Saturday, January 2, 2010

seconds out, round ten



I am standing at the kitchen window with a small cup of Columbian freeze dried instant granules. Watching the snow come down in flurries and leap back up on a suddenly warmer cushion of air.

Those fat soft flakes resemble something out of a tv advertisment for dishwasher detergents.

A couple of seagulls wheel into the frame. Gliding. Snapping at the flakes with their beaks. Puppies chasing an avalanche of tiny rubber balls.

Let me tell you. New Year's Eve is one of those few occasions when I am not provoked into hoovering up more alcohol than a general practitioner would safely allow. It has something to do with seasonal overindulgence being not just permissible, but roundly encouraged. Like a father catching his twelve year old smoking and reining in his disappointment and wrath.

"Go on then. Smoke the whole damn packet. Every last one of them."

You know what the game is about but you roll into the sucker punch regardless.

New Year's Eve is a lot like that. Hogmany. Ordinarily recreational drinkers pouring down one tumbler after another and taking a dive.

Well, of course. I went at it just the same - a shade earlier than strictly seemly, maybe - and while I didn't weave clear of a standing count just before the bells, I didn't go down either. I wobbled on my feet. I ducked the KO; all bets off as 2010 sidled in like a nervous scout sent before the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

I pumped hands and exchanged kisses with my son and stepchildren. Grinning lopsidedly with nothing more alarming than Merlot staining my lips.

Not a bruise in sight.

"Happy New Year, dad!" they chorused.

"Happy New Year!" I conceded.


The tv flashbulbed in the corner. The routine inanity and the bagpipe drone. Auld Lang's Syne.

What a lot of piss.


I went into the kitchen and lit a cigarette. Emptied my glass into the sink.

On the good foot.
Not so much a resolution as a tiny pocket of resistance.

6 comments:

Jon said...

I poured my last drink down the sink. I didn't know it was my last drink and I certainly wasn't making any self improvement resolutions. I was thinking, "Oh, what's the use?" Happy New Year Ib.

ib said...

Happy New year, Jon.

The thing I dislike about the tradition of Hogmany is the pressure to conform to stereotype. Very few parties I have attended down through the years have ended well. Although they all started out with the same good intention.

I no longer have the appetite for feuding and brawling; or for talking a hopelessly drunk stranger or acquaintance out of yet another suicide attempt.

Let me rephrase that.

It's more a case of not wishing to willfully put myself in that position in the first instance.

This New Year was blessedly quiet and uneventful. The kids went to bed without witnessing any argument or irrational behaviour. Or being forced to indulge an especially drunk relative or family friend in full maudlin flow.

It is merely a respite, of course, but I am glad I wasn't responsible for staging any chaos. Directly or otherwise.

Well. At least I had no hangover, either. Or nagging recrimination.

It is all quiet on the western front. In our concrete box and island.

said...

We can all wax philosophical about Auld Lang Syne, but when all is said & done...fuck!!! Drew looks hot in that picture.

ib said...

Hot enough to toast.

Nazz Nomad said...

I toasted my deceased comrades, watched the ball drop and read the Bob Dylan "Chronicles" part 1 book until daybreak.
Oh yeah, and we watched Inglorious Basterds... nothing like starting the new year off with a whole lotta dead Nazi's.

ib said...

That's the thing about 'dead' nazis. You spend one magazine and then you open another. There they still are; groomed and still intact.

Happy New Year, Nazz.