I don't really go in for New Year's Resolutions. The reason being, clearly, that I simply have no flaws: no rough edges that need sanding down, no character deficiencies and certainly, gosh, no bad habits. How, I ask you, can one improve on perfection?
The real reason is even more simple: I have never yet kept a New Year's resolution and it seems, therefore, slightly disingenuous to even play the role of a reformeer. To suggest that I might actually be able to, this year, drink a bit less, run a bit more and generally be a bit nicer to everyone is not only a blatant attempt to fool others but a shameless bid to fool myself.
Even so, despite a distinctly cool attitude towards the resolutions bit, I must concede there is something quite nice and hopeful about starting on a fresh calendar. Maybe it’s as simple as ‘2009: It Doesn’t Suck Yet’ but to me it feels like coming back from the hairdresser with a shiny new hairdo. And for about a day I decide I am going to Get On Top Of The Hair Situation. You know what I mean: I will have it trimmed every 6-8 weeks like the hairdresser tells me, I will make an faint effort towards establishing some sort of style instead of just leaving the car window open to ‘blow dry’ it en route to work. I will apply fancy leave-in conditioners I don’t yet own and – yes – as I’ve vowed before, I will learn to deliver an up-do that will make me look like the hot (SPOILER!) android in Bladerunner.
So it is disappointing to find that the new year only took a day to let me down. Like the split ends I should have had trimmed away two months ago 2009 is looking a little bit ragged. A little, dare I say it, like 2008.
At least that's what I thought at first.
New Years Day. Early evening. I was tired and cranky and in need of something from the shop. Having forsaken such trifles as, say, a shower, or the use of a hairbrush I decided, naturally, to walk down to the shops myself. It'll be fine, I told myself, slipping unshaven legs into thongs and studiously avoiding looking at my mane of not-even-messily-sexy-bedhead hair in the mirror. Don’t even both changing out of that weird floral housedress once mistaken for a nightie - nobody goes to the shitty local IGA at 6pm on New Year's Day, right?
Well yes and no. Because, as it happens, not that many people do go to the local IGA at 6pm on New Year's Day. It's just that I happen to know everyone who does.
I recognised Him from a distance: a guy I know through work who I seem to run into at every boozy industry bash and who has only even seen me in heels, nice clothes and with hair that doesn't look like I'd spent 40 to 48 hours becoming acquainted with a wind tunnel. Oh and he apparently lives about three houses away from me. Who knew?. Sadly the fucker also had good face recognition for, despite my yeti-like appearance, he not only recognised me but decided it would be a fun idea to stop and chat on the street corner while I tried to simultaneously pull down the hem of my dress - fluttering dangerously high in the unwelcomly hot wind – control my hair and shake hands with said guy’s smoking hot and perfectly coiffed girlfriend, who was standing beside him looking like she'd stepped out of one of those Ralph Lauren ads where everybody wears cashmere and fucks on yachts.
Having said my goodbyes and still red hot with embarassment I lurched into IGA, negotiating the aisles at great speed and making my way to the checkout to dump 12 months worth of change onto the counter, removing from my pockets as I did so a twisted bobby pin, the receipt for petrol I don't recall buying and various bits of what I guess was lint (?) but was too afraid to investigate.
And because 2009 is the new 2008, the first person to walk in through the shop doors while the poor dear behind the checkout is counting up my 5 cent pieces is an old friend of my brothers who I haven’t seen in ages who now presumably believes I look exactly that shitty every day of my life. I tried to get away with a quick "hey" and walk out the door but no, no, he'd been meaning to get in touch about a book he wanted to borrow but he didn’t have my number. Did I still have that book and could he borrow it? The real answer - that I had no idea where the book was and wasn’t incredibly sure I’d ever owned it at all - would have necessitated further conversation and so I sort-of-lied and suggested it was on my bookcase as we spoke. And of COURSE he could borrow it. Any time. I made it out of there before he mustered the courage to ask if those were couch pillow creases on my face.
Bloody 2009, I thought, as I fled into the street: clearly it's just going to be more of the same.
Or was it? Because then something surprising happened: I decided to take the long way home, necessitating an additional ten minutes of walking. Ten minutes! Ten minutes I could have spent on a variety of much more exciting tasks but chose, instead,to dedicate to pounding the streets of Shenton Park. Oh SURE cynics will say I only did it to try to avoid running into the ex-boyfriends I was by now convinced were loitering nearby, waiting to emerge with their own shiny new girlfriends just as my shoes broke and I face-planted into the footpath, but I still did it.
And, hoofing it through the back streets, my head rotating on my neck like a car burglar who has just heard the distant strains of a siren, it occurred to me that if 'get more exercise' didn't belong on any hypothetical new year's list then I don't know what did. January 1 and I was already turning over a bloody new leaf. Oh 2009, you cunning little beast: you're going to be brilliant after all. Phew. But, please, while I could go on I’ll have to ask you to excuse me: have just got to go blowdry my hair and don some formalwear for a quick trip to the servo.