One New Year’s Eve, at eight years old, my parents left me alone with a neighbor, a bottle of sparkling cider, and a television for company. Far away, in New York City, thousands of people danced in the streets as the minutes of the last day of the year ticked on the giant clock in the sky. The people on the television writhed and hopped. They screamed at me from across the country. I could not hear them — I could only watch the clock, suspended, waiting to shout HAPPY NEW YEAR!! at my neighbor at exactly the right moment.

I woke up late on January 1st. Everything was as it was. I understood then that nothing happens on New Year’s and nothing ever would.

The great haiku artist Kobayashi Issa wrote this:

New Year’s Day– everything is in blossom! I feel about average.