The Fastest Day of Your Life

Tony Soprano, in a repeat on A&E of the late HBO series, during a therapy session with Dr. Melfi on the meaning (or lack thereof) of life:

“Seven. It’s a good movie, and I never seen it before. But half way through it, I’m thinking, this is bullshit. A waste of my fucking time. Why do I give a shit who the killer is? What difference is that information going to make in my life? (pause) What’s the point? You go to Italy, you lift some weights, you watch a movie. It’s all series of distractions ’til you die.”

Is Tony’s theory correct? Is life simply a series of distractions?

It seems that the existence of most tri-state singles boils down to a series of distractions while counting down to a specific day, event or season. For those unhappy or unchallenged in their careers, the countdowns become even more trivial:

The number of days until Friday.

The number of hours until lunch.

The number of minutes until a meeting is over.

The number of seconds that have passed since a dating prospect returned an email or text.

 Living and working in 2007 means being consumed by the passing of time. It is ubiquitous on our phones, computer screens, cable boxes and microwaves. As a result of our perpetual desire to get to the end of a relatively inconsequential countdown, we’re always looking for life to move faster. While counting down to pass the dry spells, some watch TV, others email and talk, while a few actually read and work out. It’s all an effort to make expedite the weekdays.

Just get me to 5 o’clock.

Just get me to the weekend.

Just get me to my next vacation.

Just get me to summer.

If this notion is true, then we as humans forfeit five days in exchange for two days of actual living. And if “Sunday blues” are taken into account, life basically comes down to a cheap two-night, one-day respite in Fun Town.

Maybe life really is a series of distractions.

But once in awhile, an event befalls us that literally brings colors as brilliant as fall foliage in the country back into sight. It is a day when anyone with a pulse, without a partner, residing in Manhattan or Hoboken is inspired to start a new countdown to in unison:

The Hunt.

Never will 10 hours go by so quickly…

Never will you see so many people slip and fall from a suction-like mud induced by rain from the night before. Sure it’s supposed to be sunny on Saturday afternoon, but Friday night’s rain will create deceptively hazardous conditions on Saturday. If you have boots you don’t really care about, wear ‘em. And wearing any form of white is the worst idea this year since the premiere of Cavemen on ABC.

And never will you run into so many random people from your past in your life.

For those four of you who haven’t heard of the affair, the Hunt is an social bonanza that has become the adult version of what Christmas morning used to represent to us as kids. It is one day (and in some cases, night) when everything feels different (Bloody Marys at 10 o’clock in the morning can make anything feel out of the ordinary). And like December 25, it occurs while surrounded by people we know and care about.

The Hunt—a steeplechase race/mega-tailgate on a farm in Western Jersey with 45,000 of your closest friends—potentially represents a single soul’s last chance to find someone to nest with before the lonely winds of winter whisk in. It truly is Hoboken’s (although it happens in Far Hills) last great outdoor event until St. Patty’s Day.

Think about it: Four months of hibernation.

You damn well better find someone—even if it’s a 160-day lease—to survive the short days and long nights. Because winter will be here soon…the one season that few have a countdown to…

And with Autumn comes the Yankees underachieving against another scrappy underdog, the Jets continuing to employ a quarterback who can’t throw more than 20 yards, and the young and the restless losing that bronzed skin perfected during the last summer.

For now, the countdowns are fixed on one of the few positives of the season: the Hunt. And on Hangover Sunday, otherwise known as October 21st, the countdown to Memorial Day Friday, May 23, 2008 will commence.

That will be only 220 days away.

In the meantime we need to find something else to count down to other than a three-day weekend in May that is a whole hockey season away.


Christmas parties?

New Year’s?

The Super Bowl?

Valentine’s Day?

March Madness?

Opening day at the Stadium?

They all don’t match up, do they?

Before we know it, we’ll all be counting down to our kid’s first day of school or that one time a month we can hire a babysitter to get our former lives back for an evening.

Until then, if we aren’t already there, we’ll have enough distractions to keep the planet mildly interesting.

See you at the Hunt.