I've never found New Year's Day a very interesting occasion. It tends to be cold and dark, comes just after the ordeal of Christmas, and you tend to be surrounded by drunks. But early September really is the time I feel a new year beginning. I guess I'm still a student at heart, eager for the new term. It's cold and rainy in Provincetown this Sunday, but there's still a sense of newness in the air.
My break was wonderful. I didn't look at the internets for ten days. I read no blogs. In Amsterdam, the most contact I had with the outside world was the European version of the Financial Times. It's the most relentlessly tedious newspaper I have ever read. But they delivered it to my hotel room each morning, and I was able to keep up with various Belgian bank mergers, which was oddly comforting in a world approaching Armageddon. Amsterdam was a trip, as you might expect, hanging with an old friend and the South Park gang. I'm sorry to say I remember very little about any of it, except it was extremely beautiful, and it is unwise to eat the space cakes. It was nonetheless eye-opening to visit a free country, compared with the U.S. Observing people actually allowed to relax over a joint and a cappuccino in a coffee-house, or buy some soul-expanding mushrooms at small, regulated stores as common as Starbucks was a reminder that not every society is terrified of pleasure or freedom or happiness. I'd like to offer my deepest thanks to David, Michael and Ana-Marie for filling in for me so ably while I was gone. It's great to be back.
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