Peter Clarke is a Jerk (A Year-End Rumination)

It’s funny. “White Christmas” was always one of my favorite Christmas songs, despite never actually having had a white Christmas myself. Growing up in South America, all I had was my favorite movies and cartoons– most of them originating from the States– to serve as a point of reference for what Christmas should be. White snowy landscapes, gloves and scarves and joyful caroling on every street corner. Alas, this particular Christmas was spent in a short-sleeve shirt, in warm weather and warmer company. And it was fantastic.

I’ve always been a big fan of Christmas, ever since I was a kid. It always seemed like such a magical, joyous time, and I’m very glad that feeling has stayed with me throughout my teens and into my adulthood. Christmas music plays a big part in that. This year, apart from the mainstays like Frank Sinatra’s many Christmas collections, the Moscow Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas Fantastique and the Punk Rock Christmas compilation (featuring the very best rendition of “Silent Night”, by the mighty Dickies) I also picked up a fantastic collection by the London Chamber Orchestra and, for a lark, Scott Weiland’s Christmas album (surprisingly not terrible).

I’m currently back home, in Barranquilla, Colombia. I visit once a year to recharge, rest up, see my family and friends. It’s refreshing to get away from the hectic life I have in Buenos Aires and settle into the laid-back feel of Barranquilla. It keeps me grounded. This year has been especially awesome since I got to see my sister after a couple years’ absence, as well as meeting her new husband for the first time and catching up with a few members of my extended family with whom I had completely lost touch.

Late December– meaning everything after Christmas, starting with the feast of Stephen’s– always finds me in a somber and contemplative mood. 2011 was a fun year. An incredibly difficult one, but fun nonetheless, with its share of ups and downs. The downs were really fucking down. But the ups were incredible. I’ve done a lot and learned a lot and met a bunch of really great people. I have my share of regrets, but you always have to regret something. The truth is for all its flaws and warts and momentary lapses in good judgement, I wouldn’t have traded this year in for anything.

2012 promises great things. A lot of new and exciting projects in the horizon, but you know what? Nevermind that. Sometimes I get so bogged down with my own expectations and ideas and projects that I don’t even enjoy the awesomeness that is the here-and-now. And it just so happens that the here-and-now is really good. Things are generally going great. And you know what? I’m happy.

It’s an unexpected outburst of emotion that comes from time to time, with no real traceable origin and no distinguishable end. It’s a flash of light cutting through my otherwise well-padded ennui-laced outlook on life. Why would I concern myself with anything other than this exact moment?

Why would I ever even want to?

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