So you know that episode of Friends? I think it’s about the 10th episode. It’s the one that takes place on New Year’s Eve, the second time Chandler breaks up with Janice and the one where Fun Bobby cries and the one where Rachel gets beat up and Ross gets in a fight with Marcel and David moves to Minsk and Joey’s plot doesn’t matter. The overarching premise of that episode is that everyone feels bad if they don’t find someone to kiss on New Year’s as the ball drops. Everyone acknowledges it’s a silly tradition, but they all get anxious when it doesn’t happen.
I made the mistake of watching this episode on December 30th.
I’m not one for silly traditions. But the seed was planted in my head. It was like Inception with a laugh track. Either I was doomed to force something or I was doomed to feel regret for not forcing something. And I’ll tell you what. One of those things did happen. But that’s not the story I want to tell in this ASARAR. That’s a personal story for me to have. Anyway, that was a reference.
So you’re not going to get the full story, but you are going to get a little bit of a rant about what happened that night. And oh boy, do I have a few rants from that night. I can rant about Uber. I can rant about the weather. I can rant about the way people dress. Actually, I will rant about that for a second: If you know you’re going to get cold, bring a freaking jacket! You look pitiful shivering like a hairless cat. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your dress is if you’re practically shimmying out of it and your goosebumps are protruding to a point that I don’t know if they’re goosebumps or stray specks of glitter. And one more thing: When I offer you my jacket, it’s not me oppressing you. It’s not me thinking I’m better than you. It’s me saying “I’m not cold, take my jacket.” Guys and girls both, know this about me – I don’t think I’m better than you because I’m not cold. I just think it’s illogical for me to be warm and you to be cold when we can both be comfortable.
Anyway, the thing I actually want to rant about is timing. I got to a bar on New Year’s Eve with some friends at about 10:30. And it was barely at half capacity. Give it half an hour and the line to get in the place nearly stretched onto the street.
C’mon people! It’s New Year’s Freaking Eve. You know that everyone is going to want to be in a bar at midnight. So don’t wait until after 11:00 to go out. Get there early if you want a spot, especially if you want any drinks or a place to sit. I don’t understand how we live in a world where people will show up for Black Friday shopping deals at 6 o’clock on Thanksgiving night but wait until the LITERAL 11th hour to get to a bar to celebrate the 12th hour!
Think ahead people. Golly gee. Deeper breath. That was a rant.
So what I’m not going to tell you the big story? Calm down it’s not that good anyway. I’ll tell you what happened afterwards. Is that good enough for you? No? Then stop reading you ungrateful snob. Anyway, my friends all had to get up before noon the next day, so we all left the bar around 1 or 1:15. But I wasn’t yet tired so I decided to meander around the streets of downtown Athens as I often do. So I popped in my headphones and slapped on my Spotify playlist that begins with Auld Lang Syne. As some of you may know, Auld Lang Syne is one of my personal favorite songs. I’m actually listening to it right now. And that night, since it was New Year’s, the one time of year that it’s customary to listen to the song, I unashamedly mouthed the lyrics as I watched idiots shiver without jackets and drunk children weeble and wobble along the sidewalks and I confidently locked eyes with the other people who looked perturbed to be alone at this vulnerable time.
After the song ended I intended to head home. But my shuffle shuffled to Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row, a song about which I’ve written quite an extensive short story on this site. And the lyrics seemed too fitting to not continue walking. Of course, that song tips over 10 minutes long and I mouthed every single one. Eventually I ran into a friend and spoke with him for a number of minutes. Then I pivoted course and headed home. I ran into another friend and had a brief conversation with her, but she seemed to be busy.
Then I walked home. It was a little cold but I was fine. It was a long walk but it sure beat paying for a ride. And oh yeah, one other thing happened. I took the route through UGA’s campus to get home. And in doing so, I walked underneath The Arch for the first real time. And then it hit me.
It was 2016, the year in which I am officially expected to become an adult, at least in the sense of what adulthood is supposed to mean. And as I meandered through campus and the satellite streets that led back to my apartment, I pondered the future, something I don’t normally let myself do. Then I pondered the past. Then back to the future. Not the film, though I’m surprised that didn’t come up.
It was a pleasant walk, one soundtracked by Paul Simon, of course. And it made me realize the one thing I needed to: Being in the real world doesn’t mean I have to be perfect, it just means I have to get better.
That was a story. Not the whole story, but part of it.