This is January 1, 2019, and so far it’s not been much different than yesterday, December 31, 2018. Two major differences are, there are far more hangovers being cared for today and there are tens of thousands of people not waiting ten to fifteen hours in the rains of New York’s Times Square for a crystal ball to be lowered at midnight. If there’s anything I can’t imagine it’s me standing in the rain with 100,000 others waiting to watch a shiny thing descend upon the earth.
When it comes to New Year Eve stories, however, those ball watchers will have a story that will far exceed anything I’ve done on New Year’s Eve. Neither Janet or I have been much for leaving the house on these occasions. In 2000 we did attend a community millennium celebration and maybe a couple of years afterward we went to a nearby neighbor’s and played Trivial Pursuit with some friends. Increasingly we don’t even bother staying up to watch the ball drop, which was the case last night. By eleven o’clock I was asleep and having dreams about when my first piss call would take place. In case you’re into these things, it was 1:22 am.
Thinking back there’s only one occasion I can recall in which I became the typical drunken New Years reveler. I was in my early 20s and looking for some action. I began the evening with stopping by my neighbors where I joined them in eating some great Swiss cheese and quality crackers. We were also sipping shots of Old Overholt Rye Whiskey over ice. I wasn’t much of a whiskey drinker and suddenly I became aware that I’d stayed too long at the kitchen table.
So, I pulled myself together and went looking for my pea green 1960 two-door Chevy Biscayne 283 V8 with three on the floor and a Hurst Shifter. The snow was falling pretty hard but under Old Overholt’s spell, I decided that in spite of it, I would head for Columbus. I made it as far as the cemetery at the edge of town and experienced a brief moment of clarity. I decided it would be too dangerous on the highways so I’d just drive around town in search of a party.
Didn’t go too far before finding a bunch of cars in front of a house owned by a couple I knew. I invited myself in and discovered that the partygoers were mostly high school juniors and seniors. They had broken into dad’s liquor closet because there were several bottles of different boozes sitting on the kitchen table. I had already had too much but just the same, I poured myself a whiskey and water and began dancing with a few of the young ladies. At some time I decided to lie down on a sofa and take a break. It was later claimed I had fallen asleep with a lit cigarette and had dropped it and set the carpet on fire. While I don’t remember this I do remember being woken the next morning by the angry and irate mother of the house, ripping my ass to sheds. Another message I was told later was that I had driven a girl home and while we were parked outside I asked her to marry. I don’t know how that worked out but I do know that fifty-years later that woman continues to cross the street when she sees me approaching.
It’s very possible that this is where my aversion to New Year’s parties began. Yes or not, I’m glad it did. For years I’ve relished in the knowledge that I’m not one of the millions with a desert like tongue and pounding temples this morning.