crowd

Jan. 1st, 2004 10:07 am
susanstinson: (Default)
[personal profile] susanstinson
I went to my friend James' house last night, and he made a pizza with shrimp and peppers and sausage, two kinds of mozarella. We drank pink champagne and watched Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Vivid! James, who has been working and travelling at a pace I can't even imagine, was getting drowsy on the couch, so I said good night and walked down the hill towards my house, limping as I do so much now, but inspired by a big, straggling gaggle of people, including a little boy being pushed in a carriage, still shouting a very game, "Hap-py New Year," to walk down King Street to sit on a curb in front of the hotel and watch people gathering in their little silver crowns and party hats, blowing whistles and beating drums.

It was a big crowd. Couples were doing preparatory kissing. Dads urged their kids to watch the civil war reenactment guys load a cannon. The firing of it was loud, and didn't feel like an innocent pleasure. There was a big screen flashing kind of dull pictures of our town, and a lit ball that rose slowly in the air at midnight. People cheered and hugged their families. Some kissing did go on. It wasn't too much as spectacles go, but it satisfied something in me to mark the moment with people from my town. Sometimes in big groups I start to feel either utterly alien or a profound sense of human connection, but neither happened for me last night. I didn't feel lonely, either, there without those I love -- although I do savor a heartfelt ritual kiss, the nuanced comfort of physical contact. What I was feeling was something quieter and unsurprising -- kind of a recognition of the desires I was seeing on people's faces -- to have a really good time, to live another year of life with vigor and meaning, to be close with others, to face (or drown) sins and fears, to see some sights and yell loud enough to be noted as present. I feel those things. People were looking ordinary, for all of their paper horns and the release of balloons. But I did, I counted and hooted, too.

May you have a beautiful and engaged year. I grew up with the rule that it's important to eat black-eyed peas on new year's day so that you have enough money during the coming year (not necessarily a lot -- just enough) , so you might want to consider that, too.
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