new year's eve

it's just after seven in the evening and i'm sitting in a friend's living room in denmark. the new year will trundle along in a few lazy hours and the fireworks will continue well into the morning here in arhus. the living room is quiet and dinner will be served shortly. i suppose the time has come perhaps to take stock of the last twelve months, for they have been eventful.

i sold the best bike i've ever had; lived with morgan; drank with morgan; got a tattoo; turned 22 in the best of company; worked at a shoe store with matt hatch; rode in whistler twice with shane & spencer; got a new road bike; played frisbee at boulevard park with ang, joel and ashley; spent too much money at old town but made unforgettable connections; made a secret getaway to the oregon coast; thought i was having a heart attack; got to celebrate a year with somebody; watched a good friend get married; finished my thesis; watched my best friend grow from one person to someone completely different in a year; realized credit debt is not good but nearly unavoidable; played in seattle; strengthened connections with those whom i love and missed dearly those who i don't ever see; imploded and watched others implode; taught myself that positivity is the best way; supported and got support; learned that some people didn't get the memo about assault and that education should be the first priority; met kurt halsey; watched my love leave on a train only to spend christmas with her; went to england; studied medieval history where it happened; saw sigur ros in london; found my favourite pub in the world; studied the tube; made lasting friends abroad; traveled north france; visited denmark; made plans; changed plans; watched the united states make a choice that delighted the world; contracted; relaxed; learned to deal, learned to deal, learned to deal.

i'm missing some things in that list but i don't really care. there was one valuable lesson to come out of 2008: letting myself love. love friends, love a girl, love the world for whatever it has to offer (even if what it has to offer is nothing but hardships at times). my friends mean more to me than anything in the world and that realization is the most amazing part of the year.

drab palace
happy new year.


[edit] i would like to try and describe århus while she bends and twists, shaking from the explosions of massive non-state sponsored fireworks displays. this is the city during new year's celebrations. streets fill with the sulfur stench of lit powders and spent fuses, the yellow vapor lamps barely penetrating the thick odious cloud that wavers about with the little breeze that makes downtown. it's 23:50.

mom, abby, steffan and myself stood surrounded by small buildings that were just enough to block our view of the surrounding skyline - we were in some square in the city center. across the rooftops and chimneys the occasional flash of light penetrated the darkness and drowned out the stars on this -4c night. the frosty grass was loud underfoot but, come 00:00 2009, the crunch was drowned out. the madness that ensued for the next 45 minutes can only be described as an air raid from 1940 without the craters and flattened buildings. the body count and fires remained just as high, however. across the skyline, all we could see were flashes of incredibly bright light followed immediately by cracks and booms. my guts rattled and if i had a metal plate in my head i might just have had an aneurysm. searchlights stabbed through the smoke and night. there were screams coming from every direction as people seemed to flee the chaos, yelling and drinking and carousing their way into debauchery. windows rattled and the mass of sirened vehicles blazing through the streets gave the distinct impression that the nazis had just began shelling central london again. the smoke coated everything and you couldn't just smell it, you could taste it, the foul rank clinging to every surface that didn't have frost on it. homemade fireworks were causing rubbish bins to reach a state of explosive instability on a regular basis. cars full of youths and elders alike roared by. the bolder drivers passed the fire engines from time to time, attempting to avoid the rockets in the streets by dodging and swerving, marking serpentine tracks in the sulfur and frost that had settled on the street. they were the fleeing remnants of a people stuck in a place they didn't want to be with no choice but to give their damnedest to work together to get out. this is the last chopper out of 'nam! i imagined taxi drivers yelling to their dawdling fares standing drunk and confused on the sidewalk, half deaf from the shelling and crackling and screaming and pandemonium coursing through the streets like heroin through the veins of someone taking their first stab. champagne bottles exploded against buildings and sidewalks. people dressed for balls and galas joined in with the frenzy. everybody on the streets seemed lost but not a single one seemed to care. no one dashed for the bomb shelters and there wasn't a single prophet urging us to repent - if there was we could never have heard him.

århus exploded tonight. instead of sitting on a hill, watching some choreographed fireworks show i was part of it. i walked through the smoke, felt the caustic taste rest on my palate. everybody was a part of it. the state organized no event so the people filled the vacuum. there was no sense of finalé, just the relentless pounding and drumming of illegal german fireworks announcing our presence as the human race and greeting the new year with open arms, look at us! look at what we can do! we can build bridges and construct buildings taller than mountains! we can dig tunnels and create massive transportation networks that whisk people across miles in minutes! we can logically theorize on the origins of the universe and deduce the motion of all celestial bodies to three simple laws! we can cure polio and make corn healthier and easier to grow! we can do all of these things and more and we do everyday of every year since we first learned how to cause a spark! but tonight is the first of january and we'd just as soon get drunk, laugh, shout, be attracted to one another, have sex, eat food, play games and make colourful fire in the sky! god it's great to be alive and human.

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