Saturday, December 31, 2005

2006 Really Packs a Wallop

It's getting down to the last minutes of 2005, at least in my time zone, and that means time to sum up. My situation is as follows:

I have a job writing about how the military beaches whales with its sonar and leaves bombs lying around for housing developments to be built over. (Also on the work front: sincere congratulations are due to the Marine Corps, which used about 1.4 million gallons of biodiesel in 2005 and is going towards an all-bio fleet as soon as possible.)

Instead of partying hardy, I am about the only person I know in this city of the damned, laid up at home with a screaming case of jungle rot on my willy. I have tried to use this opportunity to get some writing and reading done, but it's hard to concentrate.

I have eaten all my Christmas cookies and there is now literally no set of foods in the house that would go together to make a meal. I seriously considered the possibility of either a pasta sandwich or chocolate syrup on cereal. My last dinner of 2005: trail mix and some nutty choco bits. And some wine. And I have yet to crack open my $20 bottle of champagne because it isn't midnight yet.

It is cold as a witch's tit in this house because the heater works only as it sees fit. This is still preferable to my last place, where I suffered ghost attacks and crushing unemployment.

I have been able to look out my dining room window into this other person's house since I moved in. That alleviates the occasional feeling that I have no reason, ever, to be in the dining room.

I feel wiser, on the whole, and I think the year was salutary in the sense that I cleared away a lot of the dead wood from my past life and started down a road I'm pleased with. On the other hand, what would New Year's be without a little crime scare? As I finished typing the last sentence, someone tried to get into my house. It sounded an awful lot like the drunken fumbling of keys, and it could have been some reveler trying the wrong door on the block, but I called the popo anyway and have just now officially rung in New Year 2006 watching the clock on my phone go to 12:00 and holding a steak knife. I wouldn't share this with the reading public except to stress the importance of neighborhood activism and a stronger commitment to our nation's schools. Education is the key, everyone. Education. Get them on the right path early.

This puts in perspective the total meta-oddity of even having a blog. I sit in this chair, where I should probably be a little more scared than I am -- although the guy seems to have left my door, I can still hear him shuffling around and talking to himself a few spots down the road -- and my instinct is to keep typing, as though nothing will really happen to me as long as the magic keeps flowing through the fingers. In the olden days, the man of the house would have gathered everyone into the storm cellar and loaded Grampa's old pea shooter full of nails, ready to defend his property to the death. Instead, it's 2006 and I stare at the screen, freshly transplanted from the West Coast, with no real stake in this city yet, and blather on as though it's all some sort of literary event. We have totally lost our perspective on reality, we modern people, or else I just want something quiet to do until the fuzz arrives. I could be watching the World Poker Tour, or The Godfather (the whole trilogy is playing tonight), but I am somehow convinced that it will make enough noise to draw attention to me. Funny how you react to things a lot differently in real life than they do in the talking pictures.

So bring on the postmodern, inappropriate musing. Let's stroke our chins, shall we, and wonder aloud: What is worth writing about this evening? I met someone who works for National Geographic and told her I'd like to write for them one day, and she seemed convinced I was insane to want anything to do with that bunch of badly paid alcoholics and head cases. This failed to deter me, of course -- I just love to travel. I made new friends in this cold, strange city fairly quickly, including the inevitable British guy at work, and kicked off my job with a sterling performance. But that's all recent history. What happened in the first three quarters of the year? It went like this: It's my birthday!, I wish I were out of school, I am totally on academic cruise control, ---- and I are trying to write a sitcom, oops I graduated, playing poker for a living is very lucrative when you're good at it, I am surfing between family homes and my girlfriend's apartment for three months, I should get serious about looking for a job, I'm in Washington looking for a job, nobody in Washington who gives jobs cares that I'm here, huh? I got an offer?, I fly back to Washington at my own expense, I'm hired. There were plenty of blips on the screen during those nine months, especially discovering that you only miss being in school once you're not there any more and may never be again. Also among them: finishing 100 pages of the first of what will probably be many drafts of my promising novel/novella (and then leaving it, like so many other projects, on the back burner for a while) and a bunch of other stuff I've decided isn't meant for this post, or even this blog. Sorry to disappoint. You can imagine the unliterary frame of mind I'm in as I wonder where the police are. I could have been dancing a pas de deux with Mr. Felony out there for about half an hour now.

So, as I take stock of my surroundings -- empty cookie tin full of wrappers, bottles of whiskey and champagne sitting on the counter, pile of "former resident" mail on the corner desk, The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes enjoying pride of place next to the laptop, a collection of Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs on the chair, piles of poker chips all over the place -- I find my biggest regret is that 2006 started with neither a bang nor a whimper for me. Just a slight feeling of paranoid euphoria. I'd meant to at least be up in my room meditating and listening to Enya or something. Now I'm waiting for the cops to arrive. Happy bloody New Year to you, too, America.


Blogger charvakan said...

Aw, jeez, you could've rung in the New Year at our place. But I didn't want to be all over you and call--I thought we'd invited you to our party last week. I will wait until I think you're up and call then--we have leftovers.

Don't be too hard on Alexandria's finest. New Year's Eve is one of their busiest nights. Anyway, in Virginia real men have a couple of guns lying around loaded and can take care of the odd breaker-and-enterer themselves. You'll catch on soon.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous mikeswanson said...

Happy birthday by the way--here's your present:

Go and watch these films, I'll pay you back the $12, or you could buy 1 less bottle of liquor! And send me your email @ Also, you should realize that diseases of the genitals and death threats are the only 2 things that are not acceptible to write about on your blog.

6:33 PM  
Blogger charvakan said...

Hey, mikeswanson (if that's really your name), speak for yourself. I can't hear enough about either one.

5:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home