Happy, uh, what's today's date again? 2006? Whatever.
I mean no offense to any New Year's Eve revelers out there. I'm sure you enjoyed every last second of 2005, including your bonus second granted by the US Naval Observatory in Washington. One more second of a slurring, pained Dick Clark keeping Ryan Seacrest off the air is certainly worth drinking to. And I mean no offense to those of you looking forward to a 2006 that will most certainly include President Bush admitting to all of his mistakes and then promising very, very hard to try not to make too many more. I myself enjoyed a wonderful "Pimp's & Ho's" New Year's Eve party at a friend's house. Remind me to post the pictures someday.
However, it seems to me that ringing in the new year is a lot less significant than it used to be. First of all, I'm getting older, which means that as I personally slow down and get fatter, time is speeding up. So I feel like I'm experiencing New Year's Eves at the rate I used to experience Tuesdays. But that doesn't explain everything. I just don't feel any compulsion to ponder the new year anymore, to make resolutions, or eat black-eyed peas. (Although I do eat them on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year) This week is just a continuation from last week, which was a continuation from the week before. It's sad, sure, but you know what I really blame for this annual malaise? Online billing.
I mean, you used to be able to rely on having guaranteed non-weather related small talk in January, talking about how you keep writing the old year in your checkbook, hardy-har-har. When was the last time I wrote a check instead of relying on online bill pay? (It's not a rhetorical question - I really want to know!) I did some research for this post, digging my checkbook out of my desk at home. It was buried under dusty $0.32 stamps, rubber bands that crack if you touch them, and some tic tacs I bought in high school (and yet were remarkably still good). The 25-check book was half completed, although I started it in 2002. There was not a single check stub from 2005.
When I think about it, not only do I not write checks, I never write the date on anything anymore. Part of that is because I'm not in school anymore and don't have to turn in assignments. But even when I was last in school, I was more likely to turn in a paper written on the computer, which automatically attached a date. More and more, students are submitting assignments electronically, preventing the need to write either the date or their names. Imagine if you forgot how to sign your name? Your signature would get so sloppy it would look like.... your signature.
2000 was a big deal for the simple jarring fact that for the rest of your life, you would be looking at a '2' staring you in the face instead of a '1'. But even then, there was little in life that was seasonal and there's less today. There used to be a time when you couldn't eat fresh fruits out of season. Now you can enjoy oranges and strawberries 365 days (plus one second) every year. How about football? Arena football starts in January, so you never have to suffer through summers that only feature the most boring "sport" ever devised - baseball. With the invention of Las Vegas, humankind mastered the 24-hour day. Online bill payments are finally helping us master the 365-day year. Happy Two-thousand whatever.