When this time of the year comes, a string of ritualities are in order. It starts with the approach and arrival of Christmas, though it does not feel as oafish with Christmas since it is only an evening and a day, short enough so that our suddenly awakened feelings of kinship and broadness sustain throughout the celebration. A person wishing you “Merry Christmas” can still be sincere, can still mean it, can still truly be hopeful that you have a good, joyful day.
Come 31st December, and things start blowing themselves obscenely out of proportion.
My friend said, it is good for people to try and find an excuse to be happy. Yes, but they are not looking for a way to be happy, I said to him. The people are just looking for the next soda bottle of fizzy diversion.
Messages pour in, even for as unsocial a person as me. This reality is a side-effect of functioning as an adult, you are part of a dozen chat-groups – half of them from work – and all of them will be flooding with images of New Year greetings, and you cannot clear up your phone memory fast enough. Many of these wishers do not even bother to see that their message does not show the ‘forwarded’ tag on the top. There is no revelry in this, only yellowed ritual.
Working at the job I have, there is a tiny room for variation. There are a number of lines from young children who are also busily wishing happy new years to their acquaintances. They have been taught to do so, and their age still allows them to believe in fairy tales. The feeling, therefore, is at least partly genuine. They still truly have some sense of jubilation attached to a new year arriving on the doorstep, some vestige of new hope. Although culture has them age earlier than they have to, and cynicism has already begun to roost in many of their hearts. They grow up watching everything going to hell right in front of their eyes, and new years keep coming and going by. They are not foolish, and they know.
What gets me every time is the vast, frothing community of headless, soulless adults. These people – discounting those individuals who are cursed to have eyes – will relapse into the same modes of hypocrisy and self-deceit every time a year comes around. They will sigh and pick themselves up because they have to shine themselves so they look happy. They will buy things to obey the screen which bids them ‘join the celebration.’ They will flex their faces when they see people they are tired of seeing, and wish them. They will even breathe deeply and think ‘Well, after all,’ – and go back to the same thing as before.
Adults are not stupid. Adults are smart. They know perfectly well they are shamming. You need to think about for one round second and that’s enough for the truth to stare you in the face. So you do the only thing there’s to do. You don’t think for a second. You go around and you drown yourself in carbonated distraction.
God forbid you actually start thinking, even if it is for just one second. Would take the piss out of the whole celebration, wouldn’t it?
Every year, the same old charade. Every year, the same old dry-caked cow shit. We are a people that does not look at the moon rising in the sky, we are a people that lets the sun set unhailed every dusty evening, what do we know of a new year?
I makes my wishes with the thistle and the grass. Let me live like them, unobtrusive and truthful, death and life here with me every ordinary day.