This time last year I was fronting a hella good band called Hella Fitzgerald on a ship called the California, cruising around San Francisco Bay (Re, fireworks). After work, my boyfriend and I caught an after hours bar and watched service industry professionals from various restaurants, bars and events gather to begin their own New Years celebration ( – I guarantee they party harder than the people they served until a little past midnight 👀). After that bar closed we wandered the empty streets of SF until 5am, talking shit and making the kinds of plans that you don’t really know how to make happen.
This year, my recently minted husband and I had no concrete plans for New Years. After the NYE gig we’d booked was cancelled last minute, doing anything at all seemed a bit of an anticlimax. I’ve played NYE every year for who knows how long, and I don’t always know what to do with myself on holidays if I’m not gigging. If I go see someone else’s band play, I’ll feel compelled to network, analyze the music for inspiration, etc etc. Being in one of the only places in the world where one one can even gig makes me feel as though we really should be taking advantage, but in spite of the many lovely invitations from friends, nothing was stirring.
Instead, without much thought or prior discussion, my husband and I started cleaning. We cleaned, assessed, discussed; cleaned, assessed discussed… For hours. All day, in fact. We’d come together to tackle projects, then separate to handle different projects. Whenever we passed each other we’d flirt and share a few kisses, then it was back to the tasks at hand. There was no end in sight to our cleaning party! Not that our place is particularly dirty, but we’d both gotten into the kind of deep clean mode where you’re going at crevices with a toothbrush. We mostly listened to music while we worked, the odd meditation podcast or news report for a change. We’d ponder aloud if we should be making other plans, but we never stopped. For all the while we were cleaning, we were also reflecting on this insane year, and occasionally one of us would turn off the music to share an epiphany or a summation. The mood was positively grateful, a little bit sensual, and I’ve never enjoyed cleaning so much in my life. By 10:30pm we’d physically and mentally worn ourselves out.
There was no countdown to midnight. We’d crashed on the sofa, so at 12:15am one of us woke, informed the other that we’d missed it, and we unceremoniously picked ourselves up from the couch and dragged our exhausted bodies to bed. I’ve decided that it was perfect. The symbolism of our compulsion is almost poetic. As much good came of 2020, – and A LOT did, especially for the hubs and I – the collective toll this year has taken on the world is not lost on anyone. In this year’s final moments, we kept the good, acknowledged the lessons, left the bad, and made a path forward. There’s still work to do, both on our house and in the world in 2021, but we can be proud of what we’ve survived and accomplished this year. I wish everyone such a feeling. May you enter the New Year from a position of internal strength.