Hangin’ With The Homies

Today I have a sore ass.

I assume it is because yesterday I went on my first bike ride of the new year and not as a result of some sort of violent sexual assault that happened after I went to sleep last night. I was visiting some friends of mine, so you never know.

We headed to a local bar (local for them, just a bar for me) and had a drink and watched the middle-aged cover band play songs so the middle-aged crowd would have an excuse to sway their hips and lift their feet and move their elbows and hands in the rhythmic motions most commonly known as ‘dancing.’

On the first floor of this bar in a small well-to-do town in North Jersey not too far from New York City – Montclair – we found a large space crowded with 20 somethings and 30 somethings trying to look like 20 somethings. It’s not a particularly difficult acting job – just make sure you are confused and slightly or totally dissatisfied with your current allotment in life and everyone will be convinced of your youth in no time. If anyone questions your gray hairs or extra set of chins or layers of wrinkles, just tell them you spent your early 20s consuming copious amounts of drugs and alcohol and, sadly, the whole experience took quite a toll on your physical appearance. But you’re doing much better now, thank you very much. You only drink heavily on the weekends, and you refuse to have more than five drinks on a weeknight. You’ve made a lot of progress.

So, of course, we headed to the second floor. The second floor holds a large uncrowded space for the 40-and-up’s. Once you reach middle age you may get a bit weary of heading out on Saturday night to the local dive bar for cheap swill in a glass – the evidence is in the wide expanses of space between the 50-year-old women rhythmically shaking on the dance floor.

I’m not trying to be critical or insult these people. I certainly see myself heading straight for the dance floor and doing my own goofy dances when I am 45. I have all kinds of goofy exuberant dance moves that I employ now, and I can only assume they will look even worse and more unnatural with every passing year.

Instead, I simply have to hope there will be better ways of “going out” and seeing my friends and possibly meeting new people than what is available today. Or maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe we need to separate the two desires: seeing my friends and meeting new people. Focus on one or the other and look into the best ways to accomplish whichever you have chosen for the night.

Last night we were just hanging out with each other. We went out to a bar because, well, it just seems like when you get together you need to go out somewhere. We only had one beer each before we headed across the street to get subs at Quick Chek and back to the house for two hours of Halo 2. We spent such a little time out of the house that we were able to watch the first forty minutes or so of Superbad on TV and still be back in time for the ending.

But, in the future, all of our new interactions will be predetermined. You will be matched based on physical, mental, psychological, and artistic preferences and will be placed into a particular location that both participants feel comfortable inside. We will be matched perfectly and the chemical ingredients that we call “love” will begin forming and sending out vibrations throughout our bodies. These vibrations hit other “love” vibrations and identify with the other and relax in comfort at finding compatibility. The whole thing will be tied up neatly with a bow, but the only problem will be the complete lack of originality. Of spontaneity.

For those who value random acts of bizarreness, being placed together with your 100% compatible mate is the ultimate in premeditation. How can you satisfy the desire for spontaneity if you already know before you enter the building of your impending and complete comfort with this new person?

So, the whole thing will be slightly… off. Gone will be the times of stomach queasiness and sweaty palms because you are unsure if your partner is reacting to your characteristics in a pleasurable manner or secretly hoping your trip to the bathroom results in a taken-before-his-time heart attack on the toilet. Gone will be a racing pulse and a stumbling of words and a brief hesitation from speaking lest the wrong ideas slip out and fill your date with awful truths about your real, true, horrifyingly twisted character. Everything will already be settled and the suspense will be placed to the wayside and shot and killed and buried in a tomb somewhere in the Mojave for all to never see.

So, you – future you – get your match and study her characteristics and fall in love with her sublime choices in music and film, but you feel blinded by the whole operation and you feel trapped inside this square of utopia society – future society – has built for you. And the stark promise of long ago comes to fruition and you know you can not – must not – exist inside this prefabricated arboretum.

So, you burn the thing to the ground and take yourself down with it. The ashes swirl in the late winter’s air and the neighbors step outside and look at the gaping chasm where once stood a bastion to compatibility and shake their heads and wonder what the world has come to. The newspapers run it on their front pages for a week, and in the front section most of the next month. The confusion is replaced by weariness and a desire to resume normal functioning, and the neighbors – the citizens – quickly lose interest and, subsequently, forget the whole thing.

The chasm is filled and a new beacon is erected. Of course, this one will be better and bigger and taller and more compatible-r. And the cycle speeds on into the future, safe from dissident nonconformity.

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