Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve: Judgment Of The Storm

Well, it's New Year's Eve again, a day for looking back on the old year passing as well as the promises of the new year coming. Of course you always hope when you reach it that looking back will be a happy time, and looking forward will be even happier. Alas, it doesn't always work out that way.

I woke up this morning feeling a little tired. The dog's had something wrong with her, and I heard her loudly hacking about 2 in the morning. I got up to see what was going on and there was a little yellow puddle of spit-up on the rug by my bed. I took it to the hamper, the dog following me, who then made signs like she needed to go out. We went out and she took a No. 2, the whole thing then sticking to her fur and needing to be cleaned off in the sink. I felt a little nauseous and couldn't get back to sleep.

I finally did doze off, and woke up to a winter wonderland in progress -- snow. It's snowing still, so this must be the day for it. I had breakfast, the toast burnt (need to check the dial each time) and my eggs messed up, meaning the yolk was hard. I thought, Crap, if this is how New Year's is going to go ... but I said I wouldn't be depressed. The snow is coming down, it's white and piling up like crazy, I need to see it as something of a promise, a new start.

A new start was what I would have! Wouldn't it be great to go out in the storm, there to eat a few flakes as they fell, thereby saving myself a little extra work later shoveling. And I could use the time to take personal inventory, matching beautifully, I hoped, the newness of the day to the oldness of my life. I took a look in the mirror, swallowing my morning pills. What a lot of lines. What's happening to me?

I went out and kicked a bit of snow and immediately stubbed my toe on a big rock. It didn't hurt terribly, so I walked on, thinking, thinking, ever thinking -- I can't stop, sometimes my thinking is torture. Thinking of everything I've done wrong in the course of the year, and how tomorrow's not likely to be any better. I'm the guy, you may recall, who brags about his willpower. Well, so much for willpower; I'm still eating bad, not getting enough exercise, I'm tired all the time, and my dog's sick. If I don't die, it'll be a miracle.

In my walk I thought I'd wander away from the yard, get down the street, and maybe my perspective would be different. Of course my feet and legs aren't used to lifting that much wet snow, with more coming down all the time. I'm thinking, I could just collapse here and die of exposure. There's nobody out today, they wouldn't find me for a week. Or I could test my limits and keep going, which I did.

Along the way I started thinking of all my regrets and personal failings. Here I am, almost 60, one foot in the grave, and what have I really accomplished? One day is about the same as any other, there's never any personal progress. Sure, I fill out the Sudoku in the newspaper once in a while, the easy ones. I write my blog. And the dog needs me; she's on her last legs. But that's it. My big hopes of sailing the world, winning a fortune in Monaco, owning a picturesque chalet in Switzerland, writing a bestseller, being the Fifth Beatle, and becoming the CEO of IHOP, are obviously doomed to failure. I can't even adequately convey the misery this gives me.

Having walked about as far as I physically could, I looked over. What?! The dog had gotten herself trapped in a big wet drift. I had to go over and use up 99% of my remaining strength getting her and myself out, once I'd become trapped. That meant I only had 1% strength left to make it all the way home! Which, think about it, it can't be done! I have no reserve.

But somehow I got home. I don't know how. Maybe the dog dragged me -- uphill. She seems out of breath, more so than usual. I was seeing these terrible red flashes when I blinked my eyes right before I (apparently) passed out. Then I don't remember anything else. But here I am, typing this. I have a cup of hot coffee, although I spilled the first cup and burnt my leg.

Yet, I'm still hoping for a Happy New Year -- and even if it's with my last dying breath, that's going to be my wish for you, too -- but I just don't see how it's going to happen...

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