In The Air Tonight

January 2nd, 2007

The wind was howling like a freight train this morning. Stepping out of the subway, I was surpised to see mini-tornadoes of rain-soaked confetti swirling around Times Square. I raised my collar, ducked my head, and walked into the storm.

New York City first celebrated the new year’s arrival in 1907 with the descension of a 700-pound iron and wood ball down a flagpole. Excepting two years during World War II, the city has done so every year since.

This year’s ball — a six foot, 1,070 pound, geodesic sphere adorned with 504 Waterford crystal triangles and illuminated by 600 Philips light bulbs and 96 high-intensity strobe lights — made it’s sixty second trip in front of more than one million spectators.

This year, revelers packed the heart of the city to dance, drink, and raise a ruckus. They shivered through a long slate of performers, including Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, Three 6 Mafia, and Rascal Flatts, unfazed by police, helicopters, and bomb sniffing dogs.

When the clock struck 12:00, 110 Confetti Dispersal Engineers let loose a 7,000 pound blizzard of multicolored tissue and Mylar (much of it branded with the red and white Target logo).

From Aukland to Oakland, over one billion viewers worldwide sang “Auld Lang Syne” along with the revelers, sharing in the evening’s theme of “Hope For Peace.”

Shortly after midnight, as cops cleared the square, and sanitation workers began sweeping up the record-shattering 3.5 tons trash and debris, a hard rain began to fall.

The first moments of 2007 found me barefoot on a firescape on the East Side, craning for a glimpse of fireworks over Central Park. I was on house arrest for the third time in six weeks, once again suffering a sore throat, runny nose and sharp cough.

The New Year represents a fresh start. Madison Avenue knows this, hence the deluge of Nicoderm, TrimSpa, and Bally Total Fitness ads. And so does Burbank. Television is awash in segments on weight loss, closet organization, and job seeking.

What happens, though, when the calendar zeroes, and you find yourself in the same exact spot? Sick, tired, stressed, and staring down the barrel of a long, dark winter? What do you do when your real life falls short of your dreams?

You raise your collar, duck your head, and walk into the storm.

And you keep it to yourself.