An Open Letter to Port Jeff Village

Dear Port Jeff Village,

Is it just me, or am I getting super lame in my old age? (Or, as my friend Jon would say, lamesauce; Jess, on the other hand, would say Sir Lames-a-lot. Use whichever you prefer, or neither. It’s up to you.) I mean, just last week I had a 21-year-old call me old and I increasingly find myself opting to stay home in order to nap or watch American Idol because I’m simply too wiped out to leave the house.

And last night was the worst of all. I had plans to meet up with Jon at Tara’s, a pub, as you know, within your jurisdiction, where, he tells me, they sell burgers for $1. If you really feel like splurging, for an extra buck you can add cheese. As a vegan, none of this is appetizing to me at all. My point is, it was a quiet day at work and I should have wanted to meet up with one of my best friends for a couple of hours afterwards.

Instead, I took a nap when I got home. When I woke up, I was groggy, feeling anti-social and knew the idea of my going anywhere was a lost cause. But I didn’t really want to ditch Jon. I figured I’d accomplish the most important task I had planned for my day – finding the title to my crappy, old car so I could sell the heap of rubble for a quick few hundred bucks the next day – and then determine whether or not I felt like getting out of my pajamas and heading to Port Jeff. (I’m not driving the crappy old car around, by the way. My grandfather recently gave me one of his old cars, a shiny red Hyundai with incredibly low mileage that’s much newer than the one I’m currently trying to unload. In its heyday, whenever I borrowed it because said crappy car was busy being, well, crappy, I referred to it as the Grandpa-mobile, with its Support Our Troops ribbon-shaped magnets and bumper stickers that said things like, “My Grandson Is A Marine” or “Keep Christ in Christmas.” The only remnants are a tiny magnet on the driver’s side door that says “I Heart America” and the U.S. Navy floor mats under the driver’s and front passenger’s seats.)

Anyway, things went from bad to worse as I was searching for my car title, which I still haven’t found. I recall thinking to myself when it arrived in the mail after I moved back to New York, “This is a really important paper, Tiffany. Make sure you put it somewhere extra special so you don’t lose it.” Well, I hid it from myself so well that I can’t find it. And it’s not the first time I’ve done something like this. I lost my title in Massachusetts and had to order a new one. I’ve lost numerous bills I probably wasn’t planning on paying anyway, and also lost a W-2 once. Needless to say, I’m organized.

I tore my place apart last night, looking for this title. In doing so, it forced me to organize the Rubbermaid container full of paperwork that I’ve been ignoring for quite some time, basically the entire year I’ve been back in New York. This was quite overwhelming. And by the time it was over, I definitely wasn’t in the mood to go out.

And I just felt lame and old. Maybe I’m depressed, I thought. Or maybe I have an iron deficiency. No worries, though. I’m going to try some supplements – iron, vitamin D, St. John’s Wort – and see what happens.

But remember the good ol’ days, Port Jeff? The days when I’d visit often and could stay up all night and be awake by 8 the next morning, scarcely noticing that I’d gotten only two hours of sleep, if I slept at all. (Not to say my relationship with sleep is much better these days. We’re something akin to “frienemies” and will likely always stay that way.)

When I worked at Borders, one of the first outings I went on with my work friends was to Tara’s. I showed up underage and drunk – not the first time it happened – and the bouncer wouldn’t let me in. So I stood on the corner, with each of my friends taking turns watching me while the others drank inside as I shook the hand of every stranger who walked down the street, introduced myself and wished them a good night. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever actually been inside Tara’s.

That same summer, I found myself often hanging out in one of your many parking lots, generally with a bottle of booze, usually empty or in the process of being emptied. And one night I saw a werewolf.

I was drinking Black Haus in the parking lot just north of Tara’s and The Village Pub with The Legend, The Polish Girlfriend and my best friend at the time, Rich. I took a swig straight from the bottle (it was my bottle, after all, everyone else had their own drink of choice) and stopped dead in my tracks when I saw something dark and possibly furry in the distance down the residential street that separated the parking lot from the bars.

I threw my bottle into the woods, because I’ll be damned if I would let a werewolf steal my alcohol. And I yelled, “Weeeeeeeeeerewolf! Werewolf! Werewolf! Werewolf!” while running in the opposite direction of the werewolf, towards the main street, which was crowded with people and full of cars looking for somewhere to park. Lots of people stopped to watch me sprint down the road, including a rather confused policeman whose only response was to scratch his head and give me a befuddled look, or so Rich told me later. I was just grateful I wasn’t arrested.

My friends had to hop in one of their cars to look for me and picked me up about a half mile down the road. We went back to look for the Black Haus, but it was nowhere to be found. I was pretty pissed off because I figured the werewolf had gotten what he had wanted in the first place and had taken the bottle when I fled. Werewolves have excellent night vision, so I’m sure he was able to immediately spot the bottle wherever it had haphazardly landed in the woods. My friends, however, insisted there was no werewolf, told me I should never throw alcohol in the woods – or anywhere – and that I had probably just made some homeless man very happy. But luckily, my friends offered me some of their alcohol. I blacked out later and when they took me home they left me propped up on my front step, knocking on the door, thinking my parents would hear it. Except, they didn’t, and I spent a few hours on those steps, until my mom realized I wasn’t in my room and came outside.

And who can forget that one Halloween I spent on the downtown strip near the waterfront?

Rich dressed up like The Crow and hoped he would win an award at the costume contest being held at the bar we were heading to. We walked into the bar and there were five other guys dressed up as The Crow, all looking just as sullen and depressed about their unoriginal costume. I was dressed up like a pirate – hat, eye patch, beard I drew on myself and, of course, the most imperative accoutrements of my costume, the flask full of vodka, that had GROG written on it in Sharpie, and my plastic, children’s sword that made swashbuckling noises and said pirate phrases when I pushed the button on the handle.

Miffed that he wouldn’t win a prize, Rich decided we’d leave and head to a party at another bar he’d heard about. On our way out, I see another pirate. Me being a bit tipsy I decide to address my comrade. “Yarr! Ahoy there fellow pirate.” I raised my sword towards him as a symbol of piratical respect. He turned to me, looked me up and down, and said, “Well, ahoy to you too, but I’m a vampire, not a pirate.”

Oh well, I thought, next bar. Unfortunately, we forgot the name of the next bar. So we decided to call it Bartleby the Scrivener’s, even though I don’t think either of us was a fan of Herman Melville. And naturally, we forgot that was a made up name and kept asking random people we passed on the street, and even a cop, where Bartleby the Scrivener’s was.

Naturally, we never found the bar, but we did go to another one. We walked in on a costume party for gay men. We shrugged and ordered a drink anyway. At the bar I stood next to a flaming gay man who was dressed as a Christmas tree that was decorated in lights that actually lit up. Two of his friends were dressed as gifts. As we drank, we chatted with some of the guys there. Many of them were amused by my sword.

How I managed to have nights out like that night after night after night, especially during the week, I can’t even tell you. It makes me realize exactly how old I have gotten. I can handle one such night, maybe two, if the first one isn’t too crazy, and usually only on a Friday or Saturday. Some days after work, I’m too lazy to even take a drive down to the bookstore, which is only half a mile from where I live.

So what is it? Am I old? Depressed? Can I even blame an iron deficiency for my apathy towards leaving my house again after I get home from work? Well, I guess all I can do is give the supplements a shot and let you know how it works out. If they do work, though, I’ll make sure I pop by some night after work and we can catch up.


1 Comment

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One response to “An Open Letter to Port Jeff Village

  1. if you’re old, i’m old.

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