I rang in the New Year at Thousand Pound Bend, surrounded by attractive friends and strangers. The music was loud. My poison was the humble espresso martini, and after… oh, half a dozen, I was comfortable dancing with my glasses on.
It’s not that I think glasses are undesirable. They just help me see, which can lead to eye contact. And eye contact with strangers is not my strong suit. Especially in scenarios where the people on the other end are judging my appearance and presentation, and may presume I am anxious to jump their bones. Which I may be, but they must not be allowed to know that.
So, the espresso martinis, and the dancing, and the cheer. And, by 2am, my stomach’s violent refusal to take any more of that shit. With every movement came more pain, and more vomit. I wake in the morning with a completely clear head, confirming that I had somehow purged myself of every drop of liquid in my system. And I am a precocious imbiber of water.
Later would come the resolutions – a month without coffee (not difficult, the scent made me sick); a year without alcohol; a very tight budget.
$800 a month, not including rent or internet. It seems easy enough to stick to, but I’d already spent $40 on a taxi, was about to spend $200 on flights to Sydney, and would have the trip itself to contend with in January. With what was left, I would rigidly ensure I was getting 5 serves of vegetable, two of fruit, two of complex carbohydrate, one of protein (including red meat and oily fish), and a few dairy per day.
In other words, I was the least fun person ever. I didn’t do much in January. I learned I could take 4.5 hours to eat an orange, while watching as many dowloaded television programs as I had during my entire gap year. I avoided people a lot.
In fact, I was so insular, that in my memories of the month I barely recall my flatmate.
She recalls me fairly well, though. During three weeks of caffeine withdrawal, my mood alternated between ‘irritable’, ‘exhausted’ and ‘unconscious’.
The 16th was a sweet reprieve – the Midsumma carnival gave me a picnic with friends, and that same evening Owen Pallett played The Toff in Town. Front row, centre, we could see the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled. I scored the set list.
This was that day. I quite like snakes.
The Sydney trip, when it came, was lovely. Fish by the sea, fish at a thai joint and fish in Glebe followed. Kneehigh Theatre, from Cornwall, were putting on The Red Shoes for the Sydney Festival, and I saw it with a childhood friend. It wasn’t quite as amazing as Tristan and Yseult.
And then it was over. At the time, I considered it a success because I came in under budget. Now, I recognise I ostensibly wasted a good month of my youth.