Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dropping the ball at midnight

I'm not a big fan on New Year's Eve.

I have friends who will spend three-digits worth of dollars to rent hotel rooms, get all gussied up, and party with many people they don't know, all while doing their best Paris Hilton impression (sex tapes and underwear showing aside, I hope. I'm not sure, I avoid those pictures on facebook just in case).

There's too much pressure on New Year's. I don't like spending much money to go out. I don't really like that crazy scene anymore (note: I'm getting older by the second). In fact, my junior year of college, I spent New Year's at home with my dog. I think I read and watched the ball drop (yes, I realize this makes me sound like a huge loser).

So it's not really any surprise that a low-key New Year's at a friend's home fit the bill. We ate, we played Wii, we made fun of Hannah Montana.

Now, thinking back, there were times in which I had more "crazy" New Year's.

  • December 31, 1995 --- Notable because I joined kids from an entirely different grade school. I don't remember much from this night -- but there was a cute boy there. Alas, he went to a different high school. It was not meant to be.
  • December 31, 2003 --- I saunter into a party in Naples, Fla., hosted by newspaper friends, with my three college friends, who all thought we were going to go to South Beach for New Year's. And dressed for it. I was the hit of the party. (My one friend's dress had a HOLE in it! And it was supposed to be there!)

But the moment which might have soured me for life on the New Year's celebration occurred on December 31, 1999.

It wasn't even Y2k (for the younger readers --- a phenomenon that purported our computers would all take over the world at the stroke of midnight because their internal calendars could not possibly recognize that 2000 came after 1999. An alternate theory -- we would revert to the ways of 1900).

No, this New Year's my friends and I (we were seniors in high school) decided to attend a party thrown by one of our classmates.

As you may have gathered by the loser-ness espoused in the first couple of paragraphs --- I was not a regular at high school keggers. In fact, at the time of that New Year's, I had been to exactly, well, zero. My friends were similarly inclined.

So we entered this party. I'm sure I told my parents I was going to it. I did not ever taste alcohol while I was in high school, so they knew I wasn't going to get into some ridiculous scrape. We also were spending the night, a whole group of us, with one of our friends. Most of us had known each other since grade school, so there wasn't really any issue of any dalliances (even though there was a boy or two present).

Anyway -- this was a party straight out of Superbad. It was ridiculous. One of my classmates was drinking beer out of a COOL WHIP CONTAINER. (There was no cool whip in the container at the time.) He said it was because a "cup wasn't big enough." (He was not valedictorian.) There were drunken high school students all over the place.

We were completely out of our comfort zone.

But then, the crowd parted, and HE walked into my vision.

My boyfriend. (Sigh)

One of the reasons I was looking forward to this New Year's and even going to the party was because he was there. He went on vacation during our homecoming dance, so we didn't get to go together, but it was all going to be fabulous at midnight, when I got that special New Year's Eve kiss. You know the one -- where Auld Lang Syne, which means "yes, I have a boyfriend and you don't," is playing and all the good couples are spending the first moments of the new year showing affection by a little peck.

(A side note -- I have not been nearly so naive nor starry-eyed in this century.)

Midnight draws near.

I remember this like it was yesterday (and since my husband often reenacts this moment just to make me mad, I get to see it often). We were all crowded into the front room of this home. (Thankfully, the family had hardwood floors, better to mop up the spilled beer.) We were gathered around a tv. We chanted the seconds.

Clock strikes midnight. (World doesn't end.)

I turn to him, he turns to me. I know this is the moment in which he will proclaim to our classmates that we are a real couple (and I'm not just making it up!).

All around us, people are hugging and kissing.

He extends his hand. I smile in anticipation.


Oh yeah, I said it. My boyfriend on freaking New Year's Eve turns to me and gives me a HIGH FIVE.

(My husband thinks this is the funniest. story. ever. So much so he often pretends we're having a nice moment and then gives me a high five. Because my husband was not the same boy at the boy who did this to me -- I can only take so much, people -- I allow him to do this.)

As you can probably imagine, the night doesn't suddenly become wonderful after this moment of magic. The cops show up (chasing my classmate's brother and his friends, who decided to streak the highway at midnight), boyfriend sticks his beer behind me so as to not implicate himself when the cops enter (he did at least deign to sit next to me on the couch. That's something, right?), my group of friends go to leave (again, we are all completely sober and therefore able to drive) and run into the junior girl my boyfriend holds up in the air during cheerleading (don't ask) and he decides to hang out with her, thus abandoning me to stay up very late and be angry (did I mention I started college as a drama major?).

So, I don't pin hopes and dreams on New Year's Eve anymore. (But I do make my husband kiss me --- on threat of divorce he cannot pull out the high five on New Year's at midnight). And then New Year's becomes similar to any other night. Perhaps one day it will change.

But, all in all, note that staying home with the dog is not a bad alternative to being high fived in front of all your friends.


sunrise_sets said...

What a New Year's celebration that must have been...

Our New Year's this year consisted of coming in late after a long day of driving home from Missouri and collapsing into a deep, deep sleep. :)

On Y2K,
I remember that we had to stay at a hotel somewhere in another state because my dad had to make sure that the computers where he worked didn't crash. What in the world would we have done if we were forced to revert back to the days of the 1900s?

I hope things are going well! =)

ShariV said...

I enjoyed your story.

I'm not much of New Year's partier either. This year I was sound asleep at the stroke of midnight. Probably did the same thing last year! Sounds exciting, doesn't it?