If I could write a letter to New Year’s Eve it would start:
I’m not angry at you, I’m just disappointed…
Because New Year’s Eve really is the empty biscuit tin of the prescribed happiness bake-off that constitutes this ‘festivities’ period. Christmas celebrations are the macrocosm of successfully finding and untangling the fairy lights that are, once hung on the precarious and altogether threatening tree, invariably broken. And, if I wished to celebrate something completely arbitrary I’d rather celebrate a pile of skittles sorted into composite number groups than my own Birthday. But the one that really takes the biscuit of mandatory joy is New Year’s eve.
At quarter past midnight on New Year’s day 2010, I was buying cookie dough poptarts in Midtown, Oklahoma City. A tall man with leaflets was proselytising in the corner; by now I was accustomed to hearing about my fate in the sixth circle. 2011 was a specious promise. I started celebrating what was also my best friend’s birthday by dancing for The Flaming Lips’ at their New Year’s Eve concert — which is to Oklahoma as Gay Pride is to LA or as kibble is to a dog, which is to say much anticipated — and ended with me crying in my room at around 01h30. In 2012 I was furiously marching down the empty Strand trying to stave off the panic attack I could feel bubbling in the soft space between my ribs. There was a thick hoarfrost coating the leaves and I could see my breath. I tried to concentrate through my fury on the soft blue wisps of air like a cloud of milk dispersing in hot tea. Just breathe. Fireworks like gunshots overhead that I could feel the rattle of. My then partner had flown in on the red-eye from Oklahoma to ostensibly celebrate with me, but had chosen instead to humiliate me in front of my godmother. I do not enjoy New Year’s Eve.
But this New Year’s Eve, I have capitulated to its charms, and I am spending it on my own terms with Mrs. Electricity and her son, The Pizza Chef, and my partner. In other words, exactly how I always wanted to when I lived away from home: with my friends from Oklahoma and London converged at some point.