Thursday, January 01, 2009

Ringing in New Years

I realize before I go out that I have an unnatural dislike of the New Year's holiday. I can't think of many that I have ever enjoyed. All day I've been trying to figure out when I started to dislike the holiday. I suspect it goes back to my childhood, so many things do.

I'm sure I enjoyed it on occasion as a child, but I had more opportunities to build bad memories around the holiday than I did to build good ones. New Year's was a holiday full of drunken relatives, or stoned parents, or drunk siblings and children. The happy moment for me was the knowledge that school was coming back soon, blissful escape.

Passage of years seemed more a timeless droning of the prison I was forced in, stuck to endure. I found it hateful.

I didn't fare much better when I did manage to escape. In college I found myself distanced. I distanced myself from the party sometime in high school and have not found a way to return myself. I remember thinking in 1998 that I had to go out to join a party since it would soon be 1999. I ended up sitting in a stair well crying and before the clock could tick around I was on the streets of Waukegan when the gun fire started. Probably not the most 11:50 pm on New Year's Eve is not the best time to leave a party when the building across the street is full of gun totting lunatics.

Granted 1999 to 2000 I was hiding under my computer desk with my dog and cat as the clock turned over and I stayed in my apartment alone. To broke to go out and the roommate working nights. Living in upper north Indiana is a lot like living in nice neighborhood of the old South Side, only on the Indiana side fireworks were legal. That and, unlike Waukegan where only one of the near neighbor buildings was full of gun totting lunatics, the whole damn city was full of gun totting lunatics. I remember when I first moved into the apartment there that my next door neighbor informed me that he liked to fire his guns on New Year's eve and I was welcome to join him. He had plenty to go around.

Korea has been a mix of good and bad. I think the best was last year but then in thinking about it I am not sure if it was the best because it was good or if it was the best because I was going to wake up in Chicago on New Year's day. There were certainly parts of the night that make me cringe now in memory but I worked through it because the goal was Chicago, and Chicago was what I wanted.

I think about all this. I sit in my bar to see the bands, forcing myself to smile, to be nice. I keep telling myself I'm going to enjoy this. The Korean cover band opens with Pantera. It immediately puts me in a bad move. Aside from the volume being ear bleedingly loud the music the chose to cover was not improving my mood very much. When they launched into a Konglish rendition of Cowboys from Hell I finished three drinks in quick succession. After that I was mostly on my own, the few people I knew that night had either gone to other places or to the park to see the ringing bell. I had promised Hyun I'd stay but fifteen minutes after midnight I wanted to go home. Hyun looked at me and said no, no, stay, The Singer is coming on and you love The Singer. It's true, I like the silly top 40 cover band because the lead singer is charming and loves what he does. I find his devotion to the bad music endearing and I'm a sucker for a good voice.

So I stay for the band.

When it is over I leave. I walk home, crisp cool night air, New Year's Eve and I'm miserable and unhappy. Full of ennui and maliase and an undefinable feeling that I am doomed. This is well on the twentieth time I've had the same feeling at the start of a perfectly good year.

During the night I toss and turn a combination of the alcohol and the ennui. I wake up at ten and lay abed thinking all these thoughts, anylaizing, metacognating the process that leads me to such misery, self created at this time of year.

And as I rose I made my single resolution. At the end of this year I'm going to figure out how to enjoy myself and have a good time. I'm not going to ring in another New Year in past tinted dreariness. I'm going to move on.

Happy '09 everyone. I mean that sincerely. We have a lot to look forawrd to. A new president, a new congress, and a world that suddenly feels less brave new.

Plus, I'm going to go see Nick Cave in concert in 14 days.

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