Tuesday, January 19, 2010

bar scene

It takes all kinds — in Newport (this rather old port), as anywhere. Contrary to gilded images and assumptions, the city (yes, it's a city) is rich with diversity. Landscape, history, residents, residences and wildlife all offer a wealth of variety, some of it unexpected and even unfortunate. Chapters of ugly history, for example. And, in mid-January, I will go so far as to say the party scene does not afford much of a wild life.

Still, there's variety beyond what one might think — among lobster, for one thing. The harbor floor must be teeming with them, judging by the abundance of pots bobbing cheerfully if annoyingly in the way of passing boats (who hope not to snag one) in summer, and piled high on docks around and about the Jagschitz Pier at the far end of Long Wharf in winter.

Strolling through Aquidneck Lobster at the end of Bowen's Wharf provides further evidence, in any season. It's such a pleasure, a treasure, a hit with the kids (and kids in spirit) of all ages: bubbling tanks hosting critters, including the occasional crab, of all shapes and sizes with their rainbow of rubber bands holding clenched claws together as they climb all over each other in
general clamour and pursuit of ... escape?? Rather like the bar scene on a Saturday night, yes?? Truly, the lobster dock and fishing pier are two of the most happening spots in town in mid-January. And fine places to pick up dinner.

One more needless thought: I wonder if the folks/friends down at Oldport Marine — on Sayer's Wharf this time — who run the launch service throughout the harbor, and have such wonderfully named vessels as Can-Do and Zoom, were making a joke decades ago when they named their Newport-based company Oldport. Of course they were — don't you think?? I'd just never "gotten" the joke 'til now, suffering as I do from blindness to the lovely ironies of home and the familiar.

And — honestly, I'll stop after this — doesn't that make the founders of this or any other town/city/port named Newport (there are many Newports) rather short-sighted, unoriginal and unduly optimistic when it comes right down to it?? I mean, we — you, me, Newport — can't be "new" forever. Furthermore, any wealth or image we're fortunate enough to possess in this undeniably old port of Newport all basically stems in one way or another from, um, I hate to say oldness or age, so I'll go with "maturity."

But it's certainly not Maturityport ...