Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Day

--and frankly, do we care? Should we? I don't--it mostly means that I've got to remember to write a different year on my checks. I know it's pretentiously cliche' to remark that the demarcation of time is culturally specific and therefore objectively random and that one's life does not change between the 31st and the 1st and that treating a year as a contained unit in one's life is just as silly as treating a few notes in a symphony as significant to the whole and so on and so forth--yet I agree with all of this.

New Year's (kind of like my birthday, which follows hard upon) is a time that for a long while I've expected to be much more of an event and experience than it ever proves to be. The televised countdown (which in the age of satellite TV occurs at 9:00 here on the West Coast, which means that our own midnight seems repetitive and anti-climactic) just doesn't do anything for me, because you get to the scream "Happy New Year" and then...what? Well, if you're with someone appropriate, you kiss, and that's nice, but then...what? It's not as if the end of one year opens the floodgates for a slew of new experiences that were just being held back by those last few minutes of December. It's just another day (to quote the consistently underrated Oingo Boingo). Go to bed, wake up, and nothing's changed. (Unless you've had drunken New Year's Eve sex with a total stranger and no protection--then life might get real interesting real fast.)

I suppose what redeems it as a holiday is the fact that--I think instinctively--it's a holiday that marks the shift from the Family Oriented shenanigans of Christmas (or Hannukah, or what have you) to shenanigans based around Friends. Because, having spent New Year's with both, I rather think that New Year's was meant to be spent with Friends--with peers, rather than parents (or children.) There might be something to the idea of a moment to pause with those of your own time of life--to look around at the faces of your second, voluntary family--and be aware of the journey you're on, and that it's the presence of each other that makes that journey worthwhile most of the time.

Didn't have that experience this year, needless to say--but not having it this year made me realize this--so maybe next year, I'll remember, and be less of a snarky jerk about the holiday.

Yeah, I know, probably not. You know how New Year's resolutions always turn out.


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