For New Year’s Eve my husband and I hung out with friends, but I was also subject to one more round of let’s-see-how-many-ways-the-universe-can-play-a-joke-on-me. This month alone there was the Dog Thing and the Roast Thing and the Soup Thing, which some of you have heard about. Without getting into details, let’s just say they were all situations where they got so ridiculously over-the-top that the best way to deal was to laugh. As for last night, I don’t know which was more annoying, the fact that I lost a really cool glove, or that I burned a hole in my favorite fleece pants lighting off a bottle rocket. (Do you know how hard it is to find a good, inexpensive pair of fleece pants that have pockets?) Or maybe it was being subject to all that oh-my-gosh-who-will-Ryan-Seacrest-kiss insanity. #1, why should I give a rat’s patootie, and #2, can they fit any more advertising on those stupid New Years hats they wear in Times Square? The only thing I have to say about all that is, thanks a lot 2010. I should’ve known you’d have to get in one last shot on your way out.
With Christmas being so weird for me I guess it should be no surprise that New Year’s was, too. I know everyone else is going all Auld Lang Syne on the internet these days, but I’m not buying into the hype this time around. 2009 was a tease, and so was 2010. Nothing terrible happened in either year, but they both felt like month upon month of hard work, broken promises, and unfinished dreams. They were too busy, too stressful, and they left me exhausted.
I’m sorry to be so cynical. I know everyone else is writing posts about hope, resolutions, and goals. But here’s the deal. If you don’t have expectations, you can’t be disappointed. I don’t want to set myself up this year. I think I’ll just go along for the ride. I have some personal writing goals, but the truth is, so much of what I want is out of my control. I’m tired of being plagued by desires. I think the Buddhists have it right on that count. Maybe if I let go of my longings, the suffering will disappear along with them.
Really I have nothing to complain about. Some of my friends and family members have had terrible things happen to them in the past 24 months. I’ve experience some very good fortune and generosity in that same time. I’ve made new friends and connected with old ones. By all rights I should be grateful and count my blessings. But mostly I’m just tired. That soul-crushing tired where you have a total meltdown because the checker at Fred Meyer didn’t use your cheese coupon, but instead tucked it back into your bag. And the only reason you bought that freakin’ cheese in the first place was because you had the coupon. So my main hope for 2011 is to have it be more peaceful than the last two years.
But, much as 2010 was a pain in the butt, I’m kind of sorry to see it go. I was just getting used to it. It was comfortable, like an old pair of jeans. To me, New Years feels like getting shoved out of the nest. I worked so hard to make it to December, and now they want me to start all over again from the beginning? Seems a little harsh, don’t you think?
Besides, January is a smug little month. Whereas December is cool, dark and soothing, January is all in-your-face with its bright, sparkly newness. It has all this promise, but it’s hiding secrets. Take last year for example. While I was working outside in an unusually warm February, I was full of hope for things to come. Little did I know that the coldest May in 20 years and wettest June on record were lying in wait. Little did I know that the summer would be much cooler and cloudier than normal, September much wetter, and that “fall” would linger into mid-December while the leaves clung to the trees like a little kid on the end of the high dive, refusing to jump.
I know what you’re thinking. So the weather sucked. So what? Let me just put it this way. Weather is safe to talk about, not too personal, not likely to get you into any trouble. But as we writers know, it can also be metaphorical for what’s going on in the rest of the book. So rather than complain about other things, I’ll just keep it on a meteorological level.
Before I wrap this up, I’d like to direct one little rant at the Lang calendar people. Why did you have to start making your calendars 1/8 of an inch narrower so they don’t slide into your personal calendar holders smoothly anymore? Every month I have to fight the darn thing, adjusting it “just so” to keep it from sagging out. I thought maybe the one I got last year was an anomaly, but no, I’m having the same problem with this one. Did you have some executive meeting where you decided you could save millions in manufacturing costs by shaving off that little strip? Or is it an evil plot to get me to buy a new calendar holder? And what about this picture for January? Do you seriously think I want to look at this all month? Don’t you know denial is one of my best weapons, and you’re dulling its edge?
Okay, rant over. I’m going to go look at the date and marvel over all those ones in a row. So long 2010. Don’t let the door smack you on the butt on your way out.