1/1 - Ring in the new year at a rockin’ party for the second year in a row, under the delusion that this will turn into a tradition.
January - With our long-awaited new track finally under construction, the UL track team begins practicing at Lafayette High. I really went far in the last seven years, I think to myself, though it does make picking up my sister from school amazingly convenient. Actual cell-phone conversation:
Keely: “Where are you?”
Ian: “Look to your left.” (Waves)
1/24 - Get called to jury duty for the first time ever. I get as far as the juror’s box — it’s like the playoffs if you’re into that sort of thing — before being tossed. I told them I couldn’t side with the corporation over a denied injury claim. Also, I knew four of the witnesses (one of whom was a relative). The case sounded pretty juicy, so I was actually kind of disappointed when they dismissed me. Still, I got $25 for it!
February - Blog 19 times that month, an all-time low. Curse myself for being so blog-lazy and vow never to hit such a dry spell again.
March - A group of my journalism friends and I get serious about starting an underground magazine called “The Undermind.” We meet every Sunday to strategize, though really we just hang out and write/draw/brainstorm most weeks. Good times.
April 1 - Less than two months after turning 15, my sister gets her learner’s permit. Given the day, I thought it was a joke. But she did in fact get it, so I begin teaching her how to drive (even though she apparently already knows how). She and I spend many an afternoon after school driving around Cajun Field on my improvised obstacle courses. She still owes me gas money.
May - My final semester in school — my 15th in college and 22nd year overall — comes to an end with two days of written and oral exams conducted by three of my professors (my only academic commitment of the semester — no classes). I am asked to sit outside for 15 minutes while they decide whether or not I will get my master’s degree. Longest 15 minutes of my life. Afterward, I learn that I’m going to Hollywood! Yeah!
On my way into the Cajundome for graduation, I run into a group of relatives, who were coming out from seeing my cousin graduate. They are shocked to bump into me. “How many times are you going to graduate?!!” asks my great aunt. This time around, I choose not to sing “Lean On Me.”
Spring/summer - Spend lots of afternoons swimming, playing softball, volleyball and racquetball and stargazing with my grad-student friends, who will part ways all too soon.
At about this time, I take my truck in for I think will be a $69 brake job. Winds up costing $700, though the mechanic says he can do a partial job for much cheaper that will last about four months. I decline, figuring I’ll have the truck much longer than that. I take out a loan and get my brakes, which have to be done twice after I nearly explode on the highway.
6/5 - Start up my Facebook account. Actually had to validate it through my college e-mail...that’s how far back I go.
June - With my trademark humility and rationality, apply for a job with United Media in New York, home to Peanuts, Dilbert and every syndicated columnist you read. Weeks later, get a single post-it note in response, unsigned, telling me off in a such a way that made “No, you asshole” seem dignified by comparison. Miss school already.
July - Take a trip to Arkansas to visit family. We visit the Clinton Museum in Hope and spas in Hot Springs. But I’ll perhaps remember the trip most for eating at Western Sizzlin for the first time since 1987, when I threw up after eating a corn dog. I avoid the corn dogs and don’t get sick.
July also marks my last work trip to the UL track, my last swim and run at Bourgeois Hall and my last access to the UL computer lab. The end of a long, long era, and the beginning of one that will feel even longer.
8/29 - Hurricane Katrina. That bitch.
In the immediate aftermath, three things happened in Lafayette: 1) Several franchise businesses announced that, for an indefinite period, they would only hire ex-New Orleans employees; 2) Radio stations started blasting unsubstantiated stories about carjackings at Wal-Mart; and 3) perhaps weirdest of all, Subway ran out of food, because all of their suppliers went through New Orleans.
9/3 - Join hundreds of volunteers at the Cajundome, where Katrina evacuees are being housed. Work three full shifts in a 24-hour period. Meet lots of great people who are unbelievably resilient in the face of tragedy. Go home and take a nap, feeling really good.
Wake up from the nap feeling really, really bad. Like, on-fire bad. Much, much worse than I’ve ever felt before or since. Throw up 20 times in two hours, completely convinced I'm going to die right there on the bathroom floor. But mostly, I’m pissed that I’m too sick to work another shift. Though the most likely cause of my illness was 18 hours in close proximity with thousands of people who had just nearly died, my body decides it was the peanut butter sandwich I ate that afternoon. I don't eat another one for an entire year.
9/18 - The engine of my truck seizes up for the last time. This wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been driving home alone from Morgan City at the time, 44 miles from home, doing 70, at 3:30 a.m., right after six tow trucks from Carencro passed me by. Where I stalled was so desolate — nary a light or sign — I had to call 911 just to ask where I was. And even they didn’t know. Spend much of my night in a police station and the rest on my girlfriend’s couch.
I wound up getting a tow, and a month later sold my truck to the mechanic for the price of the tow. Forced to quit my reporting job as a result.
September - Hurricane Rita smacks Lafayette. It’s not as bad as Katrina, though it hits the same day I’m scheduled to fly to Minnesota to visit a friend and catch a Second City show from the front row. My friend loses 3,000 frequent-flier miles and I lose a huge travel opportunity.
October - At least the Saints...meh.
November - On my blog, give thanks that “That there's only one month left in this godawful year” and “That only two of my friends died this year.” That would turn into three by December, but is still below average.
December - Hold out hope for a new job and a better year in 2006. Or at least a not-worse year.