Tonight, as I walked in the rain (with the dog, not Andy, don’t go thinking it was all romantic and shit), I thought about New Year’s Eve. It’s supposed to be a big party, right? Champagne, dancing, party dresses, sparklers, kisses?
That’s what movies say. That’s what TV says. Hell, that’s what my Instagram feed looks like, anyway.
But is it?
My mother threw the last big NYE party when I was 14. It was a costume party. My mom went as the Oracle of Delphi. She also went bra-less, found a young Marine who could waltz, and tore up the hardwood floor of our living room. So embarrassing.
I went as Sauron. No one danced with me. Even more embarrassing.
Perhaps the giant cardboard eye I hauled around all night was off-putting.
I don’t know what time my parents, siblings, step-siblings, and the drunk Marines called it a night. I stepped over a few of them on my way to the kitchen the next morning.
There was so much party debris in the kitchen, though, I couldn’t find the sink. I did a lot of dishes before anyone else woke up. When Mom finally staggered into the kitchen, she was delighted. “Oh, Autumn, thank you! I was dreading the mess! You are so thoughtful!”
I didn’t want to tell her I was only trying to find and clean a bowl, spoon, and counter for cereal. So I washed everything while Mom made coffee. And drank it. And made more coffee.
I was more of a nerd than a partier. Sometimes I celebrated the New Year with friends at the Stamp Drop at the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington D.C. (Yes, they dropped a giant, illuminated stamp instead of a ball. Now, though, the Old Post Office is a goddamned Trump Hotel. Those memories are tainted).
Usually I went back East from Christmas through New Year’s. I brought a boyfriend with me once. He drank so much he puked all over Ex-Stepmother’s carpet before 10 PM on New Year’s Eve, then called his parents and wept. I spent midnight assuring his parents that he was fine. And that was fine, because who wants to kiss drunk weepy vomit-mouth?
No one. I sent him home on an early flight the next day and never saw him again.
The one time I flew back to spend New Year’s Eve in California with my boyfriend, I discovered said boyfriend had been hooking up with a coworker of mine that he met at my office Christmas Party. He told her we were “just friends.” She believed him.
After that debacle, I wanted to spend that New Year’s Eve alone. My girlfriends dragged me out to a party. They would make sure I’d have fun. Lies. All they really wanted was a designated driver.
I gave New Year’s Eve a hard pass after that. Until I met Andy. Unfortunately, by the time I got myself out of his damnable friend zone, it was November and we both had plans for the holidays. He was snowboarding in Utah, and I was ice-skating on a frozen river in Ottawa with my friend M. We called each other at midnight and swore to be together next New Year’s Eve.
By then we were engaged. We went to New Hampshire for combination Christmas/ wedding planning, but planned to fly out early on the 31st for a NYE dance convention in Los Angeles. Finally, I would have the whole deal: party, dancing, champagne, and the man of my dreams to kiss at midnight.
Ha, ha, no. A blizzard hit. Our flight was canceled. ALL flights were canceled. I gave away our luxury hotel room and we played Trivial Pursuit with Ex-Stepmother’s friends till 10 PM.
The dream of a partying New Year’s Eve slipped away after that. We got married, and had no money for extra events. Then we got a house, and had no money for dancing. Then we got dogs, and got up early. Staying awake after 10 PM seemed like a lot of effort.
Mostly, I didn’t care. After traveling for Christmas, coping with my enormous, dysfunctional family, and getting on East Coast time, well, staying in and drinking Martinelli’s is about my limit.
This year, Andy caught a nasty cold from my family. He’s got infection-induced asthma. The man takes a break from wheezing only to cough, and cough some more, and then hit his inhaler.
Our big event today was seeing Rogue One. It was fabulous — the volume was so loud it drowned out all the phlegmy noises next to me.
Andy stopped coughing long enough to make a fabulous cheese fondue.
That was our whole New Year’s Eve. Not bad, really. But on my walk this evening, I saw shiny people, fabulous people, arriving or hurrying off to various events.
I trudged past the perfumed party people, smelling of wet fleece and wet dog and wondered:
WAS EVERYONE PARTYING BUT US?
It was a depressing thought.
Until Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister texted me: Still sick. Don’t feel like doing anything. Everyone else wants to party. I am going to be alone on NYE. Sad.
I took a quick look at various statuses on Facebook:
I’m half-asleep on the couch. Drop the damned ball already.
My dog wishes you a Happy New Year! (Picture of dog wearing party hat.)
This New Year’s Eve, I’m drinking NyQuil.
My cat wishes you a Happy New Year! (Picture of cat wearing 2017 glasses and a look that says it’s leaving a hairball in owner’s shoe tomorrow.)
Last reminder for 2016: Steve Bannon, a key member of Trump’s transition team, someone he wants as an advisor in the White House, is a racist and an anti-Semite.
My ferret wishes you a Happy New Year! (Picture of ferret is lame, it has no accessories.)
And then M texted me: I’m watching football! You?
Me: Changing my desktop picture.
Me: SO MUCH.
Happy New Year, Everyone. If you partied, good for you! And if you didn’t, well, a) You’re in good company, and
b) You won’t spend tomorrow cleaning up after drunks.