Our weekly calendar of activist and volunteer events and fundraisers.
The party where we ushered in our anno nuovo was an amazing blend of perfect camaraderie (we only counted one asshole -- that other guy was just harmlessly annoying), sheer debauchery (Roquefort and nut-encrusted grapes! Filo-spinach finger pies! Top-shelf gelato cocktails!), and naughty, juicy luv-vibe (Who was Kerry making out with after everybody left??!). Not bad for a shindig that poured an estimated 500 folks through a two-bedroom house.
After the guests beat a hasty, leaving a trail of corks and bottles in their wake, we took solace in the quiet hours making the kitchen less stinky for the morning crew (right -- ) while waiting for our ride to get a drunk on. We changed out of our party wear of red teddy and long johns into a snuggly Swiss Army sweater and hugged our knees on the rickety slacker couch on the hosts' typical Austin front porch. As the gunpowder began to clear from the night sky, it hit us: Our world did not end. Nary a blip nor flicker. Okay, so the stereo blew out a few times, but that was more a metaphor for American excess than world destruction (although Paula would've told you otherwise).
As we pondered all of this, we noticed a young man, mid-20s, carrying a satchel and shuffling his Chuck Taylors toward us as he headed up the street. He paused at the yard still adorned with twinkling faerie lights and tiki torches, yet now littered with our contributions to the residue of all that was left of the party of the century, if not millennium. He mumbled some poetic thing about how it was very clear that a time was had at this very location as he picked and kicked through the festive debris.
Feeling particularly safe in the universe and atypically trusting in the brotherhood of man, we invited him to cruise through the decimated ex-party site to witness for himself. He disappeared into the house, and we returned to knee-hugging 2000. Minutes later, we heard the sound of crunching autumn leaves. It grew in volume. We saw Mr. Man making his way around the side yard back to the street where he first was. He paused for a moment and stroked his chin. We grinned back at him.
"Utter, total devastation," were the only words out of his mouth as he shook his head.
"We did our best," we answered.
Felicitous salutations and wishes for a fine year were offered back and forth as he took his leave. Narrowing the performance of Austin's Public Service Community in 1999 to 10 items is too daunting. We list about that many each week during the year. Plus, since we sadly miss many of the very events we list, it's not like we are able to judge on any sort of relative scale. We considered running information about the top contribution grossers and the top distributors of donations, but that data, according to all of the public service types we called, will not be in for at least a month.
So what sort of Top 10s to do?
Since nothing cataclysmic happened at the break of the millennium, our Top 10s have rung hollow. After all those weeks of pre-apocalyptic soul-searching and self-awareness, we've come to the sad conclusion that keeping lists like these falls into the category of obsessive-compulsive behavior, a behavior about which our paid professional "pal" has often tried to warn us. (Plus, we have our 10 top "desert island" CDs already packed and ready to go at a moment's notice. And really, does knowing that Liliput, the Chills, and a psychedelic record by the Everly Brothers made our list do anything for you, dear reader? Not really, save for the realization that we are just like you in our desperate attachments to material goods.)
Then we started getting really tense, pondering the possibilities: What if it all had gone down? What if "civilization" as we knew it cashed in its chips, leaving us to fend for ourselves in the last few pathetic sucking sounds of our species? Were we prepared?10. Do the laundry and clean the bathroom and kitchen. Leaving a pile of indiscernible green growing ick behind the fridge is too telling a legacy.
9. Leave plenty of food for your pets.
8. Burn anything currently hidden in your house that you wouldn't want your grandmother to see should your "estate" go up for auction.
7. Forgive everyone who isn't you, isn't like you, or isn't even nice to you.
6. Forgive yourself for not being what your mother/father wanted.
5. Clear up any debt. Your relatives don't wanna pay off that ridiculous trip to Milan/Vegas/Nairobi.
4. Determine how few material possessions and how little cash you actually need to get through the end times and give the rest away.
3. Make sure to wear clean underwear.
2. Make a will.
1. Kiss your ass goodbye.10. Invest in Cyberskin.
9. Donate time and cash to help kids (i.e.: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, 472-KIDS, Community Mentoring Network, 472-7627, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), 459-2272, Out Youth, 708-1234, Pebble Project, 462-1771, Project PHASE, 441-8336, Special Olympics, 707-3777, Texas Runaway Hotline, 463-1980, Victory Tutorial Program, 499-7317, Youth Options, 441-8336, AISD Volunteer Services, 414-4512, to name a few -- ).
8. Make sure to wear clean underwear.
7. Understand that AIDS is still a crisis and take very seriously the work of AIDS prevention and services groups (i.e.: AIDS Services of Austin (ASA), 406-6150, ALLGO/Informe-SIDA, 472-2001, Faith Home for Babies, 302-4101, Project Transitions, 454-8646, Texas AIDS Ride, 800/825-1000, Jack Sansing Dental Clinic, 479-6633, HIV Wellness Center, 467-0088, etc.).
6. Make a will and don't invest in any pre-mortuary headstones that say "99," no matter how low prices get.
5. Think about the disenfranchised and when you realize how franchised you indeed are, offer a hand (i.e.: ARC of Austin, 476-7044, Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH), 476-4357, Capital Area Food Bank, 282-2111, Caritas, 479-4610, Casa Marianella, 385-5571, Ceden Family Resource Center, 477-1130, Foundation for the Homeless, 480-0005, Habitat for Humanity, 472-8788, Hands On Housing and the Refugee Resettlement Program, 472-7627, Legal Aid, 447-7707, Meals on Wheels & More, 476-MEAL, SafePlace, 385-5181, Volunteer Center (United Way), 323-1898, for example).
4. Eat better, work out, blah, blah, blah--
3. Make fewer lists or at least better ones for next year. If you must make a list, make a "To Do" list and actually "do" the things on the list.
2. Invest in eBay.
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Next week, "Public Notice" will return to offering the best in snappy news bits about weekly events and volunteer opportunities in the Austin area.
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