It’s 9 o’clock on New Year’s Eve, and my family just left after enjoying a dinner of sirloin strip roast, scalloped potatoes, and triple sec carrots. The Daughter is headed for the nightmare known as New Year’s Eve at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor — she’s young. She needs to find out for herself that everything is overpriced and overhyped on December 31. At least, she has a designated driver.
The forced joie de vivre was never my “thing.” The first year of our marriage, in 1972, we went to a showing of the original “Poseidon Adventure” with the late, great Shelley Winters doing the breaststroke in the waterlogged belly of an overturned cruise ship. At least, that’s how I remember it. My mind’s eye sees a lot of soggy chiffon billowing around her thighs, but the Champagne could be playing tricks again. Nope. I googled it. There she is, looking brave in seaweed green chiffon.
After the movie, we went to the restaurant from which Jimmy Hoffa would disappear two years later. I remember poor table service, mediocre food, lousy “champagne” and a conga line that snaked through the kitchen. It didn’t even occur to any of us that we needed a designated driver.
You do a lot of stupid stuff when you’re 20. Maybe that’s why I read every line of the Riot Act to My Daughter the critical care nurse before she headed out my door tonight, after she went on and on about how much fun she and her girlfriend the shock-trauma nurse were going to have and how much they were going to party. (Oh, yes, it struck me, too, that, of all people, these two professional health care providers would be more cautious.)
“Oh, Mom,” she sighed. “I don’t really walk the walk that I talk.”
“Just text me when you get back to your apartment.”
“At 3 am?”
“I really don’t care what time it is.”
“Are you going to be awake?”
“Of course, I’m going to be awake. You’re going to be in the middle of that nightmare with God-only-knows what kind of lunacy. How am I gonna sleep?”
“Ok. I love you, Mom.”
So, here I sit with my BFF and the remnants of a very fine bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte rosé Champagne. My BFF celebrated earlier by rolling in something quite dead and has been banished to the other side of the living room. She’ll be happily unconscious until 10 when she’ll demand that we go to bed like we do every night.
I haven’t made it to midnight on New Year’s Eve in 20 years. I’d rather be fast asleep in my snug king-sized bed when the neighbors start shooting off fireworks and automatic weapons. Ha! I’m worried about lunacy 20 miles away in Bawlmer, hon? We’ve got our own craziness out here in the gentrified sticks.
Just got a text from The Daughter. The fancy, schmancy and quite expensive watering hole didn’t have any ginger ale. Not what I wanted to hear, sweet child of mine. Yikes! I already hear gunfire nearby. Oh, yeah. I’ll be awake at 3 am.
Take a hike, 2014! Join your crappy friends 2011, 2012, and 2013 in Hades. Bring it on, 2015! Happy New Year!