Sunday, December 31, 2006

Best of 2006 and "Hope" in 2007...

Despite the spectacular Bulldog comeback win last night (its place in the scheme of things, season-wise summed up in a far-better-than-I-could-summarize fashion by Doug), as I sit here, looking out on a grey and rainy day, I feel the temporary urge to wish that I didn't live in the South...or at least had secured plane tickets to...oh, let's just indulge in moderate fantasy...New York City.

(I suppose it's ironic that people in the part of the country that started the whole Blue Law thing get to drink and we don't...)

Because this year, New Year's Eve falls on a Sunday. And Sunday in Georgia means the bars are closed (exceptions: lots of places in Atlanta, and any booze-serving establishment that gets 50% of its revenue from food). The Blue Laws are screwing up New Year's plans for everyone. It's roughly 3:30 pm and I've only tentatively planned where I'm going tonight and the large majority of phone calls, MySpace and Facebook messages I've received have revolved around the theme of "what are you doing on New Year's?"

(Although in brief, in the form of a question: "what is 'drinking'?" is an answer.)

Atlanta's the obvious compromise choice: most of Atlanta is going to operate like a hectic Saturday night, bar scene-wise; plus there's that whole "descending orange buttocks-looking-thing" going on at Underground (which has next to zero interest to yours truly as A. I despise Orange in general, and anything that could be described as a "big orange" has too many UT-related connotations for me to get near--barring a major exception in my planning--and B. the last time I was at Underground, my Dad got his wallet stolen, and that was during normal business conditions.) I do have a brief but really happy history ringing in New Year's in Atlanta: my last non-Athens New Year's was spent between the end of '01 and the start of '02 at the Roxy, watching Living Colour stake their claim to Best Live Show I've Ever Witnessed (and though Butch Walker's come close, Living Colour still holds the title). Downside: none of the shows in the ATL look anywhere near as good as that 2001-ending gig, and packed-out meatmarkets like Compound and eleven50 are sure to be don't do anything for me at the moment.

(Atlanta for New Year's 2006: too much orange, not enough badass rock bands)

Athens has some bar options (which all allegedly will then kick everyone out shortly after midnight), mostly countable on one hand, and a large number of house parties. There's also a semi-college reunion of sorts I've heard hints about but as of this writing, have zero in the way of specifics or directions.

So what am I going to do? I don't know.

It's been a weird couple of days: I'm now roughly 99.9999999924198399% sure I'm going to be dateless this New Year's, but there's none of the butterflies/waves of nausea/dread that say, accompanies the week before a dateless Valentine's Day. "Anhedonic" comes closest, because I mostly am neither excited nor dreading tonight, but the word has some negative connotations that would mar the fact that I'm smiling a lot more than frowning. It feels like a normal Saturday sort of, but not quite. And I'm going to go with that.

And I'll use the "dateless" thing to segue roughly into the next segment, a look back on what I learned and what the best thing about 2006 was to me...

Dating and relationships are two related topics I probably spend way too much time thinking about. I'm hoping some of that thought can be made productive at least in believable characters in my fiction, but also, I'd like to think I'm actually learning and sometimes changing as a result of my often-over-analysis.

In 2005 I'd decided that I simply didn't know my ass from a hole in the ground when it came to dating, and that I was also far too scarred and wounded from my last relationship's traumatic ending that I was not going to date, and if maybe I did, serious relationships were verbotten in 2005. And what that taught me was that the ego trip of hooking up with or dating several (what, you thought I'd give you actual numbers?) different women within a short time period (again, I'm not divulging numbers) wore off quickly and as a dating strategy "not allowing myself to care or get attached" was pretty selfish, stubborn and counterproductive. It was also a good way to get called "an asshole" several times (even though in my defense I stated every time that I was not looking for a relationship either off the bat or within the first week or so.)

So 2006 had its own mantra/resolution: only hookup/kiss/date...well I'm not sure exactly how I'd phrased it. Basically I was going to be really picky. And by summer I was questioning if I'd been too picky which had led to another problem: All my friends in Athens were in relationships and variations on the theme of "you should have a girlfriend" was the most-heard non-musical talk I heard outside of work.

But here's the thing: I didn't want a girlfriend just "to have one" or to be in a relationship just to be in a relationship. Plus, I'm admittedly not a fan of those guys and gals that can't stand being single...I damn sure wasn't going to let some peer pressure turn me into one of them. So when I met her, what happened was a relief to my friends and kind of surprising and scary to me.

(She looks a lot like Sophia Bush, except far prettier--even though she disagrees with me on that point.)

When we started dating, I was able to say “take everything as it comes, but don’t let her doubt you like her” and it worked for a good while. But why it worked was also what was scary: there was a funny feeling I got from our first emailed exchanges, even prior to the best first date I’ve ever had, that made me feel like this would be something different. And it’s been the highlight of my year, and even though we’ve drifted apart (reasons why I’m not going to speculate here) there’s still a tiny part of me that isn’t going to view “hope” as a four-letter word. I’m not falling to pieces; I’m not going to spend the next month writing terrible emo songs: I’ll miss her, but there were way too many good times to resent her or be bitter.

“Hope” sadly, was a four-letter word (in the George Carlin, words-you-can’t-say-on-tv sense) to her. She figured if you didn’t hope, or didn’t get your hopes up, good things were a nice surprise. If you figured Florida would beat UGA by 250 points and then the lost by only 100, at least that’s better than what you thought would happen. So I figure around halftime of last night’s Peach Bowl she was probably feeling pleased with the accuracy of her predictive skills. But then the Dawgs scored 28 (more than I had hoped, even while watching the game) unanswered points on the nation’s #1 defense. And I figured out my resolution for 2007: she was right and I was right. Expectations, especially in relationships can be dangerous things, but hope isn’t a terrible thing either. So any relationships I get involved in this New Year, I come to them with no expectations…but I’m still going to hope for the best.

Happy New Year folks, wherever you end up getting wasted.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Your 2005 was my 2006. And you're absolutely right, I did feel like an asshole.

Here's hoping that 2007 will be more productive for both of us. :)