M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Thursday, January 02, 2003  

New Year’s Eve, 1999. I’m in a tuxedo. I’m at a huge party in a swanky hotel ballroom. Six hours previously, I watched planes fail to fall from the sky as Greenwich Mean Time rolled over to the new millenium. At midnight the DJ plays “1999” and “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” and I kiss my wife and hug my friends and dance with everyone and almost have to beat up this drunk guy who keeps hitting on everyone and trying to follow people into their hotel rooms.

New Year’s Eve, 2002. It’s 6:45 p.m. and I’m getting home from a few failed errands. The cat food store closed early, so I wasn’t able to pick up a twenty-pound bag of silage for Strat and Orca. The keys on Trash’s keyring that we thought fitted the front door to Dirt and Banana’s house…don’t. So while they’re in Chicago, their cats have to wait for dinner as well. And my plan to pick up dinner has been thwarted by lazy people who think they can just close a restaurant on New Year’s Eve and nobody will notice. I’ve been driving around for an hour and accomplished nothing. I have about half an hour to come up with a backup dinner before we go to G. Grod and Girl Detective’s place for an early, quiet New Year’s evening.

Climbing up the front stoop, I somehow lose my footing; I’ve stepped on a tread wrong, My hand darts out and grabs the iron railing, rescuing me from dashing out my brains against the concrete. The last time I hit this stoop, nearly eight years ago, I broke my finger and had to play slide guitar for weeks. At least there was ice that time, so I had an excuse. But this time, I remain upright. The only problem as that a small bomb appears to have gone off at the nape of my neck and the entire area between my brainstem and shoulder blades is luminous with pain. Apparently I pulled something back there. Perfect. Just what I need.

I have enough inexperience with back pain to think that when it just pops forth like that, there should be a way to pop everything back into place and make the pain a bad memory. That doesn’t ever seem to happen, though.

My minor injury was a perfect counterpoint to the ague that Trash has been smacked down by for the past few days. So then we had to spend a while with each of us trying to get the other to sit down and worry about themselves. A guy stumbling around like Quasimodo and a woman whose brain is being fever-sauteed in a phlegm reduction are not much fun to be around.

Obviously, we had to cancel our plans for the evening and make new ones. Ones which involved heating pads, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, fluids, decongestants, and any number of emergency-room-style indignities. By midnight, neither of us was even up for Dick Clark. Trash pulled up an atomic clock web page on the computer and at midnight, I winced against the pain and gingerly positioned my head at an angle which would allow me to pick up orally transferred cold germs from my sick wife. It was kind of sweet, in a depressingly ridiculous kind of way.

And we realized that this was the first New Year’s Eve we’d ever spent at home, alone, with each other. Which actually was kind of nice.

Because God knows that neither of us were in any shape to beat anyone up.

* * *

Did you see this item? I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. Trash and I were in New York for four days in October and we didn’t get killed once.

* * *

I just realized that I kind of left you hanging there at the end. It’s unfair of me to draw you into my story and leave you worrying about the outcome, so here’s the denouement:

We found the keys to Dirt and Banana’s house and their cats did get fed. Happy ending. Particularly for the cats.

posted by M. Giant 3:03 PM 0 comments


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