I have seen the future, friends, and it's terrifying. This evening, during a long road trip homeward, my mother decided to stop at a bar in Belmar to see her favorite band play. It was not so fun. We all stood on a soggy deck outside a busted bar and listened to a bunch of aging cover singers. As a matter of fact, it was awful. Old fat people in tank tops and shorts were guzzling beer out of red plastic cups. I thought only college kids did that. It was the most depressing thing I've seen all summer. All I could think was, "Dear God, don't let me end up like these people."
But really, who am I to judge them? Even though they were chronically middle aged, badly dressed, and listening to an awful band out on a soggy deck that smelled of smoke and rotting fish, they seemed to be having a good time. Still, it was difficult to suppress the urge to shake them and say, "Open your eyes, people! You're not twenty-one! You're in freaking Belmar, for Christ's sake!" My parents kept telling me how much fun these people used to be when they were young. I simply could not imagine any of those folks ever being fun or young. While we're on the subject, I'm gonna bash Jersey. There is nothing there. Literally. Nothing. I don't care how much fun "going down the shore" is. It's not fun for me. Renting a house in Belmar and sleeping somewhere else may be where it's been but it's not where it's at. I have no interest in any of that. Why would anybody want to lay on the beach for hours, slowly subjecting themselves to skin cancer, and then going out clubbing with a bunch of guidos you could find anywhere else in the tristate area? The fact that a bunch of middle-aged folks still think that this is fun, and have conditioned their children to believe that it's fun, depresses me. Really. It's sad, kinda like drinking alone in an apartment out in Queens. Apparently, it doesn't matter where you are as long as your with your friends. Is it so terribly awful of me to say that I don't believe that's true at all? Because really, I'd much rather be sitting with my enemies and watching some indie band play Joe's Pub than be out out in Belmar, Seaside, or anywhere else on the Jersey Shore doing shots with my friends. It's okay if you want to call me a bad person. My own mother tells me that every day.
Depressing factor aside, going to that bar today was actually a pretty educational anthropological study. There was this one woman there, with sun-mottled skin, sagging boobs, platinum hair, and a skintight red dress, who was just sitting at the bar doing shot after shot. She was by herself and looked to be about fifty. It was so sad, but then I realized that looking at her was like looking through a time portal. She was some kind of Little Edie Beale, a relic left over from the past. This woman could remember a time when it was alright to wear red dresses after age 25 and people actually went to Belmar bars on purpose. The saddest part was that she wasn't the only poor unfortunate soul out there. Really, was there anybody there who didn't witness the Kennedy assassination? I have my doubts.