I debated internally whether to have a politically charged Fiscal Cliff Bullshit post directed at the United States government or to have a fun New Year’s Eve post to make my readers laugh. Lucky for you, I chose the latter.
Of course, when I say the best New Year’s Eve, I’ll bet you’re thinking some hoity toity event. Or a gathering of my closest friends. Or even hanging out with family. But it’s not.
New Year’s Eve has always been pretty high expectation, low outcome in my book. When I was a kid, the parents owned a bar…so we ALWAYS had babysitters. First it was Vicky. Then her younger brother Mark. Vicky was cool. Mark was a douche canoe.
Mark would throw parties and smoke weed in our house. Mark and his friends would eat all of my hard earned caramel delight cookies in one sitting. Mark sent my cousins and brother and I to bed at 11 on New Year’s Eve.
Sometimes, it would be my Gram that watched us. Sometimes we would go to my best friend, Kelly’s house and her mom would watch us. Always, though, Mom and Dad would try to make it as fun as possible for us without being there. They’d buy the sparkling grape juice and plastic champagne glasses to send with us. They’d give us noise makers and headgear. They’d make platters of shrimp cocktail and cheese with crackers. They’d try really really hard to make it awesome. And for us kids, it totally was.
But as I got older, expectations got higher…and the outcomes dwindled. In middle school, my brother and his best friend watched a South Park marathon, while I whined that I wanted to watch something that wasn’t ridiculously stupid. In high school my brother and I co-hosted a party…OK that was pretty awesome. A bunch of straight-laced high school kids on New Year’s Eve not even attempting to drink alcohol? I know you’re probably thinking what planet did this girl grow up on? But it’s true. We were Stepford Children.
After that, it was mostly downhill.My freshman year of college, I spent New Year’s Eve weekend trapped in a cabin in the middle of nowhere Indiana as the only single non-pot smoking girl with a large group of stoner couples with no phone reception, no television, no books, a lot of booze, and the only DVD they brought was the worst movie ever made: Dumb and Dumber (an apt title.)
I spent New Year’s Eve in New Orleans one year. It was like a 16 block square mosh pot. And I needed to pee. And I hate crowds. We watched the ball drop, then went back to our hotel and played MASH with our new-found friends/fraternity brothers (Alpha Phi Omega) until 4 in the morning…after I peed in the hotel lobby men’s room.
I spent New Year’s Eve in Denver one year, again for an APO national convention. It was okay. I kissed a boy from Texas at midnight. Despite his awesome accent…he wasn’t a great kisser. Let’s just say things aren’t always bigger/better in Texas.
Parties with friends seemed un-fun. I stopped getting excited about the “holiday” and started calling it amateur night. I had boyfriends during several New Year’s Eves…and guess what? None of them ever wanted to be there to kiss me at midnight. It was depressing, to say the least. Rockabilly. The Bartender. Both were boyfriends who had nothing better to do, but refused to spend time with me on a holiday almost as much designed for making non-couples or girls in bad relationships feel bad as Valentine’s Day.
So in 2010, after a VERY exhausting year, I managed to have the greatest New Year’s Eve in the history of ever. The year that I accidentally fell into the presidency of my local Jaycees chapter. The year that I student taught. The year that I had no job, but worked harder than I ever had in my entire life.
The night before, I had pulled an all-nighter with some really amazing friends. We had drunkenly discussed re-playing the same evening over the next night, as none of us had New Year’s plans. My bestie, Lily, and some of our near and dear ones planned to do it all over again. But the next day, New Year’s Eve, we were all exhausted. And hungover.
I went home. Lily went home. We slept all day. When I woke up, I called Lily. She was still sleeping, so Mom and I went out to dinner. Dad was driving a limo at the time, so he was out of commission most of the night. Mom and I had a wonderful dinner. We came back to the house, and Buck, the bad dog, had consumed a pound of chocolate truffles. Oh great. Our dog is going to die. My mom started crying, and I started Googling.
“He’ll be fine mom. Seriously. He’s a big dog. He’ll probably just get sick.”
I called Lily again. She had just woken up. Going over to our friends’ was now out of the question. We were so over drinking. Here’s how the conversation went:
Lily: moan What’s up, Pookie?
Me: We going over to Jenna’s?
Lily: I don’t think so. I called her a bit ago and she feels like shit.
Me: Yeah. Me too. Wanna come over and watch movies?
Lily: Nah…you could come over here.
Me: Nah. I don’t want to leave the house.
Lily: Me neither.
Me: We had our party night. Maybe I’ll just go to bed early.
Lily: Shit, that’s my plan.
Me: OK. Happy New Year, Pookie.
Lily: You too, Pookie.
A while later, my girlfriend Hilary called and asked me whether I wanted to go to her party. I opted out, because I was playing Mario Kart on the Wii and had no intentions of doing anything else. And for 4 straight hours…I played Mario Kart. Like it was a regular old night. And it felt good. No one was calling me to ask questions or because some drama had happened in the Jaycees that I had to deal with. I wasn’t grading papers. Or working. Or surrounded by people I didn’t want to be surrounded by. I was just relaxing.
And then it was almost midnight. I turned off Mario Kart to watch the ball drop. Yelled up to my mom to see if she wanted to come down. She didn’t. My dad stopped home for a few minutes (they were always together at midnight). At exactly 12:00, several things happened all at once.
- The ball dropped.
- The dog vomited an exorbitant amount of liquid chocolate right. In front. Of my face. Seriously, he was 3 feet in front of me. I almost threw up watching it. My dad, the amazing dad that he is, managed to clear the nasty puddle from the living room, while Buck looked at us, sad and confused.
I received the best text ever from Hilary, who was also a local Jaycees president: “Congratulations on surviving your year as president. We are so done!” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Relief washed over me as I was no longer in charge. I was no longer responsible. I was free.
I resumed playing Mario Kart while a flurry of texts and phone calls made their way to my phone.
No drama. No drinking. No driving. No bullshit. The lowest maintenance New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had. It was fantastic.
I suppose I can’t end this post without saying that last year was the first time I had someone that I really wanted to kiss at midnight…and he wanted to kiss me right back. And this year, I’ll again be spending the evening with him. And our friends. Relaxing and playing board games. As it should be.