This was not the case this year. I'm still replaying the video tapes in my brain, but I think I actually had a good night.
Last year, I bent over backwards a little bit to keep people around me happy on New Year's. As a result, I was standing in the rain with my ex-boyfriend's roommate when the clock turned midnight (I was also completely sober). It set the tone for a year of trying to please the world around me while neglecting the things that are important to me.
It should be noted that 2010 was a fairly bizarre year. It was a year of transition. I'm not sure if it was really a good year or a bad year, it was just a year where lots of things happened. I graduated from college. I got a keytar. I had a post-graduation crisis that lasted an entire summer. I took a road trip by myself for the first time. I learned to pump my own gas. I got out of a serious relationship that wasn't enhancing my life. I learned a lot about people, about friends, and about boys. I moved into an artist's community. I surrounded myself with creative people and have made some really wonderful new friends. I did a solo show for the first time ever. I discovered that, contrary to popular belief, there is nothing spiritually enlightening about not having hot water and taking cold showers. I've gotten more serious about my writing. I think I'm living the starving artist dream that I've fantasized about since childhood. I think I'm actually...happy.
It seems that my motto for the year 2010 was "That seemed like a good idea at the time." Even the last few hours of the year were worthy of that catchphrase. Determined not to be disappointed by New Year's this time, I was careful not to make any plans. I had no expectations whatsoever for the evening. In fact, I was content to drink coffee and work on Goat Man in my apartment. I took a break to try on the new leather shorts I got for Christmas. I was in the process of testing out different shoe options and posing in front of my mirror when there was a knock on the door.
It was my friend The Fallen Nun. As I've mentioned before, she is not really a fallen nun, nor is she even Catholic, but it's a nickname we've given her based on the way she plays the ukulele. Anyway, she's one of my better friends around here, and she knocked on the door to tell me about some party she didn't want to go to alone.
Who's party was this? Here's the connection: There's a girl who recently moved into one of the rooms in the creepy stairwell. Dancing is her thing so we'll call her The Dancer. I don't know her very well but we're friendly. She was hanging out in the kitchen with her flamboyantly gay and fairly obnoxious best friend. He reminded me a little bit of Jack from "Will and Grace," but less fabulous and more immature. So we'll call him Jack. Anyway, The Dancer and Jack were going to a party a few blocks away at Jack's friend's house. It was advertised to us as "lots of people and lots of dancing." Though I generally hate parties, I can never pass up dancing. I wouldn't have gone if I didn't have a buddy, but I knew The Fallen Nun wasn't going to abandon me at some strange party and I figured if it wasn't that fun we'd at least have a good story to tell the next day. So I took off my leather shorts, put on something a little more seasonally appropriate, and set out into the night.
Buses run free on New Year's, it's 20 degrees outside, and the party turns out to be a little farther than "a few blocks away." So the four of us tromp over to the bus stomp - The Fallen Nun and I bundled up in giant coats, Jack smoking a million cigarettes and singing that awful Willow Smith song, The Dancer wearing a bow in her hair and finishing off a two-liter bottle of Sprite (we later found out there was an entire fifth of rum mixed into that bottle). The bus takes forever to get there. The Fallen Nun and I realize that we are not only significantly older than Jack and The Dancer, but we are the only ones who are not wasted. We probably shouldn't have gotten on the bus with them, but we did.
We get off the bus and Jack drags us into a neighborhood. He keeps assuring us that he knows where the party is but it feels like we are just aimlessly walking around a random neighborhood. Somebody comments that it's "just like high school!" And it does feel a lot like high school. Except I skipped that entire scene in high school.
We find the party. It turns out that "lots of people and lots of dancing" was a lie - the "party" was literally five stoned hipsters playing Uno. Jack apologizes for dragging us to a lame party but announces that is has to stay because the hostess is his "main girl." The Dancer is upset for a variety of reasons including the following:
1) The party is too small.
2) The boy she wants to kiss at midnight is not there.
3) She wants to go to a bar.
4) She hates Uno.
We go back into the night, leaving Jack at the party. We walk down the street to find a bar that one of the stoned hipsters recommended to us. We look in the window and are horrified to see that the bar is full of middle-aged women singing karaoke. We decide it's not our scene.
The Dancer finally gets ahold of the boy she wants to kiss and has an extremely loud phone conversation with him. She announces that we're going to another party. The Fallen Nun and I have a brief pow wow and decide that we want to go back to the commune. Meanwhile, The Dancer is attempting to hail a cab on the wrong side of the street. She then repeatedly tells me to use my phone to call her a cab because her phone is almost dead. I end up just pulling up Google Maps on my iPhone and showing her that her party is an easy ten minute walk away. So she sets off into the night with a dying cell phone, the bow still in her hair. The Fallen Nun and I watch her cross the street and wonder if we should do something. We decide there's nothing we can do and decide to just get on the next bus - a bus that won't come for nearly 15 minutes. We decide to walk/jog to another bus stop to keep warm.
We finally get on a bus. We are the only people on it.
We get home in time for midnight. We run into Purple Hair on our way inside (though her hair isn't purple anymore, so the name is a little irrelevant now). "Oh man, where have you guys been?!" she says. "This place is crazy tonight! Merry Christmas Forever Guy locked me in the storage closet and told me I was going to Narnia! It was great!"
There is a hipster New Year's Party happening in somebody's apartment and it seems that the entire community is in there. I go down the hall to ditch my coat and run into one of my elusive across-the-hall neighbors that I rarely see. I'm not really sure how old this woman is. I know she's not my age. I'm not sure if she's quite my mother's age, but she could be. She helped me record a demo for Goat Man and was awesome, but before that I never really talked to her much. Anyway, she's floating down the hall in a fancy black dress paired with a white fur stole. She gives me a hug and beckons me into her apartment which is all set up for a party. She asks where I have been. She says the party has moved down the hall. She encourages me to eat some of her hor dourves. I eat a piece of chocolate that was obviously store-bought, being careful to avoid any of the homemade baked goods on the table. She pours me a glass of champagne and tells me to meet her at the big party down the hall.
I arrive at the hipster party. The entire universe seems to be there. We count down to the New Year.
Everyone is hugging and cheering and taking bad pictures of each other while drinking cheap champagne. It's a pretty happy New Year. People are dancing. The creepy kid from my writing group that raps about pirates and sometimes dresses like a pirate (we'll call him Pirate Guy) is dancing way too close to The Fallen Nun and it's making her uncomfortable. Fur Stole Lady is kissing everyone. The space is a little too small for all of us and someone asks if I can rig up some dance music in the kitchen.
There's a small crowd of people dancing in the kitchen, one disco ball, one strobe light, two fairly crappy speakers, and a Tesla Boy track later. Naturally, I am the DJ. So much for spending New Year's working on my rock opera.
I am still wearing extra layers from when I was trekking around in the cold, so I let the music be on auto-pilot and slip back to my room to change into something more appropriate for dancing. I am gone no more than ten minutes. I hear screaming and I return to discover Fur Stole Lady threatening to take off her clothes in the middle of the "dance floor." I quickly learn that I had just narrowly missed Pirate Guy doing a strip tease that resulted in full frontal nudity. Apparently I know the right time to leave the room.
Dancing continues for a couple of hours without anything too noteworthy happening. There was a lot of ridiculous 90s eurodance music at one point, courtesy of yours truly (and the drunk friend of Purple Hair who kept sneaking over to my laptop while I was dancing and playing "What Is Love" repeatedly).
Time: 2:30 am-ish
Fur Stole Lady continues to dance even though the party has faded out. The Poet, The Fallen Nun, and I were trying to drop subtle hints that we wanted to clean up but she wasn't getting it. Two guys we'd never seen before showed up and sat awkwardly in the corner. Fur Stole Lady put on the song "Lazy Eye" by The Silver Sun Pickups and shamelessly danced to it in the center of the room. One of the random dudes joined her. Then The Fallen Nun joined them. I got up and danced with them as well. The other random dude started dancing. We got lost in the song for four minutes. "I've been waiting for this moment all my life, but it's not quite right," sang The Silver Sun Pickups. It's a song I've heard many times before - I've even heard it live - but it felt like I was hearing it again for the first time. And I don't think I had been waiting for that particular moment all my life, but right then, everything in the universe actually did seem right.
I'm pretty excited about 2011. I have no idea what it's going to bring, but that's alright. I'm just going to continue to do what I love to do and see what happens.
On that note, I should probably go tend to Goat Man. I've left him alone for several hours now and he's not very happy when he gets ignored like that.
Peace out, my friends. Hope everyone had a great New Year.
Or, in the words of the guy that lives across the hall from me:
HAPPY NEW YEAR FOREVER!
Also, here's "Lazy Eye," just in case you don't know it: