I got nothin'.
What did I do this year, really?
Bought a house?
Got a new job?
Watched a brother get elected to the Presidency?
No, I really didn't do much of anything this year. I just sat back and let stuff happen around me while I fiddled with my navel and muttered half-hearted curses at random people.
But, as I sit here (in my office with nothing better to fucking do than write this driveling prose) and compose these thoughts, my mind starts wandering back to older NYE's and where I was, what I did, and how I woke up the next morning.
The past few years were spent at home with Kate, watching the ball drop, eating fondue, and drinking mediocre champagne. Oh, and there were gunshots. Lots of them. Thousands of them. All around. We considered going into the basement to escape the hail storm of lead.
There was a NYE spent in Fredericksburg at a bar listening to some friends' band play their brand of crunchy metal. Good times, lots of booze, lots of attractive women (who wouldn't fuck me - yeah, let me re-phrase that - "lots of attractive bitches"), and a general sense of a little bit of all right.
There were one or two Charlotte parties that involved copious amounts of ... substances and fireworks.
There was a night at the Litter Box that ended with rum and started the next morning with rum. And somehow... somehow I puked out of a second-story window and it froze to the outside wall. That was keen... drunken, stoned, and possibly hallucinogenic keenness.
Then there was the biggie - the one that stands out in my mind and gives me a tingle whenever my mind reaches back to it. The one that makes me grin like fry-slinger at Carl's Jr. who's just been given a piece of gum and a shiny penny. The one that, truthfully, trumps them all.
I woke up on December 31st 1999 and drank, smoked, and partied my way through the morning. I took a nap... with a bottle of Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay.
Curled up on the ground in the swamp.
With my arms lovingly wrapped around that bottle.
I... did things that night that kept me wide-eyed and awake.
I remember my inflatable chair - possibly the single coolest and most insightful provision I have taken with me on any excursion.
I remember the air boat.
The hot dog.
I remember Cheesecake (may it always bring a tingle and a small smile to my face no matter how fucking cheesy it is to say).
I remember a sick Reba starting off and winding itself into a jam. I remember getting lost in it, buffeted about the crowd in this viciously tender jam. I remember finally opening my eyes, forgetting what song it was and looking pleadingly at G-Funk and saying "Wh-what the fuck song is this? How'd we fucking get here?!"
I remember wandering off to piss against the 15' wall.
I remember somehow finding my way back.
I remember the light-stick chain.
I remember that nameless and faceless hippie off to my left screaming in a voice and tone that would have ripped the hearts out of the Gods with its desperation, "Where the fuck is the sun?!"
And then it came.
I remember the single most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. The way the clouds packed against each other - the seams between them glowing in a fierce red-orange explosion of light.
I remember that "Wading." At the risk of being a complete girl-child I have a hint of a moistness in my eyes as I think about it. It must be my dusty office. I remember the way Page's voice cracked, how we were all in the same place with him, how Pure it sounded. How right.
And the shuffling back to our cars to the sounds of the Beatles:
"...It's all right...
Here comes the sun...
Here comes the sun."
I tend to block out the next 21 hours of sitting, waiting, hoping the cars in front of me will move so I might be able to get to civilization, get a shower, feel the electric joy of cold porcelain beneath my ass... that part was misery after misery, our collective Pound of Flesh.
This year I'll sit in my house in front of my fireplace with Kate and watch the ball drop. We'll drink some wine, maybe some beer, maybe some tequila, definitely some rum. We'll eat some fondue and we'll wake up tomorrow morning to 2009.
Sounds quiet, chaos-free, and pretty god damned all right.