Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the old, in with the old(er me)

Good riddance. Thank God it's over. And so on.

I don't know. I just can't work up a respectable level of animosity for this year. I mean, sure. Layoff. Money problems. Marriage missteps. It wasn't perfect. Still, I can't help feeling I've come a long way this year, not to mention this decade (which, you know, technically shouldn't be over until the end of 2010).

What with being born on an even year, and hitting my 20s as the millennium turned, I feel like I'll always have an easy time keeping track of just when I came of age. The decade started with me being too young to drink, and ended with me being old enough to know better. It started with nothing-matters-but-New-Year's-Eve parties, and ended with, well, everything matters. New What? I'm not sure if the New Year's Eves of this no-name decade are a microcosm of my growth throughout the decade, but maybe. The nights themselves take me from aimlessness, through partying, to lameness, to acceptance of lameness, to plain old happy; with side trips to Vomitland and way more David Caruso than I'd realized.

On the last night before 2000, I went to Denny's with my boyfriend and our friend. We had Diet Coke and fried something with fried something else on the side, covered in ranch. They tried to be ironic by singing "Party Like It's 1999," only it wasn't so ironic since we were being lame as a matter of course rather than by choice. I demonstrated my pedantic pretension insightful attention to detail by making sure everyone we encountered knew it wasn't really the start of the 21st century. I could tell by the way the waitress rolled her eyes that she was intimidated by my perspicacity.

As 2001 rolled around, I was hanging with a new, shallower cooler crowd. Our group had five or six guys, a sister of one of the guys, and me. For some reason, I was pretty popular. (I'm pretty sure it had to do with the fact that I knew 2001 was the actual start of the century and millennium. The guys certainly listened intently to my explanation, particularly when I took off my bulky sweater so as to elaborate in comfort.) I was dating one of them, and our group threw an ever-expanding all-night house party. This was the night I learned Jell-O shooters are not the same thing as Jell-O Jigglers. Incidentally, this was also the night I learned that it's probably bad news if your friends are smirking and won't tell you why, and that hangovers suck ass.

2002? Um ... I spent 2001 getting promoted at work (which really just meant agreeing to live there), dating a small series of increasingly worse boyfriends, alienating some of my good friends, getting pregnant, barfing for a few straight months, reconnecting with a few friends and family members and wrecking my car. Also, September 11. And did I mention pregnant? I have absolutely no recollection of what I did on New Year's Eve, 2001, except maybe to rejoice in the year's end.

New Year's Eve, 2002, found me asleep. I'd tucked my son in and watched CSI/CSI Miami/Something Else with my mom and crashed early. David Caruso flourished his sunglasses and revealed whodunit. I woke up and it was 2003. Whoopee.

New Year's Eve, 2003. Television with Mom. We talked over the parts where Caruso stopped in the middle of sentences to take off/put on/take off/put on his sunglasses. She turned in at 10. I was up past midnight, but only because my son chose to be. I rang in 2004 reading in bed, hoping the baby monitor would remain silent. I happened to glance at the computer monitor at 12:14 and decided to count it.

For New Year's Eve '04, I actually got invited to a party -- the kids in my lab group at ASU were going wherever it is they go, and asked me along. I couldn't go. I made up for it by doing most of our lab report, and pretending to regret that I would miss out on obligatory dancing and beer pong. I had a wine cooler with my mom at home, and watched Caruso wear grooves into his temples for an hour or two. 2005, and me feeling old, officially arrived.

My husband (then sort-of-boyfriend) and I rang in 2006 leaning against his car under the stars, kissing. We thought no one knew. Pretty much everyone knew.

2007 began with us newly married, in our new (to us) apartment. I don't remember if we rang it in at the actual time, but we made sure to kiss, and it was the first year my son appreciated the "See you next year" crack. My husband and I played Trivial Pursuit.

As we wrapped up '07 and rang in '08, my husband was living retail management, I was living/breathing/sweating my manuscript, and it was all we could do to scrape up the energy to laugh at my son's "See you next year" joke. I think we might have argued about whether we would wink-wink "ring in" the new year. I think my husband used the actual wink-wink. I don't think we actually did, though.

New Year's Eve, 2008, my mom called around 8 p.m. She said she hoped she wasn't calling too late. My husband, son and I welcomed 2009 in a new house. (Actually, our son went to bed a few hours before, and we were all happy enough to play along gladly with the "See you next year" bit.) I had a Diet Coke and some Excedrin, probably the strongest New Year's Eve fix since that wine cooler. Nine years after the lame dinner and Diet Cokes found me back with the same guy and with another Diet Coke, but so different I felt like there must have been several intervening decades. New Year's Eve hasn't changed much, but I sure have.

(My husband's not into CSI in any of its incarnations -- but at this time each year, I like to imagine dramatically split-up one-liners, hands on hips and sunglasses-putting-on action anyway. Just for old time's sake.)

Like this:

"Have a great New Year, everyone. Just remember..."

[Bam. Sunglasses!]

"'s not actually the start of a new decade."

And this year? We all had the day off together -- partially because we're unable to find much work, but what the heck. We took a speed walk while my son rode his new bike, rounding the curves until I could barely see him and was torn between pride and panic. I got some work done, but mostly the guys, and cats, tore me away from it. We watched a lame movie. The only intestinal turmoil I'm likely to experience is from the pizza we're ordering way too close to bedtime.

I'm old, and lame. And I kind of love it.

Happy New Year, everyone.


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

It was extremely interesting for me to read that blog. Thank you for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.