Everyone! This coming weekend, there’s going to be a big gathering of people! The big gathering of people will be in a neighborhood! This will be the first big gathering of people in a neighborhood in a long while! We will gather — and maybe we will even get a little sunburned!
Are you so ready for it? Here’s what else to expect at the upcoming big gathering of people in a neighborhood…
Pretty much all Saturday morning, afternoon, and into the early evening, we are going to gather in a neighborhood, filling its streets with our bodies. It will start with a 5K at 7 AM. Jim will win (just like he always does!). Shortly after, the official people-gathering will commence.
We are going to collectively (and slowly) walk around the neighborhood. We will eat mediocre, not-cheap food from food trucks, and listen to dad-bands of nearly adequate quality play cover songs that we do not particularly like (and even some originals that we definitely do not like!).
But it’s okay! Because we are gathering! Outside! In a neighborhood! On a sunny Saturday!
We are going to drink (kind-of-expensive) beer from beer trucks, out of plastic cups, and we’ll spill the beer on our hands and shoes as we walk and talk to our friends who are with us — gathering! Sometimes, we will even chitchat with people we don’t know! Most of the time, this chitchat will end in utter disappointment. But sometimes! Like 0.7 percent of the time? We just might trade Instagram handles! That’s a pretty good percentage! Way better than if we just stayed at home and looked at Instagram!
We will also relieve ourselves in port-o-potties that will deteriorate in smell and cleanliness as the day wears on. We are going to watch the high schoolers get totally wasted on beer, and we will secretly get annoyed with the young parents as they shove their strollered, whiny kids through the crowds of gathered people — parents who are so lost in the fog of early parenthood they actually believe it’s a good idea to bring their strollered, whiny kids to a big gathering of people in a neighborhood. Talk about drunk!
And, oh boy, we will daydream of tripping those middle-school kids who are yelling and running so free! And we are going to bump into neighbors Janet and Steve, who we don’t like because they are terrible people who use leaf blowers. But sure, we will talk to them here and now, in this gathering, for up to 30 seconds. Maybe that means we won’t have to talk to them later? Ever again?
And there’s a good chance we’re going to run into one or two exes — let’s plan our outfits now! We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to wave at them or nod at them or just look away. Or duck! Into the convenient camouflage of gathered people!
We are going to wander by artist tents displaying that special category of art one finds at a big gathering of people in a neighborhood. And we’re going to do the cruelest thing you can do to an artist — we’re going to give them false hope by wandering into their tent and “looking around.” We might even take one of their very creative business cards!
And then we will throw away the card in the first overflowing trash bin we see!
We will soon reach the end of the big gathering, where the cops stand unsmiling next to the orange construction barriers (remember those?!?), and we are going to turn around and search side streets for perhaps big gatherings of other people we haven’t yet seen, as well as one clean port-o-potty without a line. Or maybe just a side yard or alley?
Right about this time, we will resign ourselves to the fact that it’s time to go. But we will refuse to give up. We’ve been waiting so long for this! So, we will continue to wander and listen to those dad-bands and sip warm beer and hold our pee and get even more sunburned.
What a day! we’ll tell ourselves.
You might be thinking, What is so special about this big gathering of people in a neighborhood compared to other big gatherings of people in neighborhoods that we have previously attended? Well, there is no difference, other than the fact that we are older and we haven’t gathered in a long time! And like someone who hasn’t experienced childbirth in a while, we have forgotten what big gatherings are really like!
By 4 PM, most people will be stupid drunk, and the high schoolers will be throwing up in bushes and openly vaping, and we’ll be tired of hearing the same goddamned dad-bands — did they even practice once since the last big gathering? — and the food-truck food will be covered in flies, and the port-o-potties will have BIOHAZARD tape around them, and right around then, we will wonder again what we thought the big deal about this gathering was, anyway?
Well, the big deal is in the anticipation! Not in the actual doing! The doing sucks! (Particularly the 5K at 7 AM!)
The anticipation, however, is all about unfettered hope — this time, this big gathering of people in a neighborhood will be epic, and we will finally find someone to connect with, and we will hear “the next great band” and discover “the next Basquiat,” and our lives will be forever changed. We will drink rosé and call it Keyser Söze, and, oh, everyone will laugh.
And so! Let us all gather in a neighborhood this coming weekend! And let us all feel collectively disappointed as we take part!
But let’s also make the solemn promise to each other: We are definitely going to do this again next year.