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Posts Tagged ‘st. patrick’s day’

Sir

About a month ago, I attended  Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day. I wrote about HSPD before on this blog a couple of years ago. As I put it then, “From the ages of 24 to 26, Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day was my Christmas Morning.” I lived in Hoboken from 2006 to 2008 with my roommate, Mike, and each year we threw a HSPD party at our crappy apartment.

Even after moving out of New Jersey in 2008, I continued to attend HSPD nearly every year. Mike still lived in Hoboken with his wife, Linda, and would still invite me in either to his place or to a party he knew of. It was an excuse for me to cross-state lines and get together with him again. I jumped at the chance to reminisce about our own parties back in the day.

Yet as the years went by I began to eclipse various milestones that took me further from my days in Hoboken: I hit age 30; my girlfriend moved into my Manhattan apartment with me; we got engaged and later married; and my drinking tolerance waned (and I acquired a taste for better beers). As a result, I found it increasingly difficult to muster up the necessary alacrity for yet another HSPD celebration.

Still, this year—just a month after my 32nd birthday—I found myself in Mike’s younger brother Matt’s Hoboken apartment for the second year in a row, huddled into the corner of the room with Mike, his wife Linda, and my wife, Kim.

Just a week before, we were celebrating my belated birthday with two other couples, including Mike and Linda. Kim tried to sell it as a “boozy brunch,” evoking the unlimited mimosa-fueled meals we might have had in our twenties, but in reality the brunch had been decidedly tame—the way we all seemed to prefer it. We had a delicious meal, a great conversation, and no one was sloppy drunk by the end of it.

In the week between the “boozy brunch” and HSPD, Kim said she was worried that she’d feel old at Matt’s party, even though at 28 she was just two years older than Matt and most of his friends who would be at the party. If anyone at the party was going to feel old, I assured her, it would be me.

As the four of us caught up on “adult” topics like house hunting and promotions at work—with Matt interrupting occasionally to make sure we were having a good time—Kim suggested we try to get on the beer pong table for the next game, which Matt arranged for us.

Our game lasted about ten minutes before we lost, albeit respectably, with just a few of our cups remaining on the other side of the table. As we shook hands with our opponents and walked away, I heard a female voice say, “Sir…sir…”

I slowly turned towards the voice, praying that she was talking to someone’s dad standing behind me. But I knew better.

It took about a second for Mike and Kim to process what had just occurred, before they both started laughing. Recognizing that a harsh reaction would only make the situation worse, I smiled and accepted my role as the elder statesman of the party and approached the girl who had called me “sir,” one of our beer pong opponents.

“Did you just call me sir?”

“Yeah. I’m an English teacher. I wanted to say I like your shirt.”

I was wearing an old t-shirt I’d purchased from one of those novelty t-shirt websites back when I was living in Hoboken. Back then I couldn’t afford to “dress to impress,” so my strategy was to “dress to amuse” with an extensive repertoire of funny t-shirts. This particular one bore a bust of Shakespeare with the caption “Prose before Hos” underneath. At 32 I found that HSPD was the only place I could still appropriately wear the shirt—besides, it was green.

Her being an English teacher, I suppose, explained why she liked my Shakespeare shirt. But she’d done nothing to assuage my hurt feelings about being called “sir” at a party full of people in their twenties. The even harsher reality was that she didn’t even realize that calling me “sir” might have been insulting—to her, I was so obviously older than anyone there that it was the only appropriate way to get my attention. I would have much preferred a ruder but more age-neutral “Hey!”

When Mike and Kim finally stopped laughing, we unanimously decided that my youth was officially over. I haven’t yet made a decision on whether I’ll ever come back to HSPD, but if I do I think I’ll avoid the beer pong table.

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