My parents were surprised when I told them I wouldn't be around the house to ring in the new year. They asked where I'd be.
"I'm 25," I replied. "Where do you think I'll be?"
I can be a rhetorical jerk, I know. But New Year's Eve changes as the years pass. As a child, it's the rare day of the year when you're allowed to stay up until midnight. It's the annual glimpse into the adult abyss. Every December 31st, there are a few guarantees: something will drop from somewhere, people will kiss people, and Dick Clark's face will look exactly as it did the year before.
As far as I can remember, my first taste of alcohol was on New Year's Eve. My whole family went down the street to my friend Arthur's house, and his parents asked mine if I could have some champagne at the turn of the year.
Another memorable NYE was senior year of high school, when I went to a party (with girls, omglulz) and played spin the cellphone. The antenna landed on this redhead with braces, and she had this terrified look on her face before mumbling "no." Or something. It definitely wasn't good. For me.
And maybe it's the fact that moments like these happen every year on the same day, close to the same time, during your most impressionable ages that December 31st becomes this meaningful mountain. What did I do that year? Who was I with? Never drink an entire bottle of champagne by yourself.
This time last year, I was at a friend's party in Japan. We cooked tacos and watched Japanese boy bands live from Tokyo. Call it redhead braces karma, but more than one person had her eyes on me and the clock. I did everyone a favor by jumping out of the window. Or something.
Last Wednesday's plans came together at the last minute, as a good friend unfortunately (disregard the previous post) split with his girlfriend the day prior. We would go to a tiki bar, and I would try to get a newfound interest of his to that same tiki bar. It happened. They danced with each other a lot.
By the end of the night, I would find myself in a photo studio somewhere in Atlanta. I told a lawyer I was glad she practiced good law instead of evil law, and I enlisted the help of a thirtysomething, half-Asian woman in stripper boots to revive the dance party. We failed. She gave me this awkward half hug/half shoulder rub as she left.
As I stood on the steps of the studio waiting for our ride, I loosened my tie and bummed a cigarette. There was no special someone. There was no Dick Clark. But it was definitely good. For me. And I barely remember the countdown.