Happy 2012 to All!

And may there be many years ahead of you!  I’m excited right now because Susie will return from Florida in a little over 24 hours, in time to begin Winterim at The Graham School on Wednesday.  I haven’t been completely as productive as I wanted to while she was gone, but I’ve put the time to good use.  I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to return to work tomorrow morning.

I worked New Year’s Eve day at the bookstore, so I couldn’t sleep in.  I went to Kobo, a nightclub on High St., for the evening.  I saw a co-worker of mine from the bookstore, and he immortalized my presence there by photographing me deep in my (Diet Coke) cups.

Me at Kobo, January 1, 2012

I declined a drink of champagne from the brother of another bookstore co-worker, and when I left, I bumped into some pretty graphic evidence of why I’m glad that I no longer drink.  (I don’t think I am/was an alcoholic, but I was definitely headed in that direction, and with two alcoholic parents, the deck was definitely stacked against me genetically.)

I stepped out onto High St. and there was a woman huddled on the ground in the fetal position in the alley next to the bar.  Her friends–both male and female–were helping her, but she was so out of it she couldn’t even make the initial moves to get on her feet.  My first thought, shared with many of the onlookers who had come outside to smoke, was that she had overindulged, had gone outside to vomit, and then had passed out.  Her friends’ attitude ran the gamut from commiseration to impatience to disgust.  One wanted to get her a cup of water, but another friend wisely pointed out that she wasn’t conscious enough to swallow; if they gave her water, she would probably drown.  They kept her turned on her side, so she wouldn’t aspirate in case she vomited.

My mind flashed back to a fall night in the ’80s, back at Ohio University, when there was a party in one of the dorms.  This was typical for a Friday night, but it was a freshman dorm, which meant the hosts and many of the guests were underage, and the noise could be heard all over East Green.  One of the clowns attending the party decided the action was a little dull, so he/she went out into the hallway and pulled the fire alarm.

Everyone–party-goers or not–soon came out of Shively Hall because of the fire alarm.  All but one, a guy at the party who really had his load on, to the point that he was unconscious.  The squad came for him, and two EMTs brought him out, his arms around their shoulders, his feet dragging, swaying back and forth between them and his head dangling down.  Everyone was still in the parking lot, waiting for the all-clear to go back inside, and not at all happy about having to go outside for no reason.

Their mood changed when the EMTs came out with this guy.  The entire crowd broke into applause, whistling, and foot-stomping.  “Buy that man a drink!” several people shouted.  Had Twitter and the Internet existed in 1984, I am sure that the video would have gone viral in hours.  My amusement was not a “Well, that’s what you get for overindulging,” but it was more along the lines of “Can’t hold your liquor, can you, tenderfoot?”  (I haven’t drunk anything stronger than Diet Pepsi for over 13½ years, but I don’t think the Straight Edge community would claim me as one of their own.  My love of meat and my excessive caffeine consumption would negate any claims of being Edge.)

The woman in the alley was drunk, but, as it turned out, there was more to the story.  After 15 or 20 minutes of debate, one of the bouncers finally called 911.  It looked like this overindulgence was going to be costly to more than just the woman’s pride, because she was barely responsive at all.  The bouncer also flagged down a police car as it was headed up High St.  I talked to the brother of the woman’s boyfriend, and it turned out she had been assaulted, and her cell phone stolen from her.  She didn’t seem bloody or bruised, and when she was finally with it enough, the police officer took a statement from her.  (By this time, she was able–barely–to stand under her own power, and she leaned against the wall with her boyfriend, while the officer stood there with his notebook and his pen.)  I asked her if the cell phone had a GPS, so they could track it down, but she said it didn’t.  (I have one on mine, but it’s only activated when I dial 911.  My thinking is that if I have a heart attack or stroke, and can only manage to dial 911 before I lose consciousness, the paramedics can find me.)  And she ended up going home with the boyfriend and her retinue of friends, and the police car made it less than a quarter of a block up High St. before they had to quell some other fracas at Ledo’s Lounge.

My friend Jeff from Marietta, whom I met in 1977 when he was working at the public library, came up for a long overdue visit on New Year’s Day.  I had sent him Google Map directions, so he had no problem finding my place, and we walked over to the Blue Danube for dinner, caught up on our respective life situations, and he fell in love with the ‘Dube immediately, as does almost anybody I’ve ever brought there.  (It was my second day in a row going there.  On Saturday, after the bookstore closed at 2, I took a co-worker and her father there.  She is 19, and grew up on Indiana Ave., but did not know the place existed. I could not allow this state of affairs to continue, so when the bookstore closed, she, her dad, and I went there for lunch.  In addition to the food, she fell in love with the jukebox and the painted ceiling tiles.)

After Jeff left to return to Marietta, I had a pretty sedate evening, which lasted until about 4 a.m. this morning.  I put on hours’ worth of music (I patched my old Dell laptop into my Crosley phonograph, so the Crosley can serve as an amplifier), stretched out on the love seat, and read until I finally felt tired.

There’s a slight dusting of snow on the ground right now, and the Weather Channel icon at the bottom of my screen says 24 degrees Fahrenheit right now.  In the early hours of New Year’s Day, there was a windstorm.  Coming back from Kroger yesterday afternoon (I went there to pay the electric bill), I saw that a tree in Brevoort Park had blown across E. Torrence Rd. and totally blocked it.  Also, the screen on my living room window is completely ripped, and I saw quite a few limbs and spilled trash cans as I was out and about in Clintonville during the day yesterday.