hungry hearted

serving up a healthy portion of pop culture commentary, random infatuations, and introspective ramblings

new paltz, ny

Just shy of a week into my travels east, I was fighting exhaustion and glad to be heading back to New York. The little micro-universe of New Paltz is as familiar and comforting to me as a worn in t-shirt. I was relieved to know my calendar allowed for a few nights back home and it was perfect timing. Of course I planned it that way.

Thursday night in New Paltz is synonymous with 80’s night. This dingy hippie bar called Oasis sits on-top of a club of sorts called Cabaloosa and on Thursday nights while a jam band grooves away upstairs Cab’s pumps out 80s tunes and new-age throw backs to a dance floor of sweaty hipsters. Two summers ago when I moved back to NP, 80s night was a weekly shit show and responsible for some of the most ridiculous and noteworthy nights imaginable. The setup provides for the perfect balance. The dim lights, goofy jam band and back patio smoke lounge make Oasis my favorite bar in town, not to mention the sake bar and 420-friendliness. A perfect refuge when the downstairs dance floor becomes too much of a hot mess.

When I tried to lure Jim and the boys out for 80s night he declined in light of Ryan’s birthday bash on Friday, claiming he was too old to pull a double header. I told him I was exhausted and planned to take it easy. He laughed at this idea and predicted that I would, “get way out of hand and have no voice on Friday.” That bet would certainly be consistent with my old habits and what New Paltz often makes of me, but this particular night didn’t involve a bottle of Jager in the bathroom or blunts on the back patio. Maybe I’m growing up and maybe some of that is from moving on.

Somehow I fended off exhaustion and pulled off the double header swimmingly. In the long tradition of 80s night Kate, Sarah and I tried to pregame as hard as possible. Our efforts were pretty pathetic which may be another sign of the onsets of aging, or more likely the aftermath of a long car ride back from Philly. We met Jess at the bar and had some quality lady-love dance party time before Tim and Richard (who were driving cross country from CA back to NH) got into town. Their arrival created an impromptu MCLA mini-reunion. We worked it out on the dance floor throwing every move in the book into the mix and laughing in delight at the scene. Hilarity ensued as we drank and danced ‘til four and then finished the night right with some authentic NY pizza.

It was a funny coincidence that our crew that night in New Paltz consisted mainly of my college friends who were all visiting from out of town. It's really humbling to me to feel the warmth of bringing friends together. It's the kind of sappy shit I get all worked up about. It's fucking beautiful.

The following night was a similar scenario. It started at Cliff’s house on Tricor. It was a full-blown backyard brodown. All the usual suspects were milling around with beer cans appropriately littering the yard. The birthday boy declared himself a drunken mess shortly after my late arrival to no one’s surprise, and I hammered through my Harpoons making new friends and catching up with the old.

I’m going to be sad when Cliff sells that house considering the staple it’s become in my circle of friends over the past couple of years. When I lived in my studio apartment down the road I think I spent just about every night of that first summer either walking towdards campus to drink beers in their backyard or host a similar affair in my small dwellings. That was a great summer.

Just like old times our staggering posse wandered down the middle of Tricor towards Oasis discreetly chugging our beers. Ryan assed out, too drunk to join us, but we made sure to continue the celebration in his honor. What I had anticipated to be an early night was far too enjoyable to pull myself away from. That’s the thing about visiting home I never know when I’m going to see these people again so it seems all the more necessary to make the most of each moment before it passes. So I did.

Leaving the northeast has been a huge challenge and an amazing adventure. I’ve been really fortunate to build a strong foundation for myself down here, but when it all boiled down and I confirmed my decision to relocate to Austin it was a matter of weighing fears. Was it scarier to go or to never know? Trying and failing would hurt, but living with a looming “what if” would haunt me for sure and probably result in a pathetic display of a mid-life crisis. So I might as well be shameless and irresponsible now while I can still disguise it as curious nobility.