Tuesday, January 05, 2010

This Will Be Our Year

Well hello, 2010. We're five days in and you still have that new year smell. Things are going well so far, save for this morning's inexplicable four a.m. nosebleed which was quite possibly the worst thing you can wake up with, save for an empty bottle of tequila and an unconscious Wilford Brimley.

I kicked off twenty-ten in the Outer Banks with two of my closest friends; the kind of friends you can share a sofa with for four consecutive days without wanting to shove each other into another room; the kind of friends who are cool with you sending the same tortilla chip into the salsa for the third time; the kind of friends who don't mind if the last morning show has rolled its credits and you still haven't brushed your teeth. In other words: guys.

We did a lot of nothing--partially because that was the point of getting out of town and partially because the biting wind and sub-twenties temperatures made you sympathize with every Eggo waffle you'd ever abandoned in the back of your freezer--but it was a perfect kind of nothing. My great aunt used to say that the way your New Year's Day unfolded was the way the rest of your year would go. You know, if you were happy, you'd be happy all year and all that. I like to think that her beliefs hold true, that this is going to be a year of comfortable relationships, of easy laughter and big dreams, and of heavily processed food.

On the other hand, she also thought that Liberace was straight and that Pomeranians could smell cancer, so she may not have been the most credible narrator.

Since last week meant the final pages of my day planner--which was barely used, save for a few scribbled notations about upcoming haircuts and Law & Order marathons--I felt obligated to stop by Borders to pick up a new one. Since we're five days into the year, everything had been discounted 50%, so the selection was limited to a stack of well-handled Twilight calendars or a page-a-day celebration of the steelhead trout.

I decided that instead I'd make a resolution to start using the calendar on my computer or on the Google or something else that doesn't require touching paper or developing a deep appreciation for freshwater fish. This is worth noting, because I rarely make resolutions and if I do, they're things that are borderline unattainable, like Become New York Times Best-Selling Author or Develop Own Line of Skincare Products for QVC or Don't Eat Peanut Butter With Your Hands. If I'm going to fail, I like to fail in a big, big way.

Last year, I kicked tradition aside and made an attempt at making myself better. I thought that typing out a list of goals would help me work toward them, but instead they became the first entry in a journal I abandoned after approximately six and a half days. Anyway, I thought I'd lovingly cut and paste them here, a set of gently-used suggestions for improving my life that I fully intend to recycle and revisit in another three hundred sixty-something days.

You should write more. Otherwise, how are you going to win the internet?

I didn't win the internet in 2009--in Monopoly parlance, I'm probably loitering on Oriental Avenue--but I did do a lot of writing. Some of it was even exchanged for cashier's checks that were immediately thrown into my bank account, each deposit no-doubt making an audibly hollow sound, like dropping the pull tab into an otherwise empty Diet Coke can.

Last year wasn't one that paid particularly well, but it absolutely paid off. I made some invaluable connections and some equally incredible friends. I covered a pair of music festivals as credentialed press and collected more concert ticket stubs and hand stamps than any time in my life. I interviewed my favorite musician1 and caught shows by my two next faves.2 I have a recurring gig that allows me to make Tiger Woods jokes beneath the NBC logo and get to share my always eclectic, mostly English music recommendations with the unsuspecting. 2009 didn't give me much to tell my accountant about, but it always gave me a reason to get out of bed.

1Robyn Hitchcock. Duh.
2 Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello. Oh, and Morrissey. Twice.

Is it a resolution or a goal to say I’d like to break 3:15 in the Boston Marathon?

First, I like how my resolutions were phrased in the form of a question. Next, we all know how that ended: with an Achilles tendon that mutinied at the eleven mile mark, another fifteen miles with my face twisted into a pained grimace like I was trying to pass a threshing machine through my birth canal, and a finishing time of 3:40:59.

But I finished and that's probably more important. Or something.

Stop wasting as much time. Really. You’ll be better for it if you don’t spend your afternoons looking at pictures of cats on the internet.

This may have been the biggest bust of all of them. Granted, "pictures of cats" should be replaced with "downloading out-of-print pub rock albums" but still, I surrendered an unforgivable amount of hours to my RoadRunner high speed. This is the one I'll be working on the most. Right after I try to find that last LP that Ian Gomm recorded.

Save money. Don’t charge random shit to your credit card. No more t-shirts. That last one’s for real. You don’t need another damn t-shirt.

Oh, resolution, you were a mega-fail from the time I typed the first imperative sentence. Because I'm self-employed in the feast-or-ramen freelance writing business, credit cards are a huge part of my life. That overhandled Visa in my wallet covers necessities like luncheon meat and string cheese but the downside is that--thanks to my card's approximately 59.99% APR--I'll be paying for this box of store-brand tampons until long after my uterus has bricked itself shut.

And yes, I bought more t-shirts.

Take more pictures. You’re not going to remember this stuff forever.

I didn't take enough pictures. No matter how many I take, there will never be enough to fill in the gaps in my memory of all of the Technicolor good times I like to think I had. One day, I'll wish I had more, of everything from last weekend to this summer to my next Christmas. One day, I'll want to remember how young I was and to forget that I didn't appreciate it and I'd like to have enough snaps on enough memory cards to do just that. This one will move near the top of 2010's list, right before "Teach dog to use guest room toilet" and "Disinfect guest room toilet if expecting actual guests".

Try harder.

That's what I'm doing, kids.
That's what I'm doing.


Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

You are so further into owning the internet than Oriental. You are at least Tenessee Ave gaining on New York.

Happy New Year from your fan at Mediterranean Ave who enjoys overusing an analogy.

Crystal said...

I found your blog way over here in Paris, France and have been a fan for a while, so you ARE winning the internet, one continent at a time.

And my resolution this year is to try harder too and stop wasting so much time looking at cuteoverload.com. And maybe get a real job. It's like I'm you in a parallel universe.

AND I would teach my dog to use the toilet in the guest bathroom if A) I had a guest bathroom in this shoebox apartment and B) he didn't already prefer to pee on my work briefcase

Brahm said...

Love love love your blog, so think you are definitely winning the internet.

And yes you should buy more t-shirts... hell, if you aren't taking enough pictures, THAT can be how you remember stuff!!!!

Kim said...

Wow, you actually get PAID for your freelance stuff-- you are my hero. I've gotten some stuff published and even have a column in a national quarterly magazine and have yet to garner any compensation. I am either admirably benevolent or really fucking stupid. The first one.

Scribe said...

You rocked in 2009 and you'll take over the world in 2010. That's my prediction for you.

And teaching your dog to use the toilet? How about teaching him to stop eating underwear as an appetizer. My own boxerbeast has ingested five pairs to-date.

Andrea said...

If you win the internet, do we have to pay you to look at pictures of cats?

Pat said...

Keep writing. You've found your secret mission, so don't stop. And Happy twenty-ten...

Michael said...

You're trying plenty hard, and we Jelisaholics appreciate the effort.

Jay Ferris said...

As far as I can tell, you already kick some major ass. I guess it comes down to a bit more focus, and exactly whose ass you plan on kicking this year.

Jennifer said...

That's basically my resolution: Try harder!

I wouldn't call 2009 a complete failure. You didn't live on circus peanuts for a month.

miss. chief said...

hahaha Why Wilford Brimley?

Dawn Williams said...

Wanna buy a T-shirt? Just kidding. Love you, love your wit. And sarcasm. And the way you eat peanut butter with your fingers.

Dan said...

My great aunt used to say that the way your New Year's Day unfolded was the way the rest of your year would go.

With no hangover and a hefty supply of mimosas? Sign me up!

repliderium.com said...

Don't be stupid! Only Schnauzers can smell cancer.