Jolly Thoughts on New Year's Eve
I've tried going to parties, which was never going to work because I don't like parties at the best of times and certainly not on New Year's Eve, (or, to give it its full title, Oh My Goodness Let's Think About All The Loved Ones Who Have Died and All The Terrible Things That Have Happened This Year Night.) I've tried staying at home and pretending it's not happening. Of recent years, I've done a kind of hybrid thing where I stay at home and pretend it's not happening until about ten to midnight. Then it's over to my mother's house and we have to sing Auld Lang Syne and watch Jools Holland, or That Bloody Awful Jools Holland Plays Music That I Hate, to give the programme its full title.
In general, I'm a Cup Half Full kind of person and in general my attitude to any feelings of melancholy is to kick myself rather hard, pull myself together and move on.
But the more people drink, and be merry, and let off fireworks, and sing Auld Lang Sodding Syne - to give the song its full title - the more quiet and miserable I get. And then I feel bad for being quiet and miserable and then I feel worse. And sometimes people ask what's wrong with me and I hate that because all I can say is that I don't know, really.
But all would be well - or at least better - if my mother could do what she'd love to do most, and that's to go to a New Year's Eve party, get a bit tipsy, flirt a lot and dance all night. Which, I must point out, is my idea of hell. If I were her, I'd be throwing a party. In fact, when she was my age, she used to do just that - this house was well-known for such things. But now she's eighty-five, and eighty-five-year-olds don't tend to get invited to other people's parties, and her Unsociable Daughter and Even More Unsociable Son-in-Law never have them. And her Rather More Sociable Son and Rather More Sociable Daughter-in-Law live in Amsterdam.
So why the hell can't I be cheerful, if only for my mother's sake, and jolly myself out of it? Yes, since you ask, it's been a very hard year in some ways - but a very good one in others. I suspect my New Year's Eve melancholy is more to do with me than to do with actual events in my life - - and as for the terrible events in the world - well, there are always plenty of those and other people manage to put them to one side so why can't I?
I think it's the emotional expectation that I don't like. I don't like any big social event, in general, that's got clouds of Having a Good Time around it, and the bigger the Having a Good Time expectation is, the worse that I get. Yes, yes I know, self-pitying whinger, why don't I just count my blessings?
And I have many, many blessings to count, of course. I know that: please don't think I don't. Grateful thanks to those who have helped me to get through the worst bits of this year, and also to enjoy the best bits - you know who you are, or you jolly well should do. But tonight I shall be at home, finishing off the one glassful of Baileys that's left in the bottle. I have invited my mother over to our house just before midnight and I'll try to put on some semblance of good cheer.
But if Jools Holland dares to come on my telly I shall pull all his wires out.