On the Eve of 2000, I was eight years old and at my grandparents for a party. My cousin and best friend, who had a way of coming up with impractical schemes, wanted to trick the grown-ups into believing that the change-over into the new millennium had fried the power. She gave each of us cousins a post at a light-switch, which we were to flip at exactly midnight. This was a fine plan until a dissenter (her brother, who was always dissenting) pointed out that
a) The grown-ups were going to start wondering why their children were wasting the rare opportunity to stay up obscenely late by hanging out by the light-switches instead of playing cowboys together, and the younger ones could not be relied upon to hold up under the pressure of a curious gaze and a “What are you doing?” from Grandpa or Grandma.
b) The grown-ups would not believe the power had gone out unless the TV switched off, which would require a particularly brave child to either unplug the TV or go into the basement to mess around with the breakers.
c) No one was brave enough to do any such thing, as no daredevil thrill could be worth the wrath of an entire party of grown-ups whose televised countdown to the new millennium had been interrupted by a child rooting around in the cords or by a child who had fallen down the basement stairs and broken her neck, or by a child who had electrocuted herself switching off breakers. (We didn’t know very much about circuit breakers, but assumed the reason we weren’t supposed to touch them was the danger of electrocution.)
d) All this was beside the fact that no one had a watch and there was not a reliable clock in every room with a light-switch. Turns out, we would need the TV to tell us when midnight hit, but leaving the TV on would defeat the purpose of the prank.
e) AND FURTHERMORE, the grown-ups kept going on about the historic significance of a thing like a new millennium, and though as an eight-year-old I only cared about the word “millennium” because it was in the name of Han Solo’s ship, I wasn’t sure I wanted to tell future generations that I’d spent the most important New Year’s Eve of my entire life standing next to the kitchen light-switch and trying to look innocent.
Amid all this criticism, my cousin/best friend dismissed us as a bunch of sissies and we went in to watch the New York ball drop with the grown-ups, and the new millennium began with no further ado.
On another New Year’s Eve, we had a party at the Farm, with one side of the house for the grown-ups, and the other side of the house given over to the kids. After several hours of partying (game-playing, dart-throwing, movie-watching: all the usual wild stuff), my cousin/best friend got up on the steps to make an announcement to the revelers.
Cousin/best friend: “I have some bad news, and some good news.”
(The revelers groan in disappointment.)
Cousin/best friend: “The bad news is that this party has gone on for three hours.”
(More groaning, as this was the length of a normal party and meant goodbyes and bedtime for the younger ones.)
Cousin/best friend: “The good news, however, is that there are still THREE MORE HOURS ‘TIL MIDNIGHT!”
(Cheers erupt, square-dancing commences. Or something. I don’t remember. We probably played a celebratory round of darts. Homeschooler thrills, you know.)
On the Eve of 2008, I was preparing to write my first-ever novel. I had determined to begin the rough draft sometime in January, after doing some more work on character development and plotting. I was sixteen and at a party, sitting on the floor and listening to the grown-ups talk about politics while the younger ones played arcade games in the basement. Eventually, I went downstairs and did okay at a round of Frankenstein-themed pinball, but not before I saw one of my second-cousins-once-removed reading a copy of Twilight. One of the grown-ups around me tried to interrupt my distant cousin’s reading to ask her what she was reading, as grown-ups tend to do, and because she was so into the book one of the other grown-ups answered, “Oh, she’s reading Twilight. It’s like Harry Potter.”
I have spent the following years trying to figure out in what world Twilight is anything like Harry Potter. The answer still eludes me, but I did get that novel written, so there’s that.
On the Eve of 2009, there was another party at the Farm, this time filled with tasty food and episodes of Columbo, which everyone from oldest grown-up to youngest child, watched together. Later, after midnight and after everyone went home and after I’d gotten into bed, I lay awake feeling strange gurgling things in my stomach. Suddenly, my mouth filled with saliva like a faucet had been turned on and I threw myself out of bed, stumbled through the dark to the wastebasket by the dresser, and proceeded to vomit up every single thing I’d eaten throughout the course of the party. In the wake of this, I felt much better, and fell asleep shortly after cleaning myself up.
Twenty minutes later, my stomach was back to its shenanigans despite being completely emptied of all contents. For the next two hours, I woke up every twenty minutes, dry-heaving like my stomach wanted to climb up my throat and out of my body, and, in the morning, was sicker than I’d been in years, along with three other members of my family.
I figured that the year couldn’t get any worse, after a New Year’s Day spent with a pounding headache and fever, and, honestly, that was pretty much true. 2009 was the year I finished high school, started college, met friends I still have today, and saw the Random Boy that would become my husband for the first time, though it’d be years before I actually spoke to him.
Yes, it would be three more years before the Random Boy was brought low enough to ask this out.
So, it might be good luck to begin your New Year “eating the frog.”
The Eve of 2014, I went to bed early so I could get up and work the 7 AM shift at Steak ‘n Shake.
The Eve of 2015, I went to bed early so I could get up and work the 7 AM shift at Steak ‘n Shake.
The Eve of 2016, the Husband and I dozed on the couch with Shai’tan, the cat.
The Husband: “Oh, it’s almost time.”
Me: “Time for what?”
The Husband, with a look, “Midnight.”
Me: “Oh yeah. New Year’s.”
The Husband: “Yep.”
Me: “It’s 12:02!” (Kisses the Husband on top of the head.) “Happy New Year!”
(The Husband grunts.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!