Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy New Year

I’m looking at an invoice from one of the smaller companies I hire for repairs and small projects. My eye is drawn to the bottom of the page where a brightly coloured sticker reminds me that “Jesus is the reason for the season!” These are not obsessive compulsives like those crazies who tried to get me into Amway that time, but rather a small family business who are using this way of telling me they like me, and they are willing to spend money on nice stationary to send to me. They are not interested in recruiting me and we have never discussed religion during work. They seemed happy for me that my friend was taking me to the Tattoo Convention for my birthday this year, and they always have a kind word for the person who takes over for me when I go on vacation. This is a small measure of political incorrectness I never thought I would encounter in the business world. I have had many men my equals in this industry look down on me and assume I didn’t know shit and I’ve had many superiors act surprised that I know what I’m doing. I kind of expect that sort of thing in this world, so I was very surprised to see a religious message on an invoice. Usually this is the happy holidays time of year and I myself composed a message to my preferred suppliers focusing mainly on the end of the year and next year coming. This divide in correct holiday decorum is not totally lost on me as my family has a very particular way of spending Christmas. They do it their way and that’s how it is. One family gathers to drink and belittle each other, we join our other family to be judged and ignored (more drinking) and then we do it all over again the next day for the aunt who is in church on Christmas day and only comes to open presents the day after. Since I was nineteen I haven’t bothered with any of it. One year I went to the casino with some friends after seeing Something About Mary at the movies, one year my friends and I made fun of our friend’s new girlfriend, the cocaine snorting stripper at the only open bar in the city. Mostly I stay home with my iguana and some nice wine.
This year was going to be different. My new honey invited me to spend Christmas with his family at their more traditional, nuclear family gathering in Vancouver. Light drinking and only mild abuse. It got cut short when his trip got changed and I would have ended up stranded on the coast all alone with a band of catholic Jamaicans. We decided to spend the holidays apart and see each other in the New Year. Champagne has never sat well on my tongue as I am a die hard whiskey girl; nevertheless, New Years Eve has always been the shining moment of my holiday season. The party hopping is usually the best fun I have all year, as is the decision as to which place to be at for the countdown. There are always last minute changes to the seniority list depending on such variables as “What did you get me this year?” “Did you invite my horrible neighbor to your party?” “Have we even spoken in the last two months?” and others. After moving to this city, my tastes changed again as I simply knew fewer people, many of them default friends by extension of various partners. My dad knows more people here as he is consistently in town for Bear Brunches, Divercite (gay pride) and other special family events. The New Year’s of 2004 found us bar hopping as father and daughter. We truly bonded over glasstops that evening. I live in the village, so we began our journey bypassing the Stud as my kind is not welcome (they actually asked me to leave their terrace once while I was seated with my dad having a beer. Boo!) We were planning to hit several places and end up at Sky when Dad cried out, “oh, just let me run in here and say hi to my friend!” We were in front of the Black Eagle at the time and I had no idea what their permissions were regarding daughters of recently outed middle-aged bears, but it was 20 below, so I ducked inside. He ran straight for the back through a wave of Hellos, but I was not sure whether I was welcome or not. I looked around and saw a few people seeming to enjoy themselves when all of a sudden a titanic, colossus of a man in a leather vest came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. I was expecting something along the lines of “flap your cunt elsewhere!” but he invited me in and said it was fine and I should relax. I made friends with a table of Maritime Bears in for the holidays when my dad came back and said, “Alright Julia, you have to meet Rick. He’s met your brother and now he wants to see you in person.” Having a reasonable idea of what to expect in the dungeon of a leather bar, I was mentally swapping boustiers and bras for chaps and codpieces when I came to the back bar to see Rick. He was very thin, wearing only a white rubber bodysuit. A long rope hung down from his neck and was sportingly tied around his cock. I think of it as jaunty even now. He was smiling widely and we got into a discussion about film, his true passion. A few strangers were around and there was a lot of porn on all the various screens in the room. Dad went off to the washroom and Rick lined up some shots. As we continued talking we completely lost track of time. I looked up in one lucid moment and realized we were still in our first bar! And where the hell was Dad? (He claims to this day that he really did need to use the washroom and was not meeting a friend as I insist must be the case) The countdown started and Rick and I toasted a new and prosperous year for each of us. I looked at the porn on the TVs, the shiny, smiling faces, the rubber-clad bartender, the indoor chain link fence and I thought to myself, “Should this be weird? Is it weird that this isn’t weird?”
Dad came back and we went to a few other places after that. We ended up at the Club Sandwich before their vast menu change and after drinking there until about 5, we started back to my house, picked up a stranger on the corner, brought him home, had some drinks and called it a night.
When I told that story at my office the next day, a girl in leasing still dazed from the holiday asked where I was still getting served at 4 in the morning. I asked where she was in this city that she wasn’t getting served at 4am. It was New Year’s Eve! Also, I felt she had missed one or two main points.
My new years since then have been milder and more intimate, though still we gather and make merry in our own way. I don’t know what we would have done if I had been in Vancouver, but a standard countdown to a kiss seemed in my immediate future. I have so many friends this year who are far away and some who stay in on new years for much the same reason I lock the door and go free-range myself at Christmas. I know my boss is staying in with his family, my coworkers have various house parties to go to and my roommate will be up at her cottage with friends. I’ll definitely have a phone call, maybe two seeing as his countdown will be four hours after mine. Then maybe I’ll find someone dressed in a black patent leather pig-suit I can ride around on for a few hours, toast Bettie Page and go home. Or I might just invite my dad up again and see what kind of year it’s been for him.

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