I drew these mischievous foxes half a month ago, back before I was sucked into the vortex of holiday travel, and the peaceful state of mind incurred from sitting by several (well, two) poolsides. When I think of this December, I will think of the soft, icy blue of a hot tub against the persistent gray of the sky. I will think of a black and white throw blanket over my knees. I will think of rain, and steam coming off the water as it rains. Rain on Dave’s head. Wooden booths and mulled wine. Green agave. The color scheme is as important, somehow, as anything we did, though one thing we did was eat gingerbread and whipped cream, which is certainly something I’d do again.
I have, in the approach to the new year, been resisting the draw to speculate too much about the importance of a new decade. There has been a frenzy of it, I’m sure you’ve seen: what does it mean to start a new round number? Who will anoint themselves the new F. Scott Fitzgerald in our new roaring ’20s? Have we been given the opportunity to start over? Actually, this sort of thing annoys me at the beginning of every year, which is funny, because in general I’m a person who loves ceremony. I just think: you can always start over. We won’t do it better because of a number.
Here is something sort of TMI and disgusting (hey, you are being warned): on New Year’s Eve in 2000 (that is, ’99 > 2000, not 2000 > 2001) I was at a friend’s house, wearing red silk pajamas because Dana Scully used to wear them on the X-Files. (Or anyway, she wore silk pajamas of some kind.) We were teenagers, goofing around, not really worried about Y2K or any other apocalypse mumbo-jumbo, until about 11:45, when we spooked ourselves somehow. What if the world did end? Had we done enough to make our lives worthwhile? We lay down on our makeshift beds on the floor, couch cushions arranged into ersatz mattresses. And as the clock struck midnight, almost exactly, I got my period in this extreme, sudden way that has never happened to me again. Just, blood everywhere. On my red silk pajamas. At midnight, in the year 2000.
I actually found this event more thrilling than disgusting, my body a very obvious portent. Though of what, I didn’t know. But the world didn’t end.
It has still not ended. Whether or not a new year, new decade, new calendar means much of anything, I’m trying not to hold my breath as we approach the future—which does mean something, even if we don’t know what. I will go into the next year naive, innocent, as I have gone into every year of my life. Everyone is surprise-able. I am no different. The grace notes and anomalies will hit me as if from nowhere; there is nothing I can do to prepare.
Some days the world turns, and the blood flows out of you. Some days, just breath.
Happy New Year.