Long ago I resolved not to make New Year’s Resolutions. How could those declarations be any more viable then those made on the first day of any week or month? Was there a penalty attached to first-of-the-year decisions that didn’t exist for any others? Absolutely not! So I, rebel that I am, have steadfastly refused to knuckle under to the expected behavior of the world and continue to march to a different, slightly tone-deaf drummer.
What I do make is End-of-the-Year resolutions and those generally after I’ve eaten a nice bowl of oatmeal and finished the day’s newspapers. I look around at the left-over Christmas decor and determine that it has suddenly become tired, ridiculous and rather sad, much like a leaky balloon that has slowly dropped unwanted to the floor.
At that moment I resolve to UN-decorate any evidence of the season. Not only to remove every remnant of that blessed celebration but to pack them away neatly in a manner that rivals those of Chinese toy manufacturers. This decision also means that my small storage shed must be emptied, re-designed and repacked. AND I must complete it that very day because I am a task-oriented worker.
The clearing away done I decide I might as well enter this new year with a spotless house but in order to do that I must clean and vacuum every room and polish every stick of furniture. The job creates dirty rags that must be laundered so I might as well wash the sheets and any dirty clothes as well.
There’s still six hours left in the year when I realize I haven’t eaten anything since that very small bowl of cereal at dawn. Not wanting to dirty any dishes or mess up my immaculate kitchen I make the wisest decision: I should eat fast-food. That choice leads me to the decision that since it’s the very last meal of the year it would be okay for me to have not only a hamburger on white bread but also a large, greasy order of onion rings drenched in ketchup. Not only would it be okay but it would be prudent to do so. (Don’t ask about my justification- this is my end-of-the-year ritual. Get your own.)
After enjoying my carbohydrate and calorie laden last meal I toss the remains in the trash. Wait a minute! I will wake up on the first day of a bright and shiny new year with last year’s trash in my house. That is quickly remedied by emptying every wastebasket in the house. While dumping the collection of trash into the waste-management bin I debate whether the fact that the barrel will remain on my property over the long weekend renders my entire days work null and void. I check my watch and realize that the city dump is closed already and if I attempt to put the debris in my neighbor’s bins they’ll think I’m, well, strange.
It’s nearing crunch time. In order for this entire day’s decisions to be little more than a futile whirl around the squirrel cage of my life, I must complete all the tasks I’ve assigned myself (including those that steal midway into my obsessive little brain), when I notice that it’s almost midnight in New York City. I’ve always selected the east coast as the “real” celebration because frankly, that’s my usual bedtime. I still must fold all that laundry I’ve been washing and I’d hoped to indulge in a long soothing bath. I stick another load in the dryer and jump into the shower because I might as well wash my hair too.
Shower finished, I decide to scrub the shower walls and floor for the last time this year. My hair wrapped in an oddly-regal turban I remain naked and scrub the stall until it shines. Cold and wet I turn the water back on to warm up. Crap! Now I have two more towels to wash! To heck with Al Gore! I wastefully wash and dry them anyway. What's another carbon footprint in the waning hours of 2009?
In that fury of activity I realize that now I’ve missed the New Year’s arrival in Chicago! The mid-west has long been my backup city but now I can only hope Denver will be sufficient. Of course I still have to dry my hair and fold those towels once they’re dried. I missed Denver.
I decide to go for broke and hold out for my own time zone. I busy myself until 11:45PM. My day’s labor is complete. There isn’t a place on my body that doesn’t ache except maybe my hair and it looks uncomfortable. I survey my immaculate surroundings, settle back in exhaustion and await the midnight hour.
At 12:07 AM, January 1, 2010, I jerk awake! Disappointed I consider holding out for another 3 hours and 52 minutes for a Hawaiian celebration. I decide I no longer care and it wouldn't count anyway.
Today is January 2, 2010. I’m still wearing the pajamas I put on last year. I never make New Year resolutions. I simply don't need the pressure.