in anyone’s face.
At The Blue Tusk, we sat in the way, way back at the large table in the enclosed corner, and the group’s number just fit. We tried playing a game, but this was unsuccessful. A suggestion to break out Cards Against Humanity (a little obsessed) had been mentioned, but we were going to bounce from bar to bar. As I sipped my Smuttynose IPA, the oldest three of the nine kids joked about the age gap. The 21-to-23-year-old population were speaking a whole different language. Their quips sounded like inside jokes, but we knew they were clearly references to pop culture and media. It was compelling to feel as if I was back in Italy again, hanging out with my cousin and his friends, joking in Italian. Similar to that experience, we three elders interjected with laughing, awkwardly, with the rest of the group. The kids looked at us, oddly, questioning our attempted success at assimilation.
The majority of the time, the elders listened in and tried to grab onto common topics. The age difference was explored, because I mentioned that John and I have been friends since 1997, freshman year of high school. Does that make us sound old, I asked. Yes and no. We are presumed to be older than we are… and look for that matter.
We had the same feeling when entering Empire Brewing Company. First, Tusk was busy-ish. With everything going on downtown, we figured it would be jam-packed. The same was assumed with Empire; however, it was less populated than Tusk. The next venture was Al’s Wine & Whiskey Lounge, which was deemed too crowded (not in my opinion), and so we moved to Syracuse Suds Factory, where I enjoyed a nice cold glass of water. Suds, as predicted, was not packed at all.
It was strange, bar hopping. I haven’t done that in almost a year, and it’s different when you hit 30. It’s one thing that I have noticed. I don’t go out, seeking to get shit-faced, sauced, obliterated, schnockered, smashed, pissed, or whatever the terminology is currently. As my buddy, Bill, said–while planning his visit to Syracuse: it’s quality, not quantity. Our bodies cannot tolerate the continuation of our former practices of college and post-college binge drinking and partying. It’s particularly beneficial to not feeling hit like a bus in the morning; if it happens once in a great while, so be it. It’s probably inevitable.
There was a great conversation had with the middle of the brothers, where we spoke about living and adventuring on Tipperary Hill. We both know that living there is great and convenient. However, not being a part of that scene, bouncing from bar to bar and feeling like shit is not fun anymore. Not to sound like an asshole or point fingers, I know people who lived there before or right around the time that I moved there, and some still live there. Some of these people are functioning members of society–I don’t want to seem like I am coming down on each and everyone–to shift the stigma. However, I still see the older folk looking and acting the same as they did when I was 23 to 25 years of age. There is no intention to pigeonhole people, and I am not simply because it’s the truth.
What I can say is on a personal level: since leaving the Tipp Hill scene around 27/28, I have found myself in a better place mentally and physically. I was bigger then, not obese, but I did weigh more and wasn’t in great shape. There were significant moments and bouts where I loathed who I was; there were many days where rolling out of bed and looking in the mirror were forced.
It’s funny how we late-20’s to 30 year-olds are significantly different when compared to the early-20’s crowd. We aren’t yelling at them to get off our lawn, but–due to our experience–we’re in some ways telling them that they are doing it wrong when it comes to some aspects. Its not that we should intervene, and we will not. We somehow feel old when we’re not. I don’t feel old. There is the desire to understand, but we can’t or simply do not feel like it. We have our own lives.
They don’t even have MTV anymore. Well, these kids do, but it wasn’t our MTV.
We’ll live vicariously through them and allow them to live and make mistakes just as we had. They won’t learn unless they fail and fuck up. One can learn a lot in seven to nine years. We’re still making mistakes as well, but we are seasoned at least; we know how to brace for a fall. However, sitting back to people watch with popcorn in hand isn’t such a bad seat.