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Writer's Block: Auld Lang Syne

For those who are into such things, this might be the biggest party night of the year. Other people like to keep it a little more low key. How do you plan to ring in the New Year?

I might remember to take a drink at midnight or not. We don't usually make a big deal of it. We don't have cable, we didn't watch the ball drop even the year we did. It was dull.

Some years in the past I went to New Year's parties and pretty much got into them for being parties. I soaked up other people's booze and met people and talked about my book. I used to enjoy parties and don't have the stamina any more, nor do I happen to know anyone locally who throws parties.

If I genuinely like the people and we've got a lot in common, I enjoy parties. It has to be an artistic and diverse crowd without major bigotry being acceptable at it. I don't enjoy parties where bigots go off on homophobic or racist or religious-prejudice rants and people think that's just fine and would think of me as a wet blanket for ranting right back.

New Year's had this artificial excitement when I was underage because I was allowed a drink at midnight and it was the privilege of being allowed an adult thing. Now I could have a rum drink what, this afternoon just because I felt like it? So a lot of what made the holiday special became not-holiday.

However, when I was in the homeless shelter every New Year's was a bitter humiliation because alcohol was not allowed even off premises so if I visited a friend I had to decline the traditional champagne. It was a brutal reminder that fro the crime of needing help I was reduced to the status of a teen -- adult-but-not-adult -- and that having sex was also forbidden without being straight and married and all the other rules of the shelter that were the same as the age-related status rules.

So I do take a drink when I remember to, in order to remind myself that I'm free.
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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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