Nightwatch: Overcoming the January 'bleurgh'
It's ... oh ... so ... quiet. Shh. Shh. It's ... oh so... still. Heavens to Betsy, January is a quiet month, isn't it? Walking the streets on a weekend night on the way to a half-full -- if not empty -- pub, you feel as if you're in that scene from the end of Titanic, where the lifeboat slowly sails through the eerily calm water, a sailor shouting, "Is there anyone alive out there?" straining to hear a survivor from the festive wreckage blowing their whistle for help.
Every January is the same, but this one has been particularly challenging due to our Day After Tomorrow-esque, climate change confirming big freeze (personally, I blame that Al Gore fellow for everything).
Ice and snow aside, Christmas takes it out of the best of us. All of December is basically like a foreign holiday. It's all parties, late nights and stressful children's-buggies-avoiding shopping.
Most of your worries are put on the long finger, all your false energy reserves are called up into action, and all sense of reality is suspended. And to top it all off, you get a week or two break at the end of it.
No wonder we're all so discombobulated come the first weeks of the New Year. We're suffering what one friend calls 'Christmas jet lag'. You genuinely feel about 11 hours behind the rest of the world, as you resume braving the elements every morning, catatonically dozing your day through work and tenderly nursing your poor bank account, Laser and credit cards back from the brink of exhaustion and despair caused by erratic over-use.
Well, people, I'm here today in the guise of a sassy, finger-snapping, hip-swivelling, "you go, girl"-spouting American talk-show host to tell us all -- myself very much included -- that it's time to snap out of it.
I'm as guilty as the next person of wallowing in the January "bleurgh". I've been hibernating from the cold for the last fortnight. But it's time to buck ourselves up.
Look at it this way: the thaw has started, and today we're into the third weekend of the new decade -- the Tens, the Teens, whatever we're going to call it (I'm sure there's a Facebook campaign running to decide on the nickname as we speak, as that's how all trends and, I can only assume, laws will be decided soon enough).
And you know what this means don't you? From next week, most of us will be preparing to celebrate the most wondrous day in the calendar: the Feast of the Green Pay Slip. The first of the year.
It means things are going to start picking up again now. Sure, your bill statements might still have so many digits on them that you could confuse them for your phone number, but what of it?
Haven't we all worried and felt guilty about that for long enough? Haven't we all pretended to go on diets and miserably clung to other half-hearted New Year's resolutions for enough days now? Haven't we all spent sufficient time this new month, new year, new decade, weeping inconsolably as we use every ounce of our willpower to go and make use of that blasted gym membership to burn off that last selection box we ingested? Enough!
It's oh so quiet, but don't you just feel like breaking into a rip-roaring, shrieking rendition of that Bjork song and begin dancing up and down the street with a man in a mailbox just to liven things up a bit?
So let's all make a pact to do exactly that this weekend. It doesn't even necessarily have to involve going out. Invite some friends over for sneaky drinks. Start a Come Dine With Me week among five of you. Visit a gallery. Rent/borrow/download appalling cinematic abominations like The Room, Glitter or Lindsay Lohan's I Know Who Killed Me, watch them in a group, and howl yourselves silly.
Go on a date (that includes you married folk too, though keep it Christian and go on a date with one another, okay?). Throw a flippin' tea and cake party tomorrow afternoon. But do something. This lull has gone on long enough. If we do nothing, then the January "bleurgh" wins. We're living in the Teens now for goodness sake. Let's all start acting our age, shall we?