My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Sort of Elegy

Where is G'Kar when you need him?
Tonight will mark the taking down of one Ditty Bops calendar and the putting up of another. That's the only noticeable change my room will undergo.
I've been trying to think of something eloquent to say to cap off the year. In a perfect world, I would have spent a few weeks or a month reflecting on the events of the past twelve months and distilling my thoughts into a stirring elegy. I would sit at my desk, trusty pen in hand, and bask in the shining Uniball ink as I wrote out the final words of the piece that at once encapsulated the energy and pathos of the past year and channeled it into a resolve to carry on with renewed vigor and determination for the one about to begin.
But it's an imperfect world.
So what, pray tell, made this year unique? Every year is filled with sadness and despair. With walks and memories and screams and laughter. With chocolate and cheese.
Is it the names of the players? Was her hair red this year, while in years past it was dirty brown? Is it the changing scenery? The songs coming from the stereo? What were you doing when the balloon dropped over the masses last time around? I can barely remember. It seems so unimportant. What's one moment out of a whole year? It's like a single drop in the 2006 pail, slowly filling from the crack in the roof. What else is in the water?
Check all that apply:
Fall in love?
Lots of heartbreak and tears?
Holiday sickness?
Moments of sheer joie de vivre?
The death of a family member or friend?
Overwhelming, absolute readiness for the end of this year paired with a delirious, screaming eagerness for the blank slate afforded by the new year?
Am I the only one who scored 100% on that little test?
Perhaps it is precisely the sheer commonality of our collective experience that we will be celebrating when we raise our glasses tonight. The dirt under our nails. The dead skin that fell wherever we walked, and became dust. We pay for our existence with sweat and blood, and this is what the year keeps. Somewhere inside us are bits and pieces, loose ends and minutiae, made up from the grime and residue of the beatings we've taken each day this year. Imagine that they're located in a specific place inside your body, and that come the morning you will be taking them out and putting them away. You might throw them, good riddance, hurtling into the night to be crushed underneath the wheels of trucks, gliding on the freeway. You might just tuck them into the furthest recesses of your closet, not gone, but well out of sight. You might place them on your bedside table. But whatever you do with these tangled memories and emotions, they are what truly made this past year distinct from every other. It's the details, the change which have defined the year. Not vague lists or photographs, but the visceral reality that we went through what we did. All 2006 asks now is that we remember it, and hopefully learn from it as well.
So I offer this as a toast. Raise your glasses of wine, your pints of beer or your shot glasses of Makers Mark; even a glass of ice water will do:
May the pieces of yourself that get put away never cease to teach you how to live better, starting tomorrow. May each day henceforth serve to give those pieces meaning.
Tomorrow is Monday.
You can have tonight off.

Do what you love, and fuck the rest.


Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything
Inner - Slither
Modest Mouse - The World at Large
Merle Haggard - If We Make It Through December
Neutral Milk Hotel - Two Headed Boy, Pt. 2
The Decemberists - Grace Cathedral Hill

1 comment: