Is That All There Is

I am trying to fight it, this feeling of obligation to get dressed up real pretty and eat bloody prime rib and sip bitter champagne and kiss strangers on the lips. I am weary from the holidays, belly bloated from cookies and cabernet, brain overwhelmed by too much familial stimulation. A hot shower, frozen pizza, and pajamas sound ever so inviting. But it is New Year’s Eve, and that just isn’t done.
Still, my friends and I are staging a boycott of sorts, and avoiding the crowded bars and overpriced restaurants for the relative comfort of my apartment. I may still get dressed up real pretty and sip bitter champagne, but there will be no bloody prime rib here, no strange lips to kiss. And that’s all for the better, I suppose, because I have always found New Year’s Eve to be a bit of a letdown.
Like many people, I am currently suffering from holidus interruptus deprimus, or what is commonly referred to as the post-holiday blues. The Christmas season now officially begins on or about October 15th, when red and green ornaments start to commingle with the Halloween decorations at Walgreens. For two months we anticipate this one day with shopping and travel plans, cooking and tree-trimming. Chipper coworkers organize holiday potluck lunches, their jingle bell festooned sweaters dusted off from dark closets.
For the love of god, I made cocktail meatballs three times in two weeks.
This being my 34th Christmas, one would think that I would know what to expect, but the depression always catches me a bit by surprise. And it’s no one’s fault – nothing could live up to the expectations that build up over these eight weeks.
Maybe it’s because I watch too many movies that these events play out like film shorts in my head. I’ll say this, then she’ll do that, and he’ll think this, and we’ll go there. It so rarely happens that way, but that never seems to stop me from my mental screenwriting. It just gets a bit frustrating when all the best scenes keep winding up on the editing room floor.
In a way, maybe it’s a good thing that each year ends with more of a whimper than a bang. How sad it would be to start off each new year feeling like it couldn’t possibly top the last. Instead, I am typically left with a sense of hopefulness that next year will be better.
I will remember not to drink so much. My family and I will finally make good on our promise of less holiday excess. I will learn a new recipe for cocktail meatballs. And I will wear more lipstick, in case I should run across some strange lips after all.

19 Responses to “Is That All There Is”

  1. hooizz Says:

    well said jenny – i think your post is VERY much in line with how many of us feel. its sad to say, but i definately notice an older ‘vibe’ to this line of thought (which means that i MUST be getting older… ha!).
    a person can only take SO many all-you-can-drink, over-hyped, under-staffed nye events before they throw in the towel and settle down for a chill evening amongst friends.
    here’s to a new year with new opportunities!

  2. nina Says:

    But why do you drink bitter champagne? It is the most exciting of beverages — never bitter, never sweet, always tantalizing, inviting, perfectly playful, flirtatious, light and happy.
    Do me a favor — skip the heavy burdensome cabernet in favor of a popped cork tonight. And give it a chance. Your resolutions should make an exception for champagne. There’s always room (though never enough cash) for good champagne.

  3. Jessica Says:

    You may not believe me but I started to call you….”Jen, you doin’ okay?” I was going to ask.
    Say, does the fact that you might still get dressed up mean you could, in fact, don whore eyes tonight?

  4. jenny Says:

    Hooizz: Yes, it’s definitely a sign of my age when my friends and I decide to perhaps just call each other around midnight to wish each other a happy new year. My god! What’s happening to me?!
    Nina: Tantalizing, inviting, playful, flirtatious? You’ve just described my dream date! (And to be honest, I recently was at a wine bar where a friend of mine had a champagne flight, and it opened my eyes to how delicious champagne can be. But I’m still cracking open that nice bottle of old vine Zinfandel I got for xmas!)
    Jess: You’re sweet. Just in a bit of a funk, but nothing that whore eyes won’t cure!! ;)

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Jenny,
    Thank you for telling the truth: the holidays don’t live up to anyone’s expectations. They can’t. All those romantic fire lit notions of egg nog love are invented. Blame Hollywood. Blame advertising.
    So, let’s celebrate every damn day instead. All the small, sincere moments that fill our lives with interesting exchanges with strangers in food courts and fellow commuters on trains. Let every day be a holiday full of gift giving and nostalgia making. Let every day ring in with the possibilty of doing new things.
    Now, I need a drink.
    Happy weekend.

  6. jenny Says:

    See, Viv – this is why I think you are just the greatest. And I never did like egg nog all that much anyway…
    Happy weekend to you too, my friend.

  7. romy Says:

    over-stimulation : check
    bloated belly : check
    tired of commercial festiveness : check
    craving pizza and netflix in my own apt : check
    looking forward to a better next year : check
    thanks for nailing it all right on the head, jenny. i’m going out tonight because i’ve never been to first night in boston and this year i have people to go with. i might even do whore eyes, too. just to see if it works.
    (though 2005 was, really, pretty damn cool. i mean, i found your blog, and you found mine. pretty damn cool indeed. ;) )

  8. romy again Says:

    you know what 2006 could improve though?
    YOUR COMMENTS COULD REMEMBER ME. i’d do whore eyes every day for a month for that, and it wouldn’t feel cheap, either. because it would be for a noble purpose.

  9. Fiorello La Guardia Says:

    Jenny, I am totally agreeing with everything you said. Next year? My family will definitely make a change in our routine, too. Let’s compare notes on 12/31/06!
    Heck, for the past 10 years or so, I’ve said that THANKSGIVING is the best holiday. No expectations except dry turkey, over-saged stuffing, and too much wine! I can live quite comfortably with that.
    Next year, how about if all us Jenny blog readers meet at a casino and blow half the money we would have spent on gifts for people who don’t need them, and give the rest to charity? Biggest loser gets to pick the charity!?!?!

  10. shari Says:

    Exactly. That is exactly why I was dreading Christmas this year. Because I know it’s going to be a let-down, and I can’t be bothered to get all excited about a whole lotta work for a let-down. But you? You NEVER let me down… well…, except for the whole TequilaCon-will-be-a-moving-target date thing, but you know, I blame people who can’t choose a convenient wedding date for THAT, so on the whole, I like you way more than the Christmas/NewYear holiday overload. So, I’ll call ya at midnight in my slippers, after the frozen pizza left-overs are back in the fridge.

  11. jenny Says:

    Romy: My singular resolution for 2006, as I am truly opposed to resolutions, will be to fix “remember me” in the comments. It is the thorn in my side, the salt in my wounds, the straw on my back. And for the record, I’m pretty sure I found you first. Take pics of the whore eyes! ;)
    Fio: Casino? Nah, I’ve proven time and again that I don’t have luck when it comes to gambling. But not buying gifts for people who don’t need them isn’t a bad idea!
    Shari: Aww, thanks, doll. I’ll try to make sure I don’t let you down in 2006. And I know you’ll be at TC ’06 no matter when it is, such is your commitment. (Did I tell you I got a divine 12-year single malt for xmas? Mmm…)
    Hey – maybe TequilaCon ’06/07 is going to be held ON Christmas next year! That will surely exceed all expectations!

  12. shari Says:

    Mmmmmmmm….. Scotch! I’m liking ’06 already!!

  13. shari Says:

    Or was that “licking”?

  14. Rarity Says:

    Dinner with friends will always top the dreaded night out… You (we)’ll find that handsome stranger’s lips one day even without frequent clubbing… (I sure hope!)

  15. roy Says:

    Maybe I’ve had more practice, (OK,I have had a lot more practice) at holidays, but I try to maintain low expectations, although somewhat more than I would for a day with a dental appointment.

  16. spinner8 Says:

    Must have fun events are almost never fun. Fun happens best without being forced.

  17. jenny Says:

    Shari: First round’s on me in NYC! Let them have their precious tequila!
    Rarity: Well, since I just went to your site and saw your NYE dress, I don’t think you’ll have any problems in that area! ; )
    Roy: I’m going to measure everything in 2006 against the dentist appointment benchmark. My motto for this year will be: “2006 – better than a root canal!”
    Spin: Couldn’t agree more!

  18. roy Says:

    Excellent idea! So, get a promotion at work, or meet a handsome/beautiful stranger with lips, that would be like -2.5 on the root canal scale. (RCS) Get run over by a Mini-Cooper, about a +0.3 RCS. (Lincoln Navigator, +0.9 RCS) Get a root canal, but the dental technician is hot, exactly 0.0 RCS.

  19. allison Says:

    Cheers to a mellow NYE this year. My bff and I ushered in ’06 in comfort. The two of us ate mexican, watched poor Dick Clark, fireworks in Central Park from my rooftop, polished off a couple bottles of champagne.
    In like a lamb, right?