Today I was on Bleecker and Lafayette, the block where my in-laws live, and I noticed that Two Boots wasn’t there any more. I hadn’t been by in a couple of months, so I didn’t know if I just hadn’t gotten the memo or if this had happened yesterday. Either way, it was very strange for it not to be there, and for a few moments I had that same feeling of not knowing how to react to it.
With the exception of the time I went to college and one extremely ill-advised year in San Francisco, I have lived in New York City for all of my life. In all that time I’ve watched it change and eventually turn into the unrecognizable luxury high-rise strip mall that it is today, but the one constant has always been people complaining about how much better it used to be in the past. I realized a couple of years ago that I am now one of those people. Maybe I always was, but I’m noticing it a lot more now.
Maybe it’s fatherhood, where I find myself constantly realizing that there’s this person in my life — who’s as integral to it as it gets and who I can’t imagine my life without — who wasn’t around for the majority of the time that I’ve existed. It seems amazing to me that for the biggest milestones in my life, like getting married, Roman was nowhere to be found. It’s amazing to me that my grandfather — who I was incredibly close to and who I still carry around to this day — never knew him.
Maybe it’s also just getting older and hitting midlife. At the job I just left, and maybe a little bit at the one before that, I noticed that I was getting older but my coworkers always seem to be younger, sort of like a reverse “Dazed and Confused” scenario. I would make jokes with pop culture references in them and get back stares, cricket sounds. I could briefly comfort myself by telling myself that they would have that experience one day too, but the schadenfreude that offers is brief and fleeting.
I guess this is all natural and I shouldn’t be too surprised by it. By as unemployed 45 year old person, there is a tendency to wax philosophical about how little time you have left to be relevant, and how much time you pissed away worrying about stupid bullshit that never mattered in the first place.