To your health
What I want to know is, how can they distinguish between dementia and the repetitive nature of the speech of an alcoholic black out? Should I take my mother's advice and settle on a drink I can call my own? She favors Dewars and water; I am not so committed to any one bottle or brand or frequency of beverage consumption. At mom's, cocktail hour starts promptly at 7 pm. I keep a bottle of Dewars at my house for her, but there is no corresponding bottle of mine at hers.
We may be a family with a genetic history of what is now called "substance abuse," but only two of four members of my immediate family (father and brother) have done time (without success) in rehab, and the other two, mom and I, have managed to steer clear of such institutions. We cope on our own terms -- she with drink; I with pharmaceuticals.
It took my not-so-perceptive aunt and uncle until after the age of 70 to realize perhaps three martinis a day wasn't the wisest course of consumption. It took my middle cousin, their unmarried daughter, until the age of 40 to realize her parents drank too much. I wondered why she had only gawked, when I had to fish my mom out of the ladies' room where she had decided to nap, and I was barely 25.
Celebrating New Year's Eve is amateur hour. After the age of 21, I started sticking close to home, with the exception of one New Year's party where I met a girlfriend nine years my junior and then became her trophy lover -- or so I perceived it at the time. I did give the first domestic partnership shower for friends of hers as soon as New York City passed its DP law circa 1992.
Tonight, I stay home, and cook dinner for a few friends. My application of heat to food is considered celebration enough.
As far as resolutions are concerned, I still consider the official New Year to occur in September, at back-to-school time. It's not because the Jewish High Holidays take place in that month, but because the weather changes noticeably, whereas winter goes on and on, with its short days and cold nights. Only one out of four people over the age of 35 make resolutions, so I am in good company in my refusal to make promises I can't or don't intend to keep.
The one resolution I do have is technical -- I'd like to get the Galapagos pictures printed before I leave for Africa. I took a digital camera to the Galapagos, but I'm reverting to film for Africa. Digital requires too much do-it-yourself work. While I know my way around a darkroom, cropping photos on computer and finding where and how to send them to be printed is above and beyond my technological interest.
Oh, and one more: I will learn how to link to other blogs, since I read so many and want to let you know what amuses or otherwise hits an emotional chord with me.
For the new year, I wonder if my off-white rabbit, Bunny Boo Bear, has any plans beyond some extra carrots, or a lengthy romp, offered at my discretion, around the living room rug?
When you work at home and set your own schedule, the calendar takes on an entirely different meaning: days blur together, and the main ways federal holidays make themselves known is when the mail fails to appeal and TV stations don't run their regularly scheduled programming.
The only way I really take a day off is to leave town -- for 2005 thus far I've planned a week in Tuscon visiting friends, two weeks in Africa -- the year's Big Trip -- and a long weekend (business related) in Palm Springs. That should take me through May; then other friends' houses await for summer.
I am, most of the time, a good houseguest. As Laurie Colwin wrote in The Lone Pilgrim, "A good houseguest is like an entertainer....You know what a specific public wants -- in my case, groups of two, with children....You cannot be a good houseguest and be married. Single, you carry only the uncluttered luggage of your own personality, selected and packed by only one pair of hands."
Granted, at 44 the luggage I carry consists not only of my own but of my history. Yet I find it a welcome diversion to visit other people's domestic lives, to reassure myself that the choices I have made are right for me.