These days, I try not to blink. Because I’m scared that, if I do, it’ll be New Year’s Eve, and there’s no way in hell that I’m ready for that yet.
Someone needs to tell me: How could it possibly be the end of the year already? Where did 2009 go? I actually remember it just being 1999. Back then – and excuse me if I sound like my grandmother – everyone was really excited about the year turning 2000. Y2K was on everyone’s mind. No one wanted to fly on New Year’s Eve just in case, when the clocks struck midnight, all the computers shut down, and Superman can only be in so many places at the one time.
Imagine if all the computers shut down today. Half the world’s population would drop dead from instant Facebook deprivation.
I started 2009 with so much hope and promise. There were so many projects I wanted to do. It was such an exciting time, though Amanda later pointed out that it was probably the champagne breakfast that made everything look so glossy and rosy.
“I’m going to brush up on my French,” I said on 1 January.
“Oooh, mais oui?” Saffy cooed. “Well, I’m going to lose three kilos! I am determined to fit into my skinny jeans again!”
“I’m going to find a boyfriend who adores me!” Amanda sighed blissfully.
Twelve months later, I can barely count to ten in French while Amanda is still wasting her time with the Cockroach, her long time on-again, off-again insectile looking boyfriend. “This is so incredibly depressing,” she said recently, her luxuriant hair vibrating with anger and missed opportunities. “Why am I still with that incredible loser? Why am I not working this out? I must be missing something. Because, seriously? I deserve a whole lot better. I’m beautiful, goddammit! And this kind of crap does not happen to beautiful people!"
To which Barney Chen posted on Amanda’s Facebook wall: “Oh yes, it does. Just look at Madonna!”
Meanwhile, Saffy…Well, let’s just say, it’s not looking so good in Saffyland.
She wandered into my room the other day, her face white as snow. “It’s not possible,” she breathed quietly. “How did I put on an extra two kilos? I’m supposed to lose three, not put on another two!”
“Well, you have been going to a few parties.”
“But I don’t ever eat anything at those parties. I just drink the free booze!”
I didn’t have the heart or nerve to tell her in person, so I went onto Google and emailed her several links to articles detailing the calorie count of your average Cosmopolitan, and gin and tonic.
This morning, Saffy announced that from now till January 1, she’s not eating any solids. “I’m just going to drink water and eat celery sticks,” she said with the kind of grim determination you normally associate with people who are about to get a face-lift and tummy tuck.
Amanda pulled a face. “Celery sticks? Why celery?”
“Because they have no calories in them. Apparently, you use up more calories just chewing them. So, it’s a win-win situation,” Saffy said. There was a haunted look in her eyes.
Not so random memory: When we were kids, the new year was such a magical event. In my books, it was way better than Christmas. Because somehow, in the space of seconds, we left behind the present. Yesterday, last week, last month, two seconds ago, last night…all these events suddenly, magically, became something called “last year” at the stroke of midnight. It was the coolest trick.
But marking the passing of another year is cool only when you’re five and the days seem so much longer. These days, I wake up, stumble into the bathroom, blink, and it’s the end of the day, and I have no idea what I’ve done all day. And increasingly, it seems to me that it’s not just the days that are disappearing without a trace; it’s also the years. At this rate, I’m going to be wearing adult nappies, hooked up to a respirator and eating jelly because no one can find my dentures.
“And the last words you hear won’t be ‘Good night, see you tomorrow’ but ‘Switch him off!’” Amanda said grimly.
Saffy says she doesn’t care if those are the last words she hears. “As long as I’m thin and can fit into my skinny jeans, you can say whatever you want to me just before I croak it!”
So no, I’m not looking forward to New Year’s Eve. I’m not ready. Which is why I’m not blinking.