#002 In which our hero delivers a kiss one year too late.
Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, the official end of 2003. While I'm still a little pissed that earth science has yet to perfect the flying car, I can't say that 2003 has been wholly without notable events. I finally got a job in my field (after ten months of unemployment and six months of thoroughly unenjoyable customer service), got a new car, and most
We have no plans for New Year's Eve. We've been invited to a party, but I don't think we'll go. Not just because of the worry of driving home in drunk-infested waters, but because we're tired after the holidays and family (lots and lots of family) cooing over the little girl.
Two memories of New Year's:
It's around 1996, and my then-girlfriend, Julie, and I have been invited to a party. My buddy Tim's newest girlfriend (Heather?) is throwing a bash at her condo. It's all her friends. I'm a bit of a wallflower by nature, and have no talent for introducing myself or chatting up strangers, so I know Tim and Julie, and that's it. There are drinks, food (and a door prize, which I win. A plastic M&M dispenser, that I still have somewhere), and games. I remember a group of people player euchre (which, try as I might, I cannot learn) and another group, which I did join, playing... Taboo? I think it was Taboo. We had all been drinking, (well, not Julie. She was never much of a drinker to start with, and had already learned a painful lesson months before. Tim had thrown a party for the Academy Awards, I believe, and had invited a handful of friends. Present, among others, was a girl that Tim had an on-again, off-again (mostly off-again) relationship with. She also had a fat ass. While said girl was in another room, Tim and I (deep in the cups) dared Julie to go tell her that she had a big butt. Now, this was completely innocent, one of those "she would never actually do it" kinds of dares. But, Julie (who had also been drinking, 'natch) goes off and actually tells her. Said girl comes back in and says "You guys think I have a big butt?" She was smiling as she said it, but it was obvious that she was pissed. Needless to say, the party pretty much came to a screeching halt right then and there. Tim ragged me for months, saying "What the hell is wrong with your girlfriend?" Julie's response? "I'm never drinking again.") which probably made it more fun that it would have been otherwise.
However, the ongoing drama of the evening is a girl that has come with some guy that she really doesn't like. That is to say, she doesn't want to kiss him at midnight. It seems strange now that this was such a big deal, she could have kissed him once, then have been done with it. It wasn't that there was someone else at the party that she would have rather kissed. Just didn't want to kiss this guy. And, if memory serves, I can't really blame her. I remember him as fat, loud-mouthed, and disagreeable. He may have smelled a little, too.
As the clock got closer to the top of the hour, the girl started to get a little frantic. There were huddles of girlfriends, presumably hashing out how to avoid a lip-lock with tubby. While this was going on, I was hugging the far wall, bemusedly watching Mr. Big 'n Tall follow her from living room to kitchen to hallway and back to living room. At one point she fled to the bathroom, a gaggle of girls knocking on the door asking if she was okay. When the clock finally reached the top of the hour she was safely locked away in the bathroom again, her pseudo-date looking around at his buddies with a half grin as if to say "Are you seeing this bullshit?"
My heart went out to this girl. She probably just wanted to go to a party and enjoy herself, didn't have a date, and went along with this joker so she wouldn't have to spend the evening alone with Dick Clark. And so, even though I vaguely knew it was expected of me, I didn't kiss my girlfriend. I'm not sure if it was a show of solidarity or if I was so enthralled with the spectacle that I forget... but I didn't kiss her. Sixty long seconds ticked past, then the new year was here.
Julie was not happy at all.
The party broke up soon after and she chewed me out as we walked through frozen lawns to my car.
"How could you do that to me?" she wanted to know.
It wasn't malicious; it was thoughtless, if anything. However, I was a little less kind back then, and I yelled back, telling her to "get over yourself!"
Flash forward 365 days.
We're at another New Year's Eve party, this one professionally held. For $15 each I bought tickets that got us in to see a minor league hockey game and an after-game 80s-themed celebration. The headliner for the party was Flock of Seagulls.
The party was held at a drafty field house on the fairgrounds. The party organizers brought in Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man; held the Pepsi Challenge, and had other 80s artifacts to amaze and amuse the party-goers.
Flock of Seagulls put on an amazingly lackluster concert, saving "I Ran" for the encore. It was clear that this song was their albatross, something they had to perform (I wouldn't have been surprised if it was stipulated in the contract). They played some "new music" too. The only thing that sticks in my memory is a gooey pop wannabe ditty that had the chorus: "Magic, magic, maaa-gic!!"
The fun was overshadowed (for me, at least) by my recent decision that I no longer wanted to date Julie. Being that we were living together, and had been for a couple of years, it was going to be a big pain in the ass to disentangle our two lives. I'd move out, there was no question of that. Visions of packing boxes, tears, storage areas, and moving trucks were floating through my head as the final hour drew near. Truth be told, I would have probably dropped the bomb before this, but I didn't want to ruin New Year's Eve for Julie. I guess I felt I somehow owed her for the previous year.
Twelve midnight. We shared a long, deep kiss that lasted for the full sixty seconds. We danced, went home, fell asleep.
Six months later I was living in a crappy apartment by myself, and Julie hated my guts for ruining her life.
Happy New Year.