Saturday, December 6, 2014

I HATE NEW YEAR’S EVE


     It’s December, which means that in no time at all New Year’s Eve will be here.  But instead of getting excited, I am indifferent, and I wonder if there are others like me who hate New Year’s Eve.  I do a Google search and input “I hate New Year’s Eve,” and would you believe?  There are over 6,500,000 entries. Apparently I’ve got plenty of company.  I don’t know what their beefs are, but I can tell you mine.   
                                    
             It started way back, as far back as I can remember.  My parents would be all gussied up and flushed with excitement, apparently heading out for the be-all and end-all of nights, while I was being left behind in the care of a babysitter who obviously hated me.  The sitter’s instructions were to take me to a movie.  She would enter the movie house, hat pulled down low over her forehead, and look furtively about, praying that no one she knew would see her.  As young as I was, I got the message: the worst thing that could happen to a girl of dateable age was to be seen in public on New Year’s Eve without a date.  
Years later, when it was Near Year’s Eve, and I was of dateable age and without a date, I would close my bedroom door, draw the drapes, take the phone off the hook, and read a book.  God forbid anyone should know that I was dateless.  And back at school after the holidays, when the girls would stand together describing in exaggerated detail their fabulous New Year’s Eve, I would join in with a fictionalized account of my own.  I was out-of-town, of course.  Out-of-town dates were impossible to disprove… plus they sounded more exotic.   
One year I was in Chicago, where I met up with my long time pen pal and his family, who were visiting from Paris. We made the rounds of comedy clubs and ate dinner in an exclusive restaurant. Dustin Hoffman was at the next table.  Another year I joined a group of exchange students from Mexico at a private party hosted by the Mexican Museum of Art, but my finest New Years Eve fantasy took place in Cleveland, where my cousins and I went on a city-wide scavenger hunt that took us to bars, restaurants, famous landmarks, and—in the end – to a police station for a pair of handcuffs.   
I was thankful when in my senior year of high school I was invited to a party.  I didn’t think I could dream up anything to top the previous year’s scavenger hunt.  John came to the house, and with shaky hands, pinned a corsage to my dress (that was the fashion back then), and off we went. I was looking forward to a night as unforgettable as the ones I had invented, one filled with witty jokes, clever repartee, and Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire-like dancing couples; instead, we all stood awkwardly about, waiting for someone – anyone – to make this night different from all other nights.  It wasn’t; in fact, it was worse – except for the few minutes some time before (or after) midnight during the Disputation.       
 “Get ready!” the host yelled.  “It’s midnight!”  “No, it isn’t!” someone argued. “It’s five minutes to."  Another voice piped in.  “You’re both wrong.  We missed it.  It’s five minutes after twelve.” Everyone was on a different time.  Mayhem ensued… until the voice of reason took over.  “It doesn’t matter what time it is,” he shouted.  “It’s arbitrary.  So I say that the New Year starts when I reach zero.  So get ready!  Pick up your glasses!  Sixty, fifty-nine…”  And down he went.   When he hit zero, screamers screamed.  Drinkers drank.  Tooters tooted.  Kissers kissed, and John planted a saliva-drenched smack on my mouth.  It was all downhill from there.
If I had known years earlier that New Year’s Eve was a hoax, I would have enjoyed those nights I spent behind a closed door, curtains closed, and the phone off the hook.  Yes, New Year’s Eve is different from all other nights, I decided.  It’s worse, much worse, but how could it be otherwise?  Such a build-up can only lead to a letdown, which is why I spent the next two New Year’s Eves in my bedroom.
In my junior year of college I was part of a sixty-student contingency traveling by busses to Mexico City for a semester of study.  On New Year’s Eve we stopped for an overnight in the town of Ciudad de Valles.  One hotel room became the designated party room. When we arrived at the party, three naked young men were in the bathtub, singing their hearts out.  Fifty-seven more students stormed the bathroom and joined in a drunken rendition of Auld Lang Syne.    


 This was no forced gaiety.  This was real.  These were the unconstrained voices of students in the 1950’s who were suddenly liberated; no dorm mothers, counselors, chaperones, hall monitors, sign-in, sign-out sheets, or curfews for probably the first time in their lives.  We had freedom of choice: to behave or misbehave, get drunk or stay sober, stay with the crowd or go to sleep.  It was a New Year’s Eve that surpassed all my imaginary exploits.  That raised the question: could such a high lead to comparative lows in the future?        
            The answer to that question is:  if and only if you buy into the commercial fantasy of New Year Eve: the $100 a plate dinner, an on-site presence at Times Square when the ball drops, or being in a roomful of old friends you’ve never met before.  You have the power to make New Year’s Eve (and every other eve) whatever you want it to be.  But if you’re one of those people who makes a list of resolutions for the new year, do yourself a favor and don’t!
 First of all, you and 92% of the population will break them before the month is out – at which point you will beat yourself up.  So this year make yourself a different kind of list -- a list of your past year’s successes.  Let the positive energy of everything you did right in 2014 carry you into 2015.   

                                               
                         Whiningly yours, Carol
                                                               And HAVE A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!


            

2 comments:

  1. I love the end the most! What a great idea! It'll be the same great stuff as on the Christmas letter but now its time to revel in all those good things! Love you, Carol

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    1. Hi Deirdre: I am so so bad about checking the blogspot for comments. My e-mail address is carolmizrahi@comcast.net So tell me what you would like to whine about in 2015. :) And how everything is going for you. Thanks for being a reader of The Bottom Whine. Best for 2015! We'll need it. The world is a MESS! Carol

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