Welcome to Crazyland (or: Walking Rochester on St. Patrick’s Day)

NOTE: No parts of this writer or the writer’s car were harmed during the making of this commentary.  The various incidents described in this are surprisingly true.

For someone who has always had a hard time fitting in or finding a relationship, those things can be hard to deal with on random days.  Yet there is one day I don’t feel such guilt or depression - and all the better.

On St. Patrick’s Day, Rochester turns into Crazyland - where there are no rules, anything goes, drinks are available everywhere, and everyone can just act as wild as they want without a care in the world - unless you get caught.

Before this Saturday in March really began, I had watched a harrowing sight while getting out of a parking garage.  A man looking to be in his 50s was being revived - or attempted to be - by a waiting officer.  Friends and a woman who had to be his wife stood by nervous, or helpless in the situation.  The day hadn’t even begun, the parade was still hours away, and there was already a chance of tragedy occurring on St. Patrick’s Day - hopefully that wasn’t to be.  Then morning became afternoon, and the atmosphere changed - drastically.

I only go to check out the parade on St. Patrick’s Day, and when the weather is good (temps in the 70s with sun & clouds), the crowd goes in the thousands.  That means lots of pushing and shoving just to get from one end to the other, and it could take longer than a regular walk down East Avenue downtown on an average day.  People decked out in their best green were fighting to get a good view of the parade, and then there are those who just wanted to get back to their cars or find their friends to go to the nearest bar or pub.

It seems St. Patrick’s Day now has become a perfect excuse to get drunk early, drunk in the middle of the day, drunk late, and drunk often.  Now this writer has never had the moment of being plastered in alcohol, and it’s probably for the better.  Sometimes strange things can happen when one is so lost in the drink - they can scream, dance in a not-so-funky style, throw cups and bottles on the streets, and it seems the only thing they say is “Whoooooooo!”  Maybe in Crazyland, that word would be the official motto.

The later afternoon showed one of the more outrageous moments this writer’s eyes has ever seen.  Outside a bar at the corner of East and Alexander, a crowd was mobbing the entrance.  Two guys were having a verbal argument - over what they were arguing about, who knows.  Yet the verbal became the physical, as the men suddenly got to a fistfight and grabbing each other’s shirts.  Their friends were helpless in trying to stop them, and even two officers & the bar’s security took a long time to subdue the situation.  After taking a few steps back to avoid the situation, I just had to say to myself: “All of this just to go to a bar?”  A younger gentleman turned to me and said, “It’s St. Patrick’s Day, what do you expect?”

It seems on St. Patrick’s Day, wherever one lives, their city or town becomes Crazyland - and even Rochester is no exception.  People go from bar to bar looking for excitement, thrills and drinks, all on the same repeat cycle. Friends and lovers take in the atmosphere in the hope of having a good time, or just acting as crazy and/or stupid as they want to be.  Yet this writer doesn’t feel saddened about not feeling a part of it - getting drunk, possibly facing down a fistfight, and trying to locate lost friends in the middle of a wild scene isn’t exactly an idea of a good time. 

As it was said at the start, sometimes it’s hard to feel being a part of a group or having a relationship.  What does it have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?  In the traditional sense, the answer is probably nothing.  Yet it’s better to get through the day intact than dreading the inevitable hangover for the Sunday after.  There’s no worry about finding a potential love or making friends on this unofficial holiday of getting crazy.  Can this writer get a “Whoooooooooooooooooo!” on that, with a crazy dance to go along with it?  Even behind a computer, it would look really embarrassing - especially if this writer tried doing all of that.