My December to Remember II: Day Thirty-One
News: Pope Benedict XVI dead at 95.
Twelfth Oregon county to vote on breaking away from Oregon and join Idaho.
Dr. Fauci’s final day as…whatever he is anymore.
I’m currently in a Starbucks with my laptop, typing away on my first draft, with less than 400 words until my 50,000 word goal. I don’t even like Starbucks that much, but sometimes a venti iced chai latte can’t help but call my name. I took care of my old co-worker’s cat downtown and then went over to H&M, where I bought a whole bunch of rings. Right now, I’m wearing fifteen of them. They’re stacking rings, so some of them are big, others are thin. I don’t know why so many. It just feels like something I want to try, to gaudy up my fingers and bring a little glitz into my life. I’ve got to do something. You know, “New year, new me,” as they say. And this version of me comes with a bunch of rings, apparently.
No ring on that finger though. It’s fine. I’ve had exactly zero expectations that I’d ever get one anyway. From anyone. I never thought my hands were suited for a giant diamond. I put on a good front, pretending like I’d get the biggest and most beautiful rock when it was time. Even as I’d peruse ‘engagement rings’ online just for funsies, nothing ever stood out to me. Princess cut, cushion cut, pear-shaped, whatever. I could never picture one perched on my ring finger. I’d look down at my hands and think they were nice hands, but didn’t need to be ‘completed’ by a piece of jewelry. All I looked forward to was a life with the love of my life. And perhaps a simple gold band like my parents had. Everything else is just a status symbol as far as I’m concerned. Doesn’t mean a dang ol’ thing to me. But I’m not even close to knowing someone who’d even consider buying one for me right now, so it doesn’t matter either way. And the idea that I’d find that person in my immediate surroundings seems like something else I’ll have to say goodbye to in the new year.
It’s sad here. I mean the entire city. I cannot relate to a single thing anymore. I look around at all the people in the Bux here with me, and everyone is just on their phones; Faces aglow by the small screens, showing them a world outside of the one they’re currently in. Or perhaps they’ve got headphones in, listening to something that’s far more interesting than the sounds of the city. It’s just a sorry state of affairs, and I wonder if everyone everywhere is experiencing the same thing. How can I possibly expect to connect with anyone when disconnect is the only thing that rings true around here?
I also need to be careful about what kind of energy I’m projecting, especially when I’m writing. I get so intense and deep in thought that it apparently shows up all over my face. While in Starbucks, not one, but two people asked me if I was okay as I saw there on my laptop. The first was an employee who was emptying the trash. “Are you okay?” she asked, to which I only looked up and smiled. “Yes,” I said, “Just lost in thought. Thank you.”
And then not ten minutes later, it happened again. I was thinking real hard about something. There was this guy standing in front of me who had one of those gigantic titanium male wedding rings on. Something about it really triggered me. Yes, I was a little triggered snowflake over it. I just can’t stand the way those things look. They’re so big and bulky and in your face. He then said something about oatmilk and almond milk and it caused me to place my hands in a tent and bring them to my mouth, stare forward, and not blink. An older lady, who I presume was his mother, then asked me if I was okay. She must have been an out-of-towner, as she reached out and rubbed my upper arm. Very weird for New York City, but not the weirdest thing to ever happen to me. I smiled again and said, “Yes I’m fine, thank you,” in a very fake and gay falsetto. As she left, she wished me a Happy New Year, and I did the same in my same phony voice.
I hate being like this because, if you want to know the truth, I’m possibly the furthest thing from being fucking “okay” anymore.
New Year’s always seems like a time for big celebrations and hanging out with friends. Well, none of mine are around. All of them have their own lives. Their own relationships. Their own babies. I’ve got a cat and an apartment. That’s it. Nothing Instagram-worthy to share over here. But don’t people go out for a NYE dinner? Sure, but that’s lost all its luster. Food is the least enjoyable thing in my life right now. Nothing tastes good. Everything has a horrible chemical aftertaste now. Nothing I place in my mouth makes me say “Mmmm” anymore. I can only tolerate meat, and that’s not always a surefire thing. Pizza used to be one of my favorite things and now I swear it smells and tastes like straight up sewage. While I still can’t smell anything, that doesn’t mean scents don’t enter my nostrils. Believe me when I say I can literally smell what’s wrong with food. And my tap water, which is why I have filters on my shower and a Zero Water filter for the tap.
What kind of life is this? What am I supposed to do? My co-workers want to take me out for a holiday dinner, and I’m barely excited to eat while there. It makes me miserable and it’s so disappointing how saying goodbye to food and my sense of smell has become a new personality trait.
The lack of connection to anything seeps into my love life, which is null and void as far as I’m concerned. I’m just going to be this singular entity floating through life until I die at age 105, nestled in bed, alone with my pen and paper. I mean, that’s just one of the options I have to prepare for myself. I don’t want that to happen, but I don’t see any other path at the moment. I’m trying dating apps again, but it’s so blah. It’s so cringe to see how people try and sell themselves. All the men in this city just feel like a bunch of try-hards, putting their quirkiest self forward, showing off their beards or Pierre-staches, and don’t forget the photo of me at a wedding so you can see what I look like dressed up! I question any dude whose primary photo is him flipping off the camera. It’s like, well, fuck you too, then.
I have no expectations for anything in that department, but I’m open to something, anything kicking off. Perhaps the new year will bring some kind of connection here so I can stop feeling like such a socially inept loser for just one goshdang second around here. Because again, all this affirms for me is the desire to one day soon bid goodbye to it all. New York, the news industry, this current trajectory I’m on. I know I shouldn’t look forward too much, but to ignore my options seems like a poor assessment of self.
I’m not bitter. I’ve moved past that. Now I’m just here. I’m not going anywhere, even if I end up hightailing it to the uplands and plant my feet in Vermont or New Hampshire. Rest assured, I’ll still be me, bringing along all my flaws, my talent, my tolerance for bullshit. That will never change. I know who I am deep down, I’m in touch with the soul. Perhaps one day someone will see it too, and, more importantly, I’ll be able to see theirs too. I won’t be so stuck in my own head, so deep in thought that it causes random strangers to feel sorry for me.
I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted another year alone. Because it’s not just the outside affecting things, it’s what’s going on inside too. I can choose to spend another year circling the drain, or ring in 2023 with a smile on my face, and finally say goodbye to the bullshit. The choice is mine, and yours as well. I’ll be there with bells on. And rings, too.
Happy New Year.
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