Every time you start to feel the sensation of emptiness, that all rivals amassed in your life have revealed themselves to be your enemies, and the thought of cleaning a razor and slipping into a bubble bath sounds super sexy, I want you to immediately look over to your calendar hanging in the kitchen (like the Norman Rockwell painting I know all of you live in). If the date is February and any number in the 20’s, I want you to sit down calmly at your wood carved, placement adorned kitchen table, and breathe out deep.
The world is not coming to an end, aside from the feeling contrary.
No, friends, it’s just the tail end of an East Coast winter, and any one who has lived through some know that irrational and often fatalistic thoughts are common during this glide into March. An everyday reality. And the City Of New York doesn’t help either. There is gleefulness in tragedy, like some dark season in a Dostoyevskian novella, that allows the human mind to feel that depression, sadness, and betrayal will be our only daily bread.
No kids, you just need a beach day.
The thing is that this is the most depressing time in NYC: snows been falling for weeks, the sun is replaced by a London Fog of grey doom, and the people have hidden themselves indoors OD’ing on House of Cards and True Detective.
Even Alec Baldwin came out to say he’s so depressed he’s going to move to Los Angeles (you’d have to be to move out there).
But as your bartender, I’m here to tell you everything is going to be okay. This is only a phase. Your friends are not out to get you. Your boss is not going to fire you. The girl/guy you have a crush on probably does like you back. You don’t have to spend all of your time on Tinder.
There are just a couple of things I want you to remember as we edge, slowly, through each unbearable degree of freezing cold (I think it was 3 degrees this morning out here).
Don’t buy that gun. Avoid abusing Percocet. Put the bottle of whiskey down. Stop polishing the blade. Try to remember these fun facts about these last weeks of Winter 2014:
This is a proven psychological affliction. Seasonal Affected Disorder. It means that the human mind and mood is ‘affected’ by the weather. Not in some paranoid ‘chem trails’ sort of way. It’s simple. Look at England. Want to know why the best music (rock and roll, especially) all comes from the British Isles? It’s grey as fuck (like Seattle) and the only thing left to do is lock yourself in a room and learn every Leadbelly song you can.
Or take Southern California. Why is everyone in such a chill and good mood? Easy: no seasons, endless skyline, and the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s very difficult to be depressed on the sandy beach watching the dolphins swim together before the silhouette of Catalina Island. Of course, being a pale-faced, scrawny New Englander freshly moving to Surf City U.S.A. from Rhode Island, I certainly tried my best to be depressed about it. I just listened to a lot of The Cure.
S.A.D. is real. So if you’re balancing on the edge of a building right now—stop. It’s too cold for that shit. Yes, people are meaner in this season. It’s because their insides are freezing cold. Give them a sunny day and watch the ice melt.
Here’s my foolproof plan each Spring/Summer/Fall day that clocks above 80 degrees. Get up at 9am, immediately head to Union Square. Send out a mass text of those that would join the adventure (yes, I’ve gone solo before and will do it again). I go and purchase two bottles of Prosecco. They go right into the cooler (ice can be acquired at destination). Then I grab one of the yellow lines all the way to Brighton Beach. It’s no more than a 40 minute (proper train jumping is key) ride for $2.25. Before you know it, you’re in Russian town, buying ice and chilled bottles of Vodka from the bodega.
We walk down the beach (which is never crowded at that hour) and set up camp. Towels are spread, umbrellas are dug in, and the weed is sparked. Nobody gives a shit about what happens out there as long as you keep a low profile. Then, after food, talk, several drunken swims, and other expressions of odd beach behavior, we walk down to Coney Island and watch the sunset drinking a Coors Light at Ruby’s, a nasty old glorious biker dive bar.
Don’t you already feel better? Whose on my list!?!
I don’t care if your grilling 25 pounds of ribs or sweetly charring heirloom mushrooms with chipotle butter. Any time the sun is shining, friends are drinking, and the music is pumping out in the afternoon light, times are great. Think of all those kids in Syria who don’t get backyard BBQ’s! It’s cheaper than a bar and far more intimate. Conversations abound, a blunt passed happily around, maybe even some dogs and cats running around our feet, these types of parties bring warmth to me, that’s for sure.
Y’all feel me on this one?
So buck up, buttercups, and ride this goddamn Winter out. So much more to come.
Till next time.
OH HUMAN SADNESS. I JUST CAN'T QUIT YOU.
WHO'S COMING TO BRIGHTON BEACH?