"I'm Selling Out and Buying Fat Pants"
In blink of an eye fashion, things start passing you by, and you are often left watching from your porch with a glass of lemonade or from the pavement after being trampled.
I guess it depends on where you are when you realize this inevitable fact of life, or rather, how you feel about the magnitude of this realization.
I guess it comes down to the double entendre of how badly you are trying to 'keep your cool' if you know what I mean.
There are obvious signs that your window is starting to close as far as being part of the fraternal order of 'creatures of the night' or the grandpumba of 'wild and crazy' guys and it's very interesting to watch it close in an area that is so unbelievably built around people holding onto both of those ideals.
There was a time when the only time that I would stay home on a Friday night is if I was out of money or had a really big Saturday morning planned, but even then it was a stretch. These days, however, by the end of the week, I dream more of my fat pants more so than I have ever dreamed of fighting my way through a sea of fat girls to get a drink. In this town however, staying in and liking it makes as much sense as giving up gambling after buying property in Las Vegas.
We got a visit from my old roommate from college the other night and it was the first time that I met his five-month-old daughter. It's a surreal experience to hold the child offspring of a person that you've known for a decade especially after you recall your first conversation occurring post a collegiate hockey practice over death dogs and suicide sodas at a Central Pennsylvania Sheetz.
It's weird how life long friendships start in the weirdest of places.
So, as I looked at his daughter and was suddenly reduced to cute baby-babble, I was trampled by the magnitude of the realization that the aforementioned window has been closed for some time, and I'm eerily okay with this as I've been looking out of a new window for longer than I've realized. Basically, the new window that you are looking through is essentially the eyes of your child, and there are bigger things to worry about than holding onto your youth. Rather, you want to hold it all together for your youth.
In other words, I'm cool, with no longer trying to keep my cool.
With all this said, I think there is a fine line between progressing into adulthood and embracing things like weekend lawn maintenance as 'big plans' or having your five-year-plan include bigger things than just dating a salsa/meringue dancer; and falling into a yuppie-purgatory where the biggest thing that you ever aspire to do on a weekend is hunt for the elusive white whale of wicker furniture at the new Bed Bath and Beyond outlet and celebrate your victorious catch with a •€˜pick 2' combo from Panera Bread.
I think the difference is the amount of khaki pants that one person may own, although that theory may never be proven.
There is a time when you trade in your hipster skinny jeans for a good ole fashioned pair of fat pants and curling up on the couch is your truest and most gratifying form of contentment. In this town, there are some that are fighting tooth and nail to stop that from ever happening to them (The cougs, the resurgent playboys, the has-beens, the never-was, the youthful not-quite-yets, and the persistent can't-let-it-go's.).
See, this moving on for me happened long ago. I guess I just revisited it this past weekend, while holding my former roommate's little girl. It was a beautiful little moment, and I wonder if it was obvious that I was beaming with pride and frozen in the sudden reminder that sometimes the things that are endearing and quirky about a person when they are young become the same things that bring them ridicule when they are older.
This is kind of the way that people think of art and creativity in this area.
This town sucks if you are a creative person, especially if you have any kind of art to showcase that doesn't include seascapes or seashells.
Although it could be argued that the Shakespearean voice of this area is the slogan writer of the dirty boardwalk T-shirt or Delmarva's Wolfgang Puck being limited to creating a masterpiece only with Sysco Products, (which is like Mozart trying to write a requiem with a kazoo) I've realized that no matter how hard you try to spin it, or candy-coat the bitter pill for you to swallow, this area is never gonna' change. It's too 'good ole' boy' for change.
The business that is (but not really for arguments sake) happening in Berlin is a perfect example. It sounds to me like the guy that put in a sex shop in north Ocean City had an easier time getting up and running than the deli proprietors are having at getting started in Berlin.
All I have to say is this: They had delis 100 years ago and keeping to the historic quality of what the town was vs. what the town should be in the future seems to kind of be Berlin's M.O. so why not the deli? Why would people stop in Berlin to see the beautiful little town if there is almost as many vacant shops on Main Street as there are open shops?
I look at all the writers or even artists that I ever admired or wanted to emulate and realize that they were for the most part miserable bastards that just happened to be blessed/cursed with some sort of vision of the way that things are or should be, or used to be.
Even if I was blessed with some stroke of any of that, I feel that perhaps I'm at a point in my life where I need to close that window and start enjoying the things that are happening in this world/or passing me by from my porch with a glass of lemonade so to speak, rather than have my prose sound like the jack's bitter and enraged broken dreams screamed from the pavement, destined to make children cry or seek therapy at my son's future school career days.
Especially if the words are falling on deaf ears or closed ones, and they are viewed with as much value as arguing the color difference in two cars painted 'bone' and 'ivory.'
I realize that 'Outside the Bubble' might come to signify how little this area will ever change, thus keeping ideas and thoughts like mine on the outside.
I'm considering closing the book on this column. I would like to hear the readers' feedback on this matter before I make a decision.
It's not that I've got nothing to say, it's rather that I'm starting to think that I would feel better about myself as a man/father/artist if perhaps I just shut my mouth for awhile.
I just hope that they sell fat pants at Bed Bath and Beyond.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.