Big Deal New Year

I wrote this almost twenty years ago now, and I still smile at the memories it conjures. We’re planning on staying home again on this “amateur night”, although the party at Nevada City Classic Cafe does beckon me. I just hate to drive that evening; even if I’m sober I am suspicious of the lights coming toward me. If you do drink this Saturday night, please do me a favor and stay away from behind the wheel.  Let’s all have a happy January 1st, safe and sound.  Happy New Year everyone!  CC

Another New Year Celebration is almost here. With it, another New Year’s Eve. Big deal.

We all see patterns in ourselves that we don’t like seeing. One of mine is my insipid expectation over something as silly as just another midnight. My parents were never into the ritual themselves–at least not by the time I came along, many years into the less-than-effective rhythm method. My elder siblings tell me that once upon a time my parents were party animals, but I can’t picture it myself. I remember as a little kid I’d myself to stay up alone till the clock struck 12. I would watch one of those big parties on t.v., the one with the sophisticated women in sequins looking like they were having a blast. It was hard to believe I occupied the same planet as those people. All the confetti would filter down from the chandeliers, and I’d think. This is it? It was like when grown ups would say, “Do you feel older?” when I had a birthday. Of course not. Did some people feel different at 12:01 a.m. on any given January 1?

I remember one time I did go with my parents to a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house. Their friend’s son was my age and we had a subtle thing for each other. Being a maladjusted adolescent, and being in the company of too many popular teenagers, I was hating the party. I felt ugly and there were mirrors everywhere. The boy I had the thing for lured my into one of the bedrooms and tried to kiss me, but he didn’t know how. I’d kissed a few boys, but I was far from an expert. Still, I knew this guy didn’t get it. Just cold lips that didn’t move, and his eyes were wide open. It seemed like time stood still. “Happy New Year,” we heard from the other room. Big deal, I thought.

Sometime during college I perfected my cynicism, decided it was an excellent night to stay sober and go to bed early. But if I’m honest, I must admit that it was really a protective device to keep more disappointment at bay. This year, for some reason, I really wanted to go to a snazzy, private New Year’s Eve Party. I formally asked the Universe to provide one for me–usually she says “go” to my requests. The next day a friend said: I’m going to this cool party upstairs at Heather’s: dancing, they’re moving the furniture out, it’ll be great, wanna come?” I smiled smugly and accepted. But fifteen minutes later Heather was there, saying, “We can’t swing that party, I gotta work. It’s off.” The Universe giveth and the Universe taketh away.

So I became newly resigned. I made popcorn and cider and piled up a foot of kid books to read to my son. We did all his puzzles. We danced to my new Iris DeMent album, especially got into the sad songs. We went to bed at 10. I was well rested for the New Year. Big deal.

Carolyn Crane

1995

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