New Year, Same Old January

Non-crowded-GymIt’s my first post of the New Year, and I waited until the second week of 2011 to do it. Why? Because I was in too horrible of a mood to write during the first week of the New Year, just as I am every opening week of each and every New Year.

It wasn’t always like this. As someone who has always appreciated the joys of New Year’s Eve (it is my favorite holiday), I cannot help but be utterly disgusted by the days that follow. The first couple of weeks of the New Year are about as painful as any week there is during the year. From recognizing you’re overweight after all those holiday cookies, to feeling the financial burden of buying everyone gifts, January of each new year comes with unmitigated pain.

But what things bug me more than anything else?

For starters, I hate the fact that the gym fills up like the lunch line at McDonalds. Thanks to the grand tradition of New Year’s resolutions, people flood into the gym on January 1st as if there were a nuclear attack and gyms across America were the only structures built to survive the aftermath. It’s ridiculous. The locker room is usually overcrowded. All of a sudden, there is a line for the treadmills. And forget trying to use the bench press, there’s a line so far around the corner you’d make more progress doing push-ups for the next hour than you would trying to wait for that bench press. Worst of all, the people who are now turning your favorite gym into mad house are paying less than you are for it. Forget your physical prudence for signing up for a gym membership when you recognized you needed and not when there was some big country-wide promise, the people getting the best deals on gym memberships are the ones that sign up in January. Of course, it’s no coincidence that with these low prices, these new members have an attrition rate that is beyond belief. They gym is almost back to normal by February, and is well underway by March; thus, I await a better day, when bench presses aren’t an hour wait, and my time spent waiting for a treadmill does not eclipse the time I spend on one.

My other pet-peeve during January is the prolonging of “Happy New Year!” For God’s sake, that was cool at midnight, it was expected on the 1/1/11, and it was welcomed during that first week that most people go back to work. But I don’t need to hear “Happy New Year” in the second week of January. The year is already underway, buddy, move on! This shouldn’t make me come across as a Grinch. After all, I played along all Christmas long, and I celebrate NYE like no other. But I am not going to sit here and pretend like I’m okay with saying “Happy New Year” all the way until summer. There has to be an official cut-off point, and “No!” The end of January is not an acceptable termination date. There should be no more “Happy New Year” greeting after January 7th. If you go the last week of last year and the first week of this year, without saying “Happy New Year” to someone, the fact is that you really don’t care about those for whom you did not say it to. Obviously, there may be exceptions to the rule, but me, and the one or two of you out there who agree with me, don’t want or need to hear “Happy New Year” after the 8th of January. You here that my New York City friends? Spare me!

Lastly, it gets pretty damn cold in January here in New York City. I was walking to the store earlier; nothing but a t-shirt and my typical jacket on. As soon as I got outside, I regretted my decision. It suffices to say, I’m not the warmest dresser. I have one “winter” jacket, and if I’m not dressing up, I prefer t-shirts. That mindset does not equate to a warm body in most cases during January, making this a cold month for me, even when compared to “colder” months, like February, when I have probably have had time to adjust my way of dressing.

As for the rest of January, I suppose it has its perks. Companies too cash-strapped to throw holiday parties in December have them this month, and I will manage to sneak into a few. January is also a very good time to see a Broadway show of some sort. Still, I await February like an out-of-shape person awaits the treadmill at my gym after New Year’s. Hopefully, I will be able post another entry before the end of this gruesomely long month, but I can’t promise that, since I will likely spend a lot of my time waiting for a leg press machine.

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