Tuesday, January 04, 2005

January Blues

Blah. January.

The holidays are over and another new year has begun, and just as before it always feels empty and dull. If December is a party that winds up as the month goes on, January is the month-long hangover that follows.

January is the eternal joykiller -- a party crasher who winds up sitting next to you, smoking stinking miniature cigars and talking in a dull monotone for hours about subjects you couldn't care less about, only succeeding in making you feel uncomfortable, irritable, and finally impatient as hell to leave.

January is a bleak, dead, soulless month. Even when there is a blanket of snow is on the ground, the sky in January always looks as gray and featureless as a cold slab of metal. The trees stand claw-like in the wind this time of year, stripped of leaves and offering no protection from rain, sleet or snow.

January's torpid, glass-eyed shuffle even drags out the days at work, making them feel like an endless slog through ankle-deep muck. This is the ass-end of the music business schedule - a dry wasteland of fourth-quarter cast-offs and slapdash compilations of Love Songs. It's a month when sales power down and down and down from the previous month's highs, a month with hardly anything to offer to create excitement or at least dispel the feeling that I am simply marking time at the store waiting for February to begin.

For many years, probably since I was a teenager, January has been my annual low point -- far and away my least favorite month of all. While everything above certainly counts as reasons why this is so, I think I hit upon what it was that really bothers about this month when I was driving home from work tonight: it's the lights being gone. No, I don't mean that in a kind of hackneyed "Ohhh, I wish it could be Christmaaaas every daaayyy" fashion, but more along the lines of "why can't these be seasonal lights for the Winter season rather than just the Holiday season?"

The loss of the holiday lights in windows, doorways, sidewalks and storefronts just sucks out all of the attendant feelings of warmth and beauty that make even the worst December weather tolerable (at least to my goofy psychological sensibilities) -- a blizzard around the holidays is far prettier than one in the depths of January. When the lights come down, it's not so much signifying the end of the holiday season as the start of the gray season, when even gently falling and drifting snow brings to mind Joy Division rather than Vince Guaraldi.

This is probably why I've always been so slow to take down our decorations every season since I left home ... not so much sadness at seeing the holidays ended as seeing the colors gone and replaced by cool, empty, open space. Moe's been sorely testing my patience climbing the Christmas Tree lately, and trying Sarah's by attempting to rend the tree skirt (not to mention chewing on the lower branches and wires), but so reticent am I to resign myself to the rest of the cold dim chasm that is January that even Moe's best efforts haven't been enough to get me working on putting all of this stuff away just yet.

Mm, only 4 weeks till February. I think we're gonna make it.