If, for some reason you're in my home town and you've found yourself at in the frozen foods isle at Trader Joe's, or the DVD section of the library, chances are you'll see a once rare sight, me. That's right, the same guy who laughed this place off the day he graduated high school, who tailored his whole wardrobe to fit the Brooklyn scene, who gladly let his parents use his old room as storage, is back. The recession finally caught up to me and now I've swallowed my pride and moved back home.
It's frustrating leaving New York City to return to the old pond. For starters, I've had to deal with the awkward situation of running into old friends. A typical conversation: "Hey man, are you back in town?", "Yeah, I'm living in my parent's attic." and then "Oh, cool." No, high-school-acquaintance, you need to show me my due sympathy. I was just making it in 'the big city', earning money and living a cultured life. It was hard and I had to fight for it but it was worth it. Now, I'm back with my tail between my legs and it's embarrassing. That's not saying that because they're still here that they should be ashamed, they had different goals than I did. But if they were in my shoes they'd know how boring this place really is.
By the numbers, Bridgeport, Connecticut, is a city, but it's far from the bustling metropolis that is New York. If the public transit system in the Big Apple could be compared to a human brain, Bridgeport's would be the Neanderthal ancestor -- slower and smellier with hairier chicks. And even when I do ride the bus I can hardly find any stimulating place to go.
The lack of cultural stimulus is the hardest part. I now browse supermarkets like I did museums and walk mini-golf courses like I did parks. What they call night clubs around here are miserable Euro-trash sweat lodges filled with potential stand-ins for MTV's Jersey Shore. I spent my first week home trying to come up with schemes to get money quick so I could move back. The one that seemed most viable was the story I read about a fake parking lot attendant in England. He set up his own booth at a public lot and collected fairs illegally all for profit. He actually pulled this off for 20 years and when one day he disappeared, presumably to some remote island, nobody even knew his name. But my parents vetoed that idea and I'm just too lazy to look for a suitable parking lot.
The real truth is that I'm just another statistic of the recession. Forty percent of twenty-somethings will move back in with our parents at least once. And we'll change jobs an average seven times before we reach age 30 -- which for the record is the beginning of the end. But having to admit I'm just like everyone else somehow makes it worse. I don't want to be part of a statistical group, I want to go back to the city that never sleeps. But for now, I'm stuck here.
I come down hard on this place because I know everything about it -- or at least I thought I did. I was surprised to find out that downtown a theatre called the Bijou was just restored, showing classic and independent movies. I drive my mom's car down there on a sweltering Tuesday afternoon to see Hitchcock's The Birds. The Bijou has a great ambience. Having been originally opened in 1911 as a silent picture house much of the original trimming is still in tact. It offers dining and live music to accompany silent features.
So, I'm slowly coming as I come to terms with sad truth that I might be here awhile. If I'm going to survive I'm going to have to keeping finding little gems like the Bijou. My only hope is to make the best of a lame situation. And seriously, how bad can anything be when you've got access to the Internet?