Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year

It’s 3:21 in the morning of the new year, and I can’t sleep. Must’ve been the beer(s). I’m not upset or worried about anything. I paid the taxes. I wrote thank you notes for gift bearers I couldn’t thank in person. The house is clean. (Relatively.) I just can’t sleep.

So I came out to write.

Being the only person awake in the house is something I do enjoy, although usually I enjoy it more when it’s a more reasonable hour, like 5:30 a.m. One of the cats knows I’m awake, though, because he woke up when I came out to the great room to fetch the iPad and right at this very moment he’s trying to sleep on my forearms, causing me to type blind. Thank goodness I learned how to touch type all those years ago. The other cat is asleep in her little cat house and is, for all intents and purposes, deaf. She’s not gonna wake up until she has to eat or pee. Which is how one should sleep.

I think the cat on my lap just passed gas. Gross. Maybe this middle of the night writing thing isn’t so romantic.

Okay, I shifted the cat to the couch next to me (where I’m still unfortunately within the sphere of influence should he decide to release any other odors) and discovered that I’m not nearly as good at touch typing as I thought. I had to go back and fix seven errors. Humbling, to be sure.

I suppose I should be writing

  1. A reflection on 2014
  2. Thoughts on a new year
  3. Bullshit resolutions that I won’t keep and will only disappoint myself after their – my – inevitable failure

I don’t feel like writing any of that. So instead I’m writing about my gaseous asshole of a cat. Riveting.

I do have ideas of things I’d like to work on this year. I just don’t want to call them “new year resolutions.” They are more of “I have to do these things or I will surely suffer goals.” I need to eat better. And less. Far less. I need to write more. I need to start photographing again (which I have incentive to do, given that I have a fancy new camera that, while beautiful, is also exceedingly frustrating in its newness and my inability to use the damn thing without thinking…also known as The Curse of New Gear).

It’s that simple, really. Eat less. Write more. Photograph.

And move. I need to start moving again. I’ve been largely sedentary for months now, despite being extraordinarily busy. It’s amazing how busy one can be without really moving at all. I feel rather like one of the villains in the James Bond movies we’ve been watching. “Look at how much I can control my empire from this awesome, foreboding, and extremely comfortable black leather chair. Mwah ha ha haaaaaaa.” I do not, however, have the power to eliminate those who displease me with the touch of a button. That would be cool. File that notion under “I wish I had a phaser that I promise I would wield benevolently…and/or the ability to smite.”

Anyway, I need to move more. This holiday break that M and I have been on has not been conducive to moving. It has, however, been conducive to reading. I’ve knocked out three books and will probably down a fourth before I have to return to work on Monday. Exercise for the brain. I have learned that I am no longer impressed by someone’s ability to write a book’s worth of words and then get themselves published, although that is impressive in and of itself. I have learned that what I read must also be written well, with just the right amount of description and an engaging plot that makes me want to miss sleep. I have learned that there are fewer writers who do this than I thought. I have also learned that sometimes I disagree with the New York Times Book Review and this little revolt makes me feel like I have high standards and can be snotty about it. File that under “I learned proper editing marks at The World’s Finest School of Journalism and I know grammar so suck it.” The grammar thing is a little tricky, though, because I know it by gut, by instinct. I know what a split infinitive is (and feel comfortable splitting, despite old-school Latin students screaming in agony whenever it happens) and I know that even though ending sentences in a prepositional phrase is becoming more accepted I will avoid doing so at all costs. But I can’t really tell you what is a gerund. So it’s not like I’m Queen of All Grammar. I guess I’m more of a Knight of Grammar, roaming the countryside and wielding a red pen to abolish extraneous apostrophes. Or maybe wielding it from my awesome, foreboding and extremely comfortable black leather chair. And by that I mean my old, perfectly broken-in couch that has enough cat hair on it to build another cat and that comes with a smelly cat. Maybe not so foreboding as much as furry. Furboding. Is that a thing?

Holy shit two people just walked by outside, shattering my illusion that the gaseous asshole cat and I are the only two awake in the world. Even that cat has fallen asleep on the couch next to me. So, okay, to recap, it’s just me and the two idiots out for a stroll at 3:46 in the morning of the new year. Fools. They could be sitting on a couch writing, for Pete’s sake. (Obviously when given the choice I shall pick writing over physical movement. This does not bode well for my fourth non-resolution goal-ish to move more.)

I thought that by getting up and writing I would eventually start to feel sleepy and would wrap this up, post it, and climb back into bed. I’m not feeling sleepy. I feel absolutely wide awake. This is not good.

So I shall tell a story.

We all stayed up tonight to count down to the new year and then we missed it. Or nearly missed it. We realized with two minutes to go that probably Sports Center was not going to show the ball dropping in Times Square. Every year we watch the ball drop in Times Square (taped, of course, because we’re all aware of time zones and how they work) and count down together and then toast and kiss and hug. So at t-minus two minutes someone said, “Hey…this isn’t the right station!” We quickly found Pitbull’s New Year’s Something or Other, which confused the shit out of me because I still can’t really comprehend that Pitbull is a thing. No one can tell me why he is suddenly so popular and everywhere, and now I have another question to add to the Pitbull list: who the hell gave him his own New Year’s Eve special? Ryan Seacrest broke onto the New Year’s scene but has to be content with his show being largely named after a dead guy and getting second billing: “The DICK CLARK ROCKIN’ NEW YEAR’S ROCKIN’ EVE ROCKIN’ SPECIAL…with Ryan Seacrest.” And now this flash-in-the-pan bald guy gets his own special right out of the gate. Are you kidding me? But I digress. So we found Pitbull and realized that it isn’t what we normally watch, we watch the dead guy’s special, so we flipped to that. Only that special, which for YEARS, as long as we can remember, has reverted to tape with less than two minutes to midnight so we can watch the ball drop in our time zone, refused to budge off live. We saw some performers on a stage (don’t ask me who they are…I’m old and can rant for a paragraph about Pitbull) and empty streets in Manhattan. The remote was passed and menus came up and people unhelpfully started helping by screaming suggestions about what to try while one of us used his cell phone to let us know that we were essentially missing it. Then I heard, “It’s midnight, we missed it” and I looked at the atomic clock on the high shelf and saw that it was 12:00 a.m. and that the ball hadn’t dropped and we hadn’t counted down and I was still thrown by the whole Pitbull-has-his-very-own-special thing and holy shit what the fuck is going on when M’s Aunt Margaret (hi Aunt Margaret!) suddenly launched into the countdown. It was a thing of beauty. She just screamed, “TEN! NINE! EIGHT!” and we all started screaming numbers with her and then we got to ONE and we toasted and kissed and hugged. She explained that she was worried the kids would be upset that we missed it, so she took action. The kids? Hell, I was getting upset that we missed it! But we didn’t miss it, thanks to Aunt Margaret. So I propose that in future years we say to hell with Pitbull, to hell with the dead guy, to hell with Ryan Seacrest, and to hell with the ball in Times Square. I’m just gonna start screaming numbers when Aunt Margaret starts screaming numbers. We don’t need no fancy television…we have Aunt Margaret.

And this, my friends, is how awesome family memories are made.

I am still not tired, but I should wrap this up and try to get some sleep. The smelly cat has moved away and the walkers are long gone and it’s now 4:21 in the morning of the new year. Happy 2015, ya’all.


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