Last New Year’s Eve, I met Mike and went to Graham’s work. I like the bar there, Crossley works there, too, and if you date a dude who works in kitchens and somehow get the chance to kiss him at midnight, you should probably take it because the opportunity will not present itself for another few years. The problem last year was that I showed up too close to midnight without getting drunk beforehand, so it took forever to get a beer and by the time midnight came around, I was mostly sober while everyone around me was wasted. And I mean wasted, to the point where it would have been comical had I not seriously wondered whether or not I’d fallen into another dimension. The house band played the same song about three times in 45 minutes, the pace of everything in the room seemed weirdly accelerated, and everyone else was getting so determinedly, aggressively drunk and determinedly, aggressively forcing themselves to have a good time, and if someone had told me that it was the end of the world, the room’s consumption rate and the apparently warped physics of the situation would have suddenly made total sense.
I turned to Mike, who doesn’t drink at all, and asked “Is this how you feel all the time when you’re around drinkers?”
“Pretty much,” he nodded.
I don’t know when I left the bar, but I do know that I caught the bus by myself and ended up stuck in traffic in Belltown, surrounded by even more drunk people and wishing I had the alcohol metabolism of someone half my height and probably forty pounds lighter. I can tolerate being the only sober person in a roomful of drunks, just not when those drunks are on a mission of self-annihilation. Not on a night like New Year’s Eve.
So I don’t think I’m going out for New Year’s this year. Just thinking about it is exhausting, and besides, Courtney was telling me about what some guy told Luke a few years ago. I guess this guy told Luke that on New Year’s Eve, it’s good to do something that you want to focus on doing for the rest of the year. So if you want to make music for the rest of the year (like Luke), you can spend New Year’s Eve making a song. If you want to own your own business sometime during the year, you can spend New Year’s Eve writing a business plan.
It’s not magic, a half-assed resolution or that bullshittery The Secret, but I do think it’s a good way to decide what you want to do, and putting some energy – like actual, calorically-measured energy – into doing it as early as possible, instead of, like, knowing that you want to lose weight but deciding to wait until March when everyone else quits going to the gym. And it’s certainly more clearly remembered than going out and getting shithammered, except of course if you want to be drunk for the rest of the year, then by all means, go out and get shitty.
If I think about what I want to spend 2014 doing, the answer is writing and cooking. I’ll already be cooking; the menu I posted to Instagram for next week says I’m making baked campanelle with broccoli rabe and and sausage (the caption for the image said “if it can’t get made in a casserole dish, it’s not getting made”) on New Year’s Eve. But the writing will be the big thing. And I think I do want to spend my New Year’s Eve writing. And not a blog entry, either. I don’t know yet what sort of project I want to undertake or if I just want to finish a few of the projects that have been sitting around unfinished for nearly all of 2013. Maybe I can write something for submission. Maybe I can find a co-op prompt somewhere. I just think it would be a nice change of pace from getting drunk – or standing around and watching other people get drunk – to do something creative, something I would actually like to continue doing more often and, if I’m being honest with myself, something I didn’t nurture enough this past year.
I should probably also find some new (independent) music and buy it, something I also didn’t do enough of this past year because a) I got a lot of free albums and b) I bought way more books than music. It’s not hard to find new music and I’ve gotten a head start by purchasing one album today, but if I could spend my New Year’s making good food, writing something serviceable, and supporting some other artist directly, then I’ve probably started the year off right.