January 01, 2006

Freezing in the new year

There is no heat in my apartment building. The radiators seemed to go silent around Friday afternoon and by yesterday morning, new year's eve, they were stone cold. There isn't anyone in my building except for me and one other guy down the hall and we compared notes yesterday. I wandered through the empty units--broken panes of glass, whiffs of stove gas, slivers of soap left in the bathroom sinks. Minnesota has strict laws about shutting off utilities (and then dawdling in turning them back on) but they're hard to enforce on a new year's day. I'll escape to a coffeeshop in a few minutes. The YWCA sauna beckons like paradise.

Despite trying to remain aloof regarding a night that is so often a disappointment, I found myself wistfully looking back at December 31st, 2024. What a fantastic day that was. I felt so lucky. And I was surrounded by great friends. But Cute Tim won't talk to me anymore and friends have moved away or moved on and my apartment was frigid and I was alone in it.

I escaped to a mall--ostensibly to look at laptops at the Apple store but really just to leave. The halls were filled with ugly people talking on cell phones buying up discounted Christmas decorations. While wandering through the sales racks at Marshall Field's a good friend called--a close relative of hers underwent brain surgery right after Christmas and the recovery is not going well. Timelines were discussed. My friend began weeping on the phone while I weaved in an out of the clothes, trapped in a mall, clownish women trying to foist perfume samples on me.

Fast forward a few hours. I'm with that friend at a house full of strangers. Its a potluck. Aside from the one bottle of Veuve Clicquot there's not much keeping me there other than a lack of motivation. Without the aid of timepieces we had to rely on my cell phone for the minutes. At what we guessed was 11:59:50 we began counting down.... 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 -- and suddenly the digital numbers flipped. "Whoops!" I shouted, "It's New Year!" Some people screamed. It was decided that the countdown needed to happen again, with more screaming, and then another countdown and still more screaming. I looked over at my friend. She was smiling and it was a brave smile but we both know its going to be a tough year.

Posted by jason at January 1, 2006 12:04 PM
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