January 1st is like the mother of all Mondays, so laden with expectations, such a clean slate, the perfect day to start whatever project we set aside for the last 365 days. “Cleaning the slate” – as if it were possible after 47 years of wandering around this planet! As inconsequential as I might be in cosmic terms, my presence must have created some stains that even Clorox can’t wipe clean.
January is also the longest month of the year, it invariably feels as if it has 40 days – be it the bingeing of food, drinks, parties, gifts and spontaneous or forced merriment that weighs heavily or the drab weather (unless you are in the “other” hemisphere), or the feeling that the next vacation is still hopelessly out of reach, I always dread the slow pace of January.
On a positive note, I must be the only person in Los Angeles who lost weight during the holidays thanks to an unwelcome cold that erased all sense of taste from my tongue and left me moaning on the couch craving bad tv but not food. I must have also beaten all records by plunging into bed at 10:20 on New Year’s Eve, armed with a box of Kleenex and my brand new copy of “Cleopatra” – if I couldn’t join in the fun, I could certainly bunk with someone who knew a thing or two about fun.
Thanks to my clogged nasal passages, I also skipped the free meditation class I always welcome the New Year with – I figured that a fit of cough would have earned me un-yogic glares all around. It turns out, then, I started 2011 with none of the rituals I am lazily fond of, most of them borrowed from the Italian tradition. Wearing red underwear to ensure plentiful sexual activity for the year to come (Italy might be bankrupt but they do have their priorities right), eating lentils and grapes for financial prosperity and being kissed at midnight under the mistletoe for I forget what reason.
It was a friend’s e-mail this morning who reminded me of all that I skipped. She is of Southern origins and she sent me an article on Hoppin’ John, a dish of black-eyed peas and hammocks that is supposed to bring good luck in the year to come. Nobody knows why the funny name but black-eyed peas are to the black community and Southerners what lentils are to Italians.
Following in my “break from the past” footsteps, my extremely un-technological mother (possibly where my technology defiant genes come from) Skype’d me this morning – seemingly unimpressed by the fact she could see me 7,000 miles away, she sat there wondering why on earth was I wearing glasses and could I please show her the dogs. Maybe this will be my trend this year – breaking from the past, instituting new rituals, moving on. And if by next December my sex life will have been less than stellar, I will go back to the red knickers.