I have this superstition about New Year’s Eve. I mean, everyone has superstitions about New Year’s Eve. Wear red underwear. Eat 12 grapes. Sweep out the front door. Run around the block with empty suitcases. They’re cute.
Mine has always been that however I spend New Year’s Eve is how I’ll spend the rest of the year. It’s like a promise of what’s to come.
2019: Pasadena, CA with old friends and new. Facing a cold winter’s night in a new faux leopard coat. Luxury, being bathed in compliments. Feeling hopeful. Pretty much sums up the year. It was a good one.
2018: Tucson, AZ with a college friend and then this completely unexpected party at an art collective. As the party wound down, I went to the bar to get a drink. I wasn’t going to be served because they were closing. But the guy behind me was able to get one and he split it between us. I thanked him. He walked me out to my car and we spent two days and nights in bed. Brock. A white boy from rural Illinois. Yeah. That was fun. And 2018 ended up being the year I had so much fun meeting The Israeli, hanging out with Dan, subletting a place in Brooklyn and palling around with artists.
So 2020, you might already know, I spent the night alone and incredibly anxious. I wasn’t unhappy that I wasn’t out and partying. Part of what annoyed me was being home when the boy I liked was out. But it was more a foreboding, you know? Because it was my 41st New Year’s and the pattern has proven true time and again.
I’m ok with being alone. I’m pretty good with dealing with loneliness. I’m really ok with being in Tucson while everything is going on back in NYC. I think I could have swung it. I would even really have enjoyed hanging out with Gianfranco, my roommate. We’re pretty good at entertaining each other.
I just never felt good about Tucson. The airport I love. The desert I love. But I never felt at home here. I’m too bombastic. My hair is always styled. My makeup a little overdone. My clothes seem like costumes, even when they’re picked from Target. I get funny looks here. People rubberneck when I walk by.
I thought it would stop in NYC, but even there I stand out. It doesn’t matter what I wear. I’m just one of those eccentrics, I guess.
I’m still doing makeup. Every morning. Wearing a face that I keep in a jar by the door.
Who is it for, you ask? Well, me, mostly. But thank goodness I had it ready today. At 4 p.m. I tuned into Happy Hour Story Hour on Insta. It’s the weekly Duplex open mic that’s gone virtual. I just wanted to listen. But before I knew it, I was sharing the screen with Julia. I didn’t have a story, but I pulled something out of thin air. Well, sort of thin air. It’s something I’ve been thinking of auditioning with for a big podcast in NYC. We’ll see.
The news is full to the brim with grim lately. Goodwill might just run out and then it might get scary. There’s supposedly a tent hospital in Central Park run by religious anti-gay zealots. As if gay people are the problem. And in Bed-Stuy, a patient pushed an old woman because she wasn’t far enough away and the old woman died from the ensuing injury.
Imagine if NYC had the guns that Arizona has?
If you look at the 1968 and 1992 riots, they were in response to deep injustices. People riot when it’s warm out. The heat drives people crazy. It’s starting to get warm in Arizona. Hopefully this thing will subside in NYC before June when people start to get boisterous.
I wanna get home. I don’t say back. Back gives the illusion that I’m looking toward the past. Everything is new now. It has the potential to be great. It has potential to be other things, too. But that’s where I wanna be. At least in a month or two. I don’t want to be exiled to Tucson…. It doesn’t matter how many people there are here. I always feel alone here.
At least in NYC, when you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go downtown…unless it’s under siege by a tiny retrovirus.
Everyday feels like Groundhog Day in Tucson. Thus the song.