So what are you doing on Monday night to celebrate New Year’s Eve? Going to Times Square? Attending some fancy party with tuxedos and evening gowns? Or are you going to see if you can somehow stay awake until 10:30 p.m.? Yeah, that’s more my style.
New Year’s Eve is a weird holiday. It’s the only holiday on the calendar which features alcohol consumption as an important part of the proper celebration — not counting, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. (Or the way I used to approach holidays when I was in my 20s, which was to feature alcohol consumption as an important part of the proper celebration of EVERYTHING. “Hey, today is Flag Day! Let’s make some Bloody Mary’s for breakfast to celebrate!” or “Hey, today is that famous holiday, August 17th! Let’s break out a bottle of Jack Daniel’s to celebrate!”)
If you think I exaggerate, how many other holidays have articles in the newspaper each year offering tips on how to cure a hangover? Or how many other evenings of the year are referred to as “amateur night,” when people who aren’t used to drinking and driving will be menacing the highways? (As opposed to other nights of the year when you’ll encounter, presumably, only professional drunk drivers.)
My wife and I attend a party each year at the house of friends. It’s always a great time, but our biggest problem is trying to figure out how to leave the party before 11 p.m., so we only get a poor night’s sleep rather than a horrible night’s sleep. You see, if we leave before 11, we’ll be home and in bed well before midnight, which means we lose only about two hours of a normal night’s sleep. But if we stay at the party until midnight to ring in the New Year, which we’ve done a couple times in the past, then we don’t get out of there until about 1:30 a.m. This is because the host waits until midnight to break out the desserts, and if you think I’m leaving a party at the exact moment dessert is being served, then to paraphrase Bugs Bunny, “You don’t know me very well, do you?”
So, if we stay there past midnight, that means we’ll lose out on about four hours of a normal night’s sleep, which definitely puts it into the “horrible” category. Now, I can hear some of you asking a question. (Yes, I can hear you right through the newspaper — it’s a new technology the newspaper industry is using to spy on users, just like Facebook does.) You’re asking, “Well, why don’t you just sleep in late on New Year’s Day?”
Oh child, dear naïve child. You have no idea what it’s like living in Geezerville. When a person slides through middle-age and becomes a card-carrying senior, it no longer matters when you go to sleep. You always wake up at the exact same time every morning. For me, it’s 5 a.m.
If I go to sleep at 9 p.m., I wake up at 5 a.m. If I go to sleep at 11 p.m., I wake up at 5 a.m. If I go to sleep at 4:55 a.m., I wake up after a refreshing five minutes of sleep. (Two months after the fact, I’ve finally caught up on sleep after that insane 18-inning, 3:30 a.m., Red Sox World Series game.)
My wife and I are looking forward to attending the New Year’s Eve party. We just have to figure out how to sneak out early without being called wimps by our friends. On the other hand, if the host breaks out the desserts at 10:30, I’m sure I’ll stick around for a while longer.