For a vast majority of the last 20 years I’ve spent New Year’s eve watching my partner play music with one band or another in one bar or another with one set of drunks or another. This year I skipped out and went to Seattle for something different. My friend’s living room has a perfect view of the Space Needle where they shoot off fireworks at midnight. However, in the last five minutes of 2013 a thick fog rolled in over the skyline and all that bang and glitter left nothing but a vague glow. I refuse to see this as a metaphor for the year to come.
Back in Portland a few days later, I decided to catch a band I’d seen before in a bar I’d never been to. I’d never been to the bar, but I’d been in the building. When I first moved here it was a video store owned by a man who used a star system to rate all the movies in his place. Thing was, he only carried movies that he liked so pretty much everything was rated 4 or 5 stars. When the man died, an acquaintance ran the store for a while. And then the store closed, as did the businesses on either side of it.
The band was decent and the bar wasn’t bad, but I mostly chalk up the evening as another leg of an ongoing and never ending nostalgia tour. I can’t pass by the wine bar that used to be my friend’s coffee shop without thinking of my time in that friendly space. A few doors down, I rented the office of my partner’s martial arts studio as a massage space for a while. Now it’s a bagel shop and sushi restaurant. The place down the street where I used to buy milkshakes now sells booze. The Mexican restaurant sells real estate. Live long enough in a place long enough and everything becomes a ghost.
Finally, I went to Newport for the night and stayed in the F. Scott Fitzgerald room of the Sylvia Beach Hotel. I’d been to this literary-themed hotel before, but never stayed in this particular room. I’d been to the amazing Local Ocean Seafood before but never had an oyster on the half shell. I’d watched the sun set over the ocean before but never saw it glow so pink. I’d slept with the ocean hushing me through an open window before but never slept quite so deeply.
Hello 2014. Thanks for the gentle welcome.