Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Eve, 2011/12 Chicago

"This is how time and space work, you assholes" - Carey

I think the very point of New Years Weekend, the day before, the day of, and the day after, is sentimentality and selfishness and selfish self awareness. Everybody, every body, should be allowed to be as crazy as it chooses on those days. That means actual crazy too, not just long running jags of mixed drinks and fried food. If you need to have a public breakdown, if you need to cry for reasons known only to you, or get irrationally angry, or never leave the house, all those things are cool. Get it all out. Puncture your wounds, and let the anxieties bleed into carpet or your friend's couch. If we all give each other this freedom, then we are all forgiven too. Because the flip side of this agreement is that once you are done, you spend the rest of your time understanding and tolerating the crazies of everyone who had to deal with you too. And these things are set off like a chain reaction, one head exploding causes another causes another. So kindness, absolute generosity of spirit is required right after or right before you plummet to the depths, and that is strenuous, like a kind of exercising, a workout of your sanity. People who are like this all year round, they are the easiest to deal with on New Years, because they have been working out, they are elastic and flexible and strong. People think that having a breakdown is a sign of weakness, but in fact everyone has breakdowns, having a quick recovery time is the strength. The kind of people who keep that shit bottled up are the ones who cause the worst fires on nostalgic holidays, because asking them to look into their past is forcing them back through a nightmare land of evils they never bothered to deal with. They haven't named them and memorized their details, and said their names over and over again like a chanting old woman on the bus, an hour just tasting the consonants until you can repeat the catalog of your personal failings and regrets as well as the alphabet. That's how you accumulate power, you make spells out of your problems, you say them and make them exist, then the sunshine reduces them to drippy little rain puddles, maybe leaving a stain or watermark but certainly drying out the main infestation, the meat of the mold.

"I forgot I *liked* people." - Amanda

 Having said this, I prefer also to run away for the holiday. New Years is my 2nd most important most favorite holiday, after of course my birthday, and it's convenient that they happen half a year away from each other, it evens out nicely in terms of breaks. It's best, for me at least, to go out of town to a brand new place and hang out with people I don't know well or at all. I love my friends back home very much (no, not at all), but don't you think it just sounds lucky? To welcome a new year with new things? Someone might point out there's an inherent risk your holiday may suck, but I think experiences sucking, excepting bodily harm or crime against, is mostly up to your own frame of mind. I don't like what's happening to my skin or hair, but the very best part of getting old has certainly turned out to be a greater control of my own enjoyment. That may have just been a fancy way of saying I'm getting more delusional. But how would I know?

 If you stay home for New Years, you know what happens? There are twenty parties, 14 events, 5 personal crises, and no matter what you choose or even if you try to fit more than one appearance in, you are either driving when you shouldn't be or someone feels put out. When you go out of town, you can just be like, hey, there are no dramatic considerations here, let's do whatever you my host want to do. Even if you just stay in their living room the whole time, you still went out for New Years. Think about that.

"Chicago, where good men come to do bad things" - me

 This weekend I went to Chicago with a bunch of girls. There was some drama in the beginning, from various quarters. Everyone gets forgiven for their craziness though, remember, so people survived mostly intact and ended up where they wanted to be. The weekend blew it's crazy wad early, it was pretty and clear the rest of the time. I stayed with my sister's friend, who was as delightful as Elly had been when I met her last year, and Nellie had really nice friends (maybe I should only stay with people with similar names on NYE too? Like the next year I'll stay with someone named Adele). New Years Eve itself is a blur of costume clothing, bright pink rum punch, muppets, and an awkward dance hour. I felt at the time I was pretty sober, but later found out I had actually been so drunk, I just felt sober. I threw up at 5am in her bathroom, and worried about waking her up, but the next morning we had all vomited except Carey, which is the opposite of how it usually is. My own friends who stayed with different people, were gone for a little while and then we connected the last night and went to a good comedy show (Entertaining Julia, every Sunday, recommended), and I discovered ginger bourbon the weekend of my vowing to not drink so much anymore. Jason and Judie met me for brunch one day, since they were also visiting other people. I drove around a lot on my own and even got lost but managed to work the city grid and get home without calling anyone. Walking on the street, I fell down, but you know, the way I always fall which is on both knees like I'm being forced into prayer position by the Inquisition, and I skinned the fuck out of both my knees but luckily my leggings were black so no one could see the blood until I went to bed and peeled the scabbed fabric and skin apart. Carey and I took an unintentional day trip, first to Gary and then to find Pullman, and I accidentally got a tour of Chicago's entire South Side, which meant we had some good time to talk, if maybe a bit more than we needed. The trip home was full of blizzards, so my friends and I stress ate at every rest stop and made each other laugh, so that even though the trip took an extra two hours because of snow it was a good trip home. Then a little bit of car tire drama when we got home, but it all worked out and people got back to their respective lives.

 So right? A calm collected relaxed safe weekend where I did new things and met new people. How blessed would I be if just all of 2012 could be like that?


  1. I loved this. Particularly the first paragraph and the realization that one of the wonderful things about not being SO young anymore is that we most definitely Do have more control over our enjoyment...in a number of ways. :)

  2. If you drove through Roseland on that trip through the South Side then you went through the 'hood where I grew up. Mind you, it wasn't the ghetto then. You were also right next to Pullman if you were in Roseland. Fun times!

  3. "Chicago, where good men come to do bad things" - me

    I'm pretty sure you meant to leave out the quotation marks.

  4. I need more Blood & Sand, but I need to first remember what all was in it...

  5. 1.5 scotch, 3/4 each vermouth, oj, cherry heering (I still don't know what that is)


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