Well, today it is things back to normal, more or less, back to not being Time magazine's Person of the Year 2006. In fact, it is back to being Potential Person of the Year 2007, or Potential Nonperson of the Year 2007, or even potential person, or potential nonperson (I threw that in for existentialists and FOSK [Friends of Soren Kierkegaard]).
And what is "normal" on New Year's Day, anyway? It is not a normal day. It is a day groggy with the hangover of the memory of ancient hangovers, after a night of no imbibing, except for the intoxicating vision of numbing television, including the watching of the Waterford cystal ball falling, by increments of seconds, backwards-counting seconds, like those manned-spacecraft or unmanned (neutered?)-spacecraft launchings we watched in my youth. This, a scene from the new, Disney-fied Times Square, a far cry from the ancient, tawdry carnal "Midnight Cowboy" fleshpot carnival of yesteryear, though I admit to sometimes missing its vulgar, if menacing and perilous, "atmosphere" and allurements.
New Year's Eve. The memory -- my memory -- of retching mercilessly by the clock at Grand Central Terminal (frequently mistakenly called Grand Central Station, which is a post office), slobbering onto the marble floor, oblivious to the star-spotted cerulean blue, majestic ceiling. New Year's Day. "I'll never do that again. I promise." Those powerless vows. One such first day of the year taking the train from that very terminal (not the day after the oblivion onto the marble), drinking again, cavorting, parading, mock-marrying, annoying, dancing, falling, menacing for four, five, six hours. And then after the train ride making the rounds by car and foot and lechery through blurry strip clubs, Marvin Gaye music, a crack-up somewhere, knocking on strangers' doors at 5 a.m., fearing I was in Brooklyn (where I had never been). And then deigning to go to work the next day! These days, I'd have been fired on the spot -- and arrested too perhaps (cardiac or otherwise).
And so this sometimes unperson surprises no one when he says his New Year's Eves -- and the other 364 eves -- demand at the very least a modicum of sobriety, not so much as a virtue but as a personal, communal, and redeeming necessity. Achieved only by surrendering to and embracing grace, with an uppercase G, never the less. But always enough. An Abiding One-Day-At-A-Time Unearned (except by pain) Grace.
So what was "normal" today? Getting up around 10:30, everything thrown off. Sitting outside Toys R [with that obnoxious backwards, Cyrillic-alphabet-like inverted R] Us and laughing out loud at Steve Martin's genius novella The Pleasure of My Company. Laughing out loud as chubby suburban wives and surly dads and restless children run into the store and see an older man in a car reading a book -- and laughing. Do they think me a potential pervert? A molester? Let us hope not. (And somehow I think such miscreants are not inclined to wholesome laughter. Roaring laughter. Laughter at sheer humor, as well as the utterly distinct pleasure of reading someone whose style you love, whom you'd love to emulate, who just-plain resonates with you. Me, that is.) (The novella reminds me of Nicholson Baker's The Mezzanine for its vision of daily minutiae.)
Did some dishes.
That's normal, isn't?
(We do not have one of those dish-washing machines, and I am glad.)
One never knows, you know? Today, in checking my emails, I found a very nice note from one of the authors on my list of 14 books, and authors.
Yikes! Who reads this stuff! question mark
It could be anyone!
Case in point: In November, I got an email from BBC Radio because I once mentioned A Perfect Spy by John Le Carre -- and they invited me to ask him a question for a radio show. And I did! I talked to him by phone! (enough of the exclamation points, dude)
Merry New Year.
p.s. Thanks for stopping by, Mr. Mystery Author Author. Clue to readers: I enjoyed The Nervous Breakdown.