In the legandarily liberal and boozey bastion of Massachusetts, Happy Hour has been illegal since 1984.
In the deeply conservative and geriatric township of Naples, it’s alive and well: two for one, half off everything, complimentary antipasti buffet.
As I troll 5th Ave from 3 to 7 pm, hopping from one empty bar to the next, I wonder what I’m missing. If not the cool intellectual twenty-somethings who’ve traveled the globe (we’re a relatively rare breed), then the grand dames of Port Royal, the scions of American industry, French tourists. . . where is everyone?
I’ve come to understand that Naples is an epicenter of sorts. Nearly everyone knows someone whose parents or grandparents own real estate here. Do they all have personal chefs? Are they all going to Shoney’s for the early bird special?
I’m here in season and amazed at how empty everything is. The streets are full, but the bars and dining rooms and beaches are empty. Is the economy that bad? Am I going to the wrong places?
While there hasn’t been much engagement on my side of the bar, I’ve met some wonderfully interesting folks on the other. Bulgarians and Ukrainians and Frenchmen studying to be dermatologists, hydrologists and attorneys.
Screw the aging conservative corporate pawns, I’m pitching my tent with the immigrant working class.