I have yet to go to work this year (that will change as of tomorrow, when my alarm sounds at 6:45 a.m.). So, for three consecutive days, I have slept late, walked, written in my diary, read, and treated myself to USA Network’s Law and Order: Special Victims Unit marathon. I could get used to this, but I have work to do, which was not finished as of 5 p.m. New Year’s Eve, so I’ll be back in my cubicle working at the stroke of 8 tomorrow morning.
I saw in the New Year–2016, or MMXVI–at the new Pirate House. (I have celebrated the change of the year with the wonderful hosts of the Pirate House for years, but they’re in a new location now. This was my first visit to their quarters in Merion Village.) As always, the company and conversation were first-class. It was surreal to watch people playing Jenga, with the structure getting quite tall, while Metropolis (1927) played on a nearby TV with the volume muted.
We only watched Times Square coverage long enough to count down to the ball dropping. Everyone promptly turned away from the screen at midnight for rounds of toasting, hugging, and kissing.
I am proud to report that I have done a fair amount of walking so far this year. Since the weather has been so erratic here in Central Ohio, even since the coming of the winter solstice, I checked The Weather Channel’s site to see what the weather is in Nelsonville, to see if I can squeeze in another walk to Athens. (I marked the first weekend in December with such a walk, and managed to shave 10-15 minutes off my overall time.)
I am savoring the unscheduled time of January as much as I can. The spring semester at Columbus State Community College will soon be underway, which means that from the 12th of this month until about the first week of February, I will be working evenings and weekends at the bookstore, often coming home too exhausted to do much, and not needing a dose of melatonin to fall asleep.
When I came home from Florida last week, I had (still have) a mystery greeting me. In the mail that accumulated during my week in the Sunshine State, there was a package from a bookseller in Toledo. Inside was a hardcover copy of Lily White, a novel by Susan Isaacs. This was a book I had not ordered, nor is Isaacs a writer I have ever read. Inside the front cover, there was no invoice, which means whoever sent it my way intended it to be a gift.
(I was not wary enough to hesitate when I saw the book, because I am expecting a book I ordered through AbeBooks, and thought maybe it had come early, despite the avalanche of holiday mail.)
I remember hearing some interesting things in passing during a New Year’s Eve party celebrating 1982 into 1983. I think it was what inspired me to try and keep a breast-pocket notebook and a ballpoint pen on my person at all times–not knowing at that time that former Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.) had long ago beaten me to the punch.
The party was at a house in Rocky River, and I went with three friends (two female, one male) whom I had met during various Ohio-Meadville District Unitarian youth conferences. One of the women–my date for the evening–had literary aspirations, as
did do I, so we tried to keep an ear out for interesting dialogue and incidents. The party was chock full of story material. Parents were nowhere in sight, and I, at 19, was probably the oldest person there. Our host was doing a Risky Business (1983) a full eight months before the movie debuted.
My date and I happened to hear a serious conversation between a guy and a girl. They were at the end of an upstairs hallway, in the relative privacy of the area by the linen closet and the bathroom door. “I’m really starting to like you,” the guy said. He sounded almost regretful, “and it’s really bothering me.”
I never met my fellow party-goers before that night, and probably never crossed paths with any of them again, but it did not take long to discover there were some long brewing enmities in the gathering. One kid, about 16, glanced toward the driveway and his face just brightened. “Great!” he shouted gleefully. “Rudy’s here! I’m going to go beat the shit out of him!” This did not come to pass, as far as I remember, because when my date and I went out to the back yard for some privacy, Rudy was out there with some of his friends, and there was not a mark on him.
The one that had both of us laughing came from an overheard exchange: “Tim’s here.” “Who’s Tim?” “Oh, Tim is my 14-year-old brother,” a guy piped up. “He’s a penis.”
Ambrose Bierce, in The Devil’s Dictionary, defined a year as “a period of 365 disappointments.” Even though it’ll be 366 in this case, so far I am not complaining. (I can’t even invoke Rent‘s 525,600 minutes from “Seasons of Love,” because this year it’s 527,040 minutes.)