There’s a moment that happens to me every weekend so consistently that I am amazed that I still let it bother me. But it does. Somehow, at the end of an amazing Saturday night of dancing and bumping the beat and bumming drinks from my friends, I find myself sitting on a subway bench late at night alone. And I get depressed. This was last weekend’s version.
A buddy’s girlfriend threw him a birthday party at her parent’s bar. Which was awesome. Beers I’d usually spend 5 dollars on were given special BFF pricing. I took advantage of it. Old friends were there. His family showed up, who I’d not seen in a few years. Which was awesome. The DJ decided to remix his Best of 2012 list of indie, pop and rock favorites. Which was awesome. Altogether, it was, in every way, the kind of Friday night I would take every night for the rest of the year.
At the end of it all, I sat with my buddy Matt near the corner of the bar, drunkenly picking at his birthday cake and melted ice cream with an oversized spoon, drinking a Budweiser his brother had bought me that I didn’t want but obviously couldn’t refuse. His girlfriend sat on his lap and we talked quietly.
“I feel like I’m at the point of my night where I’m starting to think about things.” I told them. “That is the time,” his girlfriend remarked, “for you to go home.” I smiled and agreed.
I made my way to the G train and like every G train I’ve ever taken after midnight, it was like waiting for Hailey’s comet. I sit alone, listen to the random musician busking to the overnight party crowd and examine where I am.
In this moment, I feel very depressed. I feel honestly alone. I feel as close to something I’d want and then I am forced to concede that it was not, in fact, everything I’d have hoped for. If music and friendship and dancing and Brooklyn Brewery are not the keys to the weekend I’d want, there is something truly wrong. And I hate that. And I wonder if I’m the only one forced to face this realization.
I look at the vomit on the subway platform, I see crammed L trains at 3am, I see lovers quarreling, I look at the girl in the needlessly short skirt and wonder if we all got everything that we’d been wishing for that night. Had enough beats been bumped? Had enough booties been grinded? Had enough shots been downed? What in our previous weekends convinced us that this one would be different?
It is in this moment that I feel most 23 and I feel most like a New Yorker. Before my life has really only just begun, I’ve preemptively decided that life does not terribly matter. I’ve therefore no thought on religion or marriage or work or success. All I really want is to hear a great Lady Gaga remix, pay less than four dollars for a beer, and eat grits the morning after. And while the universe won’t argue with the pessimism of not caring, it won’t give me the benefit of sparing me the feeling of disappointment when something doesn’t. I try hard to not care and appreciate everything I stumble upon, whether they be a relationship or a job or an anything. As hard as I try, I can’t not care enough. At least once a week, life reminds me that I am human. Humans want things.
This might be called an existential crisis. And for months I’d come to call it that. And yet I’ve learned to be almost excited by it.
I get off at Astoria Boulevard. No matter the time and no matter the train, it is full. Dozens of kids descend from the station steps and I wonder if we all went out expecting everything, and which of us got it and which of us realized that it wasn’t enough. And, better yet, I leave slightly satisfied knowing that whatever their answers, I’ll see them all again next weekend.