It’s been a good month.
New Year Resolutions are trite. If you talk about them, they do not last more than a few weeks. If you do not talk about them, you make excuses and cave in. The solution, for me, was to tell some friends, people who are no-holds-barred with their criticism and liberal with their scorn, and just dive right in. And it worked!
Once upon a time, I made a bet. There were six of us at a table, or maybe seven. We were having a South Indian breakfast at Yatri Niwas, Hyderabad, and somehow the topic of blogging came about. The pretty girl sitting next to me commented on how I never updated any more. This was in early 2010, the nadir of my blogging regularity. Foolishly, I claimed that I could, if I put my mind to it. The number ‘two hundred’ came up, I have no idea why. I would write two hundred posts that year, and if I hit that number, the people sitting around the table would take me out for breakfast wherever I wanted to. If I did not, I would take them out instead, and pay for their flight tickets to wherever I was – economy, not first class. The big guy with the glasses chuckled into his filter coffee, the dark guy smiled and continued puffing at his cigarette. The girl and the other couple at the table, the ones a little more used to my deviousness, tried to figure out the loophole in my argument.
“What if you make one-line posts?”
“OK, fine, all of them will be at least 500 words or more.” (I will confess that at that point I was thinking of how a picture is worth a thousand words, and mentally evaluating the inherent mirth in putting up half a picture for a post)
“You’ll just paste your old articles every day, won’t you?”
“Maybe one a month, but only if I have nothing else to talk about.”
The big guy with the glasses laughed out loud. “Are you seriously saying that you will write 100,000 words this year?” Incredulous, and rightfully so. “Of course I will”, I replied. “I can, if I want to.”
I bought breakfast for them the next year. Well, for some of them, the big guy could not join us. And thankfully, the rest of them were all in the same city. I managed twenty posts that year. I skipped the Challenge for 2011. Blogging was dead, after all. Time to move on, and all that.
This year, I am in a country many thousands of miles away, the pretty girl is in another country too, and the rest of the Breakfast Round Table are in different cities in India. If I take up the challenge (and I have, yes) and lose, I will have to pay for flight tickets. But. BUT. Regardless of whether I win or lose, I get to see them again. My deviousness knows no bounds, eh? And just to make things more interesting, I have been trying to update every single day, just to see where I falter. It works well, because I see that if I miss a day, the next post gets even harder to write.
29 posts in 31 days, and no cheating.
Yup, that’s the other long-term goal this year. My goal was to finish 10 Pimsleur lessons by end of the month, and I did. I admit that people on the bus may have been a little freaked out at the sight of a brown guy with headphones going “¿dónde está? ¿dónde está el Hotel Colon?” in the back, but they soon got used to it. Possibly because I get profiled as a Mexican anyway. Instead of saying “No habla espanol” when old ladies at bus-stops ask me for the time (how do I know they ask me the time? Because they helpfully point at my watch, smart-ass) (and I learnt that it’s technically hablo and castellano), I now say “perdón, no entiendo”. Which confuses them even more.
And I guarantee you that this initiative won’t turn out this way. Why? Because I need to be in good Castellanic shape in order to go meet Magda again talk to my soccer-mates in Sevilla, the next time I am there.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WckCw_-7e3M[/youtube]
With all my complaints about cars and driving, I found myself at the DMV this month, getting myself a driving permit and joining a driving school. The main impetus for this is a friend’s visit next month. The non-main impetus is to just get off my lazy ass and get a little more used to driving in the US. I can handle a car, but it’s stupid to not be able to go road-tripping when I feel like it. I will probably sit for the driving license test next week. And then I rent a car and head to Vegas. I am even making myself an On-the-Road Mixtape, hoo ah!
‘Drea the Awesome, Roomie extraordinaire and Ardent Non-Meatarian was talking, one fine day towards the end of December, about her January Jumpstart. For one month, she and a friend avoided alcohol and turned vegan. I had this bright idea of trying to be vegetarian for January too. Part of this was bravado. Some the conscious realization that I had consumed way too much meat this last year, my carnivorous impulses reaching a frenzied peak in November and December, when meat plates laden with chorizo and jamon were set upon with as much enthusiasm as possible. And yes, some part of it was just an experiment to see if I could.
And I totally could. Well, I caved in one day at a party, where I had some shrimp fried rice sans the shrimp, and some eggs at a breakfast because I was starving and that was the only form of nourishment available. The rest of the time, I cooked myself copious amounts of miso soup with tofu and mushrooms, lots of Axomiya vegetarian cuisine for dinner, a great deal of investigation of what ingredients were present in the grilled vegetable tortilla and the falafel sandwiches served next to my office (The answer: pretty fucking tasty ingredients if you were really hungry). I had things I never knew existed, like avocado rolls and fake (shudder) hot dogs. I made myself the awesomest broccoli in the universe which, I swear, would renew your faith in Brocco, the god of tasteless things.
And obviously, the first thing I did on the first of February was to head to Dinah’s, office standup be damned, and order myself a well-deserved helping of huevos y bacon. Applaud, goddamnit!