There has never been, and never will be, a more exciting sight than sitting down on a streetcar at 2:30am and seeing a drunk, middle-aged person sitting by themselves.
Now, I’m not saying that the idea of a lonely, drunk, middle-aged man on a streetcar fills me with joy, but something about them makes me happy. Primarily because those guys don’t give a fuck. I don’t know what it is about these guys, but they will talk to anybody: male or female, conscious or not. It’s a bit of an extension of people generally being more jovial when they’re wasted, but these middle-aged men and women don’t seem to be constrained by our occasionally odd societal norms. Do you have a burning desire to tell the 25 year old drinking a Slurpee behind you about how boss Grand Funk Railroad is? Go for it. How about talk about the time when you thought Bruce Springsteen meant something? Now’s the time! These people remember a world where The Godfather was in theatres, and tonight they’re more than happy to tell you about it, whether you care or not.
I suppose my fascination with these people is mostly inspirational. I enjoy how little they care; Eminem talks the ‘not giving a fuck’ walk, but Jimmy from Markham drunkenly stumbles that walk right into my face. And despite normally hating having to talk to strangers, these people are extremely interesting. I always imagine middle-aged people as having so much to do with their lives: I can’t picture a 45 year old version of myself stumbling home at 3am and passing out while watching a Michael Bay movie after explaining to somebody half my age how excited I am to do just that. I assume by that point I will have some sort of lawn to mow in the morning, and have fallen asleep ten minutes into the second period of the west coast Hockey Night in Canada matchup.
And most of the people I do see are like this: they have their lawn, and they often fall asleep before Jarome Iginla notches a point. But tonight they’re not thinking about those things. Tonight is the night into which they have to inject all of their remaining youthful enthusiasm. They don’t go out every week anymore, and they wouldn’t want to if they had the chance. So now, when they do have something that pulls them into a more stereotypically party night, they want it to be great. It seems like every time I go out, I see somebody crying. Since I’m both an expert eavesdropper and a total dick, I generally try to figure out what’s going on. Often it seems like the person with water streaming out of their face has been insulted by a potential romantic partner in some way, or they simply haven’t seen their night through in the way they wish they had. And it would be false to say there aren’t countless other people who feel the same way about their evening, minus the tears.
They should have kissed that person they didn’t know who walked up to them and said, “Will you kiss me goodnight?” They shouldn’t have done that extra shot. Or they should have just done that shot before that unknown person asked the question. When an old guy starts to talk to me about the merits of The Boss, I don’t see a sad old-ish drunk guy. I see a guy who knows what his life is about, and how he refuses to let anything stand in the way of enjoying his night. He’ll be hung over and watching the Bills game next to a bucket and some Aspirin tomorrow, but tonight is his night. Tonight he is in control. And I can’t wait to be comfortable enough to finally stop caring like this guy. After all, the kids need to know how great Wu Tang Clan is, and we need somebody to spread that gospel.