In the days leading up to Halloween (my wife's favorite holiday), we peruse the store and buy a few new items---a fake bat, some orange candles, Tootsie Rolls. Things you only buy in October.
It might just be me, but I swear that Christmas decorations used to come out in November, after Halloween but of course well before Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday)---but now you go through some stores and it's just damn confusing---Superman trick-or-treat bags, Turkey platters and Pilgrim statues, and red and green wreaths with bows that say, "Ho, ho ho. Merry Christmas" all on the same aisle. It's too much.
So instead of fighting it, I've decided to run with the idea of fast-forwarding to the next holiday (while still truly enjoying each one as it arrives) and get a jump on my New Year's Resolutions.
In 2001, I vowed to get fit. Didn't happen. I went to the gym a few times a week and watched ESPN on the television while walking slowly on the treadmill. We don't have cable at home, so it was a nice treat going to the gym to watch Sportscenter, but it wasn't long before I realized my resolution had gotten lost among the basketball highlights. By the time February came along I was averaging one gym visit per week. By June, when the young woman at the counter said, "Hi there. Do you have a membership?" it was time to admit I'd failed.
In 2002, I vowed to not incur a single late fee or get a single parking ticket. Of course, you know when you're going to get a parking ticket. It's just a gamble, really---you park in the spot and hope the person in the golf cart isn't right on time (as he always is) when your meter runs out. Or you're so late for an appointment you say to yourself, screw it, I'll take my chances---and unfortunately in the past, I got a few too many. Nothing extreme, no blue parking spots...just an occasional yellow curb or an extra ten minutes.
And those damn late fees. I used to be terrible about returning movies on time. I would rent it, watch half of it, fall asleep, tell myself I'll watch it in the next few days, fail to do that, put it my car, forget to return, find it my car a week later, then return to the video store and ask the employee, "Do I have any late fees on this?"
It was getting ridiculous, but believe it or not, my resolution worked. I haven't received a parking ticket in years, and I don't get any more late fees. For a while I switched to Netflix, where you don't get late fees. $19.99 for unlimited DVDs, delivered right to your door. For a while it was great....I was renting about 12 movies a month, a regular Roger Ebert. Then reality hit and my viewing dropped to about 1 or 2 a month. So, I was paying about $10 per movie. Fooling myself happily. Oh well. I've realized that I enjoy thinking about resolutions more than attempting to achieve them. They never really pan out anyway.
So, with that I present the rough draft of my potential New Year's Resolutions, 2007 (or, Things I Think About Doing Each Year But Never Do):
start renting movies from the library for free; work out more; think more, think less; read the following books: Tolstoy's War and Peace, Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, all the books of So Chong Ju, Hisaye Yamamoto, Kim Ronyoung, and Claribel Alegria; go fish, get better on the black diamond runs; start playing soccer again; and, for the heck of it, once and for all, learn how to program the VCR.