This post is part of The Write On Project
Topic: New Year’s Eve
There is nothing subtle about leather pants. They even have a soundtrack, which would have been heard clearly had it not been for the thousands of people and electrified tribal beat in which the pants and I were swimming. Once far enough inside the sea of celebration, the black boots stood still and I scanned the crowd behind red tinted glasses, whose purpose was not so much to see but be seen. The loosely buttoned red velvet shirt with a butterfly collar had an equally loud voice, though it spoke with what I think must have been a European accent.
If narcissism had a team, I was wearing their uniform and my black spiked hair was the helmet.
I poured through the blurry crowd that night and devoured it all. It was what my young mind had always pictured a party to be. It was hedonism. It was indulgent. It was New Years Eve. And I loved it.
Memories of that night are scattered and disjointed, like a jigsaw puzzle undone. In one piece are strings of purple lights. In another, friends on the same team. In another, disembodied eyes and lips. In another, the rising sun. I remember the walls, my breath and the beat all moving as one. I remember timelessness.
It was a fantasy world and I remember wanting that moment to never end.
Flannel pants don’t care to ever be noticed. Like a worn teddy bear or a good parent, they need no real attention except maybe an appreciative little “mmmm” when they are first met after a long day. They only seek to comfort. They are quiet pants, which is great because I didn’t want to wake my daughters in the next room. Flannel pants are not part of an ensemble – only a lack of comfort clashes with them, not a differing color.
I looked smashing in my flannels, slippers and long sleeve ‘Team America’ t-shirt.
I poured through the pages that night and devoured them all. I was re-reading ‘Survivor’ during one of my Palahniuk phases where I can’t seem to read anything else. I set the book in my lap to fully digest some well crafted passage and my mind stepped out of the pages to my moment there in the flannel pants. I stared across the room at the plaid pattern reflected in the night-darkened window and smiled. I would never have believed I would have enjoyed a New Year’s Eve at home so much. It was eventless. It would make for a terrible story to tell someday, I thought. And I loved it.
Memories of that night are warm. Silence was interrupted just by the concurrent crackles of the fireplace and baby monitor. It was a good book. I only noticed it was midnight because the neighbors shot off fireworks, the sound muffled through the window. My first thought was that I was surprised I was still awake. After reading a bit more I went to bed.
It was a night like any other night.
As I grew up I idealized my future life, as probably we all do. New Year’s Eve was to be the ultimate party, complete with party people and party favors. You didn’t stay home – that was for the dull. The more riotous the images I could conjure, the greater the experience was to be. Brighter, bigger, louder and longer, to my adolescent mind, was more valuable. It looked great on paper and I didn’t know any different, so that’s what I went for. And I got it.
It wasn’t until I experienced the substance of life – real love, real significance, real responsibility – that my thoughts about what New Year’s Eve should look like began to change. The indulgent parties of the past were magnificent snapshots in time, but they were just that. Like the fireworks that exploded outside my plaid-reflecting window, they burst with great light and noise and then vanished, amounting to nothing. When life becomes full just with life, though, no special effects are necessary.
I don’t regret those moments. In part, those experiences also made me who I am. They were exciting, but that kind of excitement always ends, only to leave you wanting. The seemingly dull, it turns out, isn’t dull at all, but satiating when it reflects the serenity that can come with everyday. I think maybe it is the contrast that allows me to understand it. I think maybe that I couldn’t have appreciated the contentment of the flannel without the indulgence of the leather.
I wouldn’t trade either, but I’ve already got my flannels ironed for tomorrow.
Happy New Year everyone – may you be safe, happy and properly trousered, whatever your choice may be.
*Check out the other posts in this installment of The Write On Project:
Pickles On My Burger by Lick The Fridge
Learning to Dream Bigger and Better by Mudly Art
Keeping Promises by Stay At Home Dad in Lansing