The Year in Culture
Yes, I hate New Year's Eve and you should too
At CultureMap we tend to like a lot of things. In fact, we spent all of February getting notable Houstonians to discuss what they love about our fair city. Occasionally, however, we really, really hate something.
We all know the value of positive thinking, but isn’t a moment of irate complaining just as good for the soul? Now as 2010 draws to a close, perhaps it’s a time to get our hate on one last time for all those irritating things that are so much fun to rant about.
While I miss the convenience of making a quick jaunt downtown to the Angelika to see an art house movie, I hate most the locked doors at neighborhood libraries on the weekends and the darkened Central Library on Fridays. Free the books.
Houston might have placed number nine on the 2010 list of America’s fattest cities, but there’s little support for that statistic when viewing, on pleasant weekday noons, the many walkers and joggers streaming out of downtown onto the Buffalo Bayou Hike and Bike Trail. All that activity might be great for our city’s cardiovascular health, but when our industrious business people decide to combine a lunch hour power-workout with a power meeting or networking session it becomes a pedestrian-bike pile up waiting to happen.
Roving gangs of our city’s movers and shakers cluster together, frequently not making room for passing or oncoming foot and bike traffic. It’s surprising they don’t have laptops strapped to their stomach and projectors to their heads. Get a room people, a conference room.
Speech Recognition Software
The robo call is annoying but easy to hang up on. The touch tone service system remains tolerable, as long as our relationship consists of it ordering me to push buttons. However, I absolutely draw the line at having a conversation with artificial people.
I’ll talk to animals. I’ll talk to plants. I will continue to talk to my laptop, as we work through our co-dependent relationship.
However, I refuse to enable a software program’s delusion of becoming a real boy by using over-annunciated screams of “account," "representative," and "support” until it transfers me to its mommy.
Parking Meter Covers
While I have no definitive evidence, I believe the parking management meeting went something like this:
Scene: a humid, dark room in the secret sub, sub basement of George R. Brown Convention Center.
Not entirely Evil Parking Management Division Employee #1: So we have these great new parking meters, but sometimes we’re going to have to restrict parking on a block. How can we let citizens know they can’t park there after-hours?
Entirely Evil Parking Management Division Employee #2: How about if we put a green bag over that one meter on the block?
Not entirely Evil Parking Management Division Employee #1: A single green bag and no other signage? But if law-abiding Houstonians know they don’t have to pay to street park after 6 p.m, are they even going to notice a dark green bag over a parking meter at night?
Entirely Evil Parking Management Division Employee #2: No. I don’t believe they will. (EEPMD#2 strokes goatee with right hand, pets white cat with left.) Bah ha ha ha!
New Year's Eve
Congratulations Earth, you have once again managed to complete your elliptical orbit around the sun without accidently running into Mars or getting slammed by a mile-wide meteor, and therefore continue to make Aristotle look stupid. Now explain why this requires me to pay three times what I would normally pay for dinner out because the meal includes cheap sparkling wine, 50 cent noisemakers and a half-assed balloon drop?
Yes, each year’s end also brings the possibility that this will finally be the Eve when Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin announce they’re going to go in together on production of a ginger Vanderbilt heir this country so desperately needs. But otherwise, New Year’s Eve has become too much pressure for everyone to have the ultimate night of drunken debauchery or profound introspection. Choose one or be branded a New Year’s loser.
And on that note. . .
New Year's Resolutions
While I do applaud your decision to turn over a new leaf, make positive changes in your life, etc, etc, that happens to be my corner in the aerobics room, and that's my favorite elliptical trainer you’re lying to about your weight. And though your ambition is admirable, there’s no physical way you are going to be able pick up those free weights you’re hoarding without altering the planet’s gravity.
If you’re actually still coming to the gym by the end of February, I resolve to be nice to you. Until then, get out of my way.
The Unwritten Rule that All End-of-the-Year Lists Have to be Divisible by Five
What’s wrong with a list of seven?
Happy 2011, Houston. Remember to slow down, on occasion, breathe deep, and savor a little hating.
Editor's note: This is the 12th in a series of articles CultureMap will be running this last week of 2010 on The Year in Culture. The stories in this series will focus on a key point or two, something that struck our reporting team about the year rather than rote Top 10 lists or bests of.
Other The Year In Culture stories:
It's the year of the "gaybie:" Elton John is the latest proud parent