Finally reaching 2014
Everyone knows Valentine’s Day is a hellscape orchestrated to torture unsuspecting boyfriends (with sharp collateral damage for girlfriends), where the pressure to have a magical night is a self-sabotaging prophecy.
And it is hardly groundbreaking to admit Christmas has a sleigh-load of pressure for a perfect harmonious family event, leading to bitter disappointment when your uncle has a little too much zinfandel and hits on your cousin’s new girlfriend. (Or the more mundane moment when the well-meaning older female comments on the eating/body/wardrobe/make up/life choices/employment/social habits/beverage consumption/hairstyle/fingernail length/cell phone case of a younger female, and le merde hits le fan.)
But surely New Year’s Eve is pure! Nope, it’s the social version of V-Day’s romance trap, and Xmas’s familial pitfalls. Plus sex. Yes, New Year’s Eve is booby-trapped.
My 2013 started with board games among friends, and it was great, even if I couldn’t get enough brick to build that settlement on the port. Anybody wanna trade for a sheep?
This year, another group of friends was going to a club. Not my scene, but whatever, I was there for my friends, not the clubbin’, but the inanity of socializing in a place where you can’t hear each other wore me down, communication without personality left me cold, and sheer image without substance pushed me towards macro-irritation.
I made it to midnight, though spent the actual countdown separated from my friends in a sea of smelly armpits and splashing beer, barely able to breathe. Annnd that’ll do. I can check “go to the club” off my list for 2014-2100.
I walked to the BART station behind two girls who had also left early. Our conversation:
Them: “We were kind of having fun, but we both have boyfriends, just wanted to dance, and the guys were getting kinda crazy, so we left.”
Me: (Being normal. Not a douchebag.)
Them: “Oh my god! You’re so nice! If I didn’t have a boyfriend, I’d be like ‘F*** me now!’”
Me: “Oh. Heh. Um. Thank you? Okay then, I’ll be riding in the other car, bye!”
The other car carried seven other girls, also heading home early. That conversation went similarly to the first, minus the explicit compliment. We waved goodbye out the window. The last rider, also female (I swear I didn’t seek this out! It was just me and the driven-away-by-dudes cadre on the train at 00:45) and I had a nice conversation about books.
But Americans don’t know how to talk to strangers, exacerbated by the heinous behavior of a small percentage of males. So, when we happened to both be getting off at the same stop, suddenly I was not an interesting guy on the train, I was a serial killer. Halfway down the escalator she interrupted her own comment about Orwell to say “okay,nicetalkingtoyou,bye!” and ran off down the stairs.
Oops, she needed to add money to her fare card, so I tactfully exited on the other side of the station. But of course, my card didn’t work, error: see agent, whose empty office was right next to Scared Woman. I loitered vaguely behind her. Cuz that’s not creepy or anything.
When the agent showed up I explained “the machine won’t accept my card” a little bit louder than necessary, barely managing not to add “that’s why I’m here, not because I’m waiting to follow that woman home in the dark.”
So New Year’s Eve was a bust. But if I could move Christmas, why can’t I move New Year’s? The calendar is pretty damn arbitrary, after all (we really should have New Year’s on the winter solstice).
So my actual New Year started on Saturday, when a close friend and I went for a walk in the woods. We had clear communication, substance, personality, and a marvelous lack of macro-irritation. The redwoods were brown, the dirt was soft, and the dogs smiled because they love me. And you. And tennis balls, and running, and drooling, and pooping, and running some more. Among the trees, I could breathe.
It’s going to be a good year.