I’ve never been good at this, the switching to the new year. The keeping up with what year it is. Back when I wrote checks, I spent at least the first two months of every new year scratching out the incorrect date and initialing it. I was always so worried that my check would be rejected because of the date change. Because obviously someone was poring over my every check to ensure its authenticity. I swear. I am just so naive.
Fortunately, I no longer write checks. Which means I can now go at least six months without learning what year it is. I’ve also been forgetting my age lately, or at least having to think for a few seconds before answering the question. But whatever. It’s 2011. I’m 33. I’ve got a handle on things for today at least.
So, as some of you know, I’m back in Madrid, New Mexico for New Year’s. As far the weather goes, this was a pretty poor choice. For example, today I’m just waiting for noon to roll around so that I can go for a run without fear of hypothermia. Last night, while walking from the car to the movies, I was really wishing I had brought my snowboarding gear. Oh, and speaking of the movies, we tried to see “True Grit,” but a water leak in the theater caused first a series of fire alarms and then, about forty-five minutes into the movie, the total shutdown of the theater. So that was last night.
The night before, New Year’s Eve, we spent here (the only bar in town). Oh, and first, we ate here. A Southern prix fixe (choclate pecan pie, Mom … I really don’t think pecan pie has any need for chocolate, but I know you will) followed by champagne and some of the funniest, most fascinating people watching I’ve ever done. Everyone kept commenting on the quietness of this particular New Year’s Eve, but it didn’t seem quiet to me. It was exactly like what you’d imagine a small town NYE party would be: dancing, drinking, just enough of the inherent small-town drama to keep things interesting.
All of the town characters were out, and whoever was standing next to me at the time one passed would give me the general lowdown on exactly what made this person a town character. They’re pretty much all characters in some way, as most of us are. It’s just that most of us don’t live in towns like this, where we live our days in such proximity that it becomes impossible to hide our quirks and oddities. Eventually, in a town this small, you just have to own it, whatever and whoever you are. Which makes for a really good NYE party, especially for the casual observer. Although, as we all know, I’m not all that casual. I ask questions. Sometimes too many questions. In fact, I was told a couple of times, You really don’t want to bring that up. Especially not while so-and-so is drinking. Trust me.
If all I got to do was listen to the stories that were whispered to me all night long, that would have been enough. But there was also the music, provided by various local musicians, including the previously mentioned Family Coal. And more champagne. And at 2 AM it was last call, and the whole town left the Mine Shaft and walked home. What could be better than that?
Today I will eventually gather enough nerve to go outside and run. Until then, there’s plenty of work to do. And then there’s some sort of surprise in my future. Tomorrow, we’re going into Santa Fe for this surprise, and I was told to bring a swim suit. I’m (secretly) guessing this means we’re going to Ten Thousand Waves, but there could be some of reason that I might need a bathing suit when it’s FOUR DEGREES outside. I’ll let you know.
Happy 2011, my friends.