Every ending is a new beginning.
I have been writing the In-town Rundown for more than five years. This will be my final Thursday column.
I was at a local bar on a recent Saturday night waiting for a friend. To help pass the time, I chatted with the guy sitting next to me. The place was packed, so crowded with college students too inebriated to stand that it was impossible to move and equally as difficult to have a conversation.
As he sipped his drink, he remarked, "I feel so old! I just turned 24."
I am 26.
If I hadn't made up my mind before, that was the moment I knew I was truly and thoroughly finished writing about a topic better suited to someone for whom "downtown" holds the key to whatever they're looking for.
The students are younger every year; this year they may as well be embryos. Maybe it's just me but this year's batch of college students seems especially raucous, and every weekend night they're out in droves. They remind me of the film, "Gremlins," wherein a youngster is gifted a strange creature called a Mogwai, along with specific instructions for its care. He is warned to never feed it after midnight or else it would result in the creation of voracious, ill-tempered Gremlins. It's the same thing with the local bar scene on the weekends something inauspicious happens after midnight. It's total anarchy out there.
Most nights, I'd rather be home - not out in a crowded bar with obnoxious drunks shoving into me and spilling drinks on my favorite shoes. That is no secret to my readers it's the reason why I also wrote about other sources of entertainment such as television, movies, and a wide variety of other activities happening in the area. Sure, it's fun to get out and get together with friends. We all have our favorite haunts - mine are generally characterized by quietness and a low-key atmosphere. In fact, my preferred haunt, the White Inn lounge (now called Squire White's), may literally be haunted and that's the way I like it. I listed various events in my column each week, often about what bars were having live music and what bands would be playing that weekend, but they typically weren't on my to-do list. I don't like a lot of racket.
When then-managing editor (and now publisher) John D'Agostino gave me the assignment to continue on a weekly local entertainment column begun by two writers who had moved on, I happily but hesitantly agreed. I wasn't quite sure what I would do with it.
"Just be yourself," he said.
At 21, I was not really sure what that meant yet. Through the years, I've tried to figure that out as I went along. I put my own spin on it while sticking to the format and expanded it to include topics that I hoped would interest a more varied audience.
I have had the opportunity to interview some incredible people and help spread the word about projects and parties benefiting worthwhile causes. I have been able to connect with members of the community I otherwise wouldn't have known who have reached out to me to share their thoughts, sparking some interesting discussions about issues affecting our area or simply to chat about a new television show or movie. It's been a privilege.
I just want to express how thankful I am for the support from my readers over the years. It's been quite a journey - but this is not goodbye. I hope you'll stay in touch and share your thoughts and ideas with me as I end this chapter and start a new one.
You can find me on our website, www.observertoday.com, where I'll be posting on my blog more frequently and perhaps therein will continue some of the pieces I enjoyed writing most it's never long before I can find something new that "grinds my gears." I've just joined Twitter (AprilDiodato) and although I have yet to write a Tweet, it is my goal to begin doing so, and hopefully about topics more interesting than what kind of sandwich I've had for lunch. I also plan to write columns on a variety of topics on a sporadic basis and features for my Sunday Lifestyles section, which is where my passion truly lies.
Have a wonderful holiday - and I'll be seeing you.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org