Monday, January 3, 2011

Amateur Night

Instead of heading out to a bar on New Year's Eve, I stayed at home with my girlfriend, Christine.  If you think that sounds pathetic, wait until you hear the whole story.

I felt a little weird about staying home.  You're supposed to go out on New Year's Eve, but Christine and I had a busy year, and the thought of going out to a bar on such a busy night just wasn't appealing.  My grandfather, a former bar owner, always refers to New Year's Eve as "Amateur Night," and he's right.  Why would I go out on Amateur Night when I turned pro years ago?

My grandfather just turned 90 on December 27th.  Because of the snowstorm, we didn't celebrate until January 1st.  My family thought it would be a good idea to put 90 candles on a birthday cake, tied together into 3 bundles of 30.  As if that wasn't already enough of a fire hazard, my father's wife (another Christine) accidentally bought those trick candles that are impossible to blow out, especially if you're 90.

The candles had to be dumped into glasses of water.  Here's a tip: If you need to celebrate a 90th birthday, buy ordinary candles, spread them out, and have your local fire department and an ambulance standing by.  It was probably a good thing they skipped the one for good luck.

Sony HT-SS370 Surround Sound Home Theater System, BlackBack to New Year's Eve.  My girlfriend and I spent the day at Target.  We had some gift cards from Christmas and we left with a new sound system.  We then picked up some Chinese food and went home.  Christine has a shellfish allergy.  We didn't order any seafood, but our food must have come into contact with some because she had a bad reaction.  When I say bad reaction, I'm not talking about anything life-threatening; Christine's allergic reaction causes severe itching, especially on her nose.

Veronica Mars: The Complete First SeasonChristine drank a bottle of wine and watched episodes of Veronica Mars while scratching her nose.  I sat on the other end of the couch, eating Chinese food and reading the sound system manual.  I'm the kind of geek that reads the manuals to everything.  I've always been that way.  Even as a kid, I read the manuals to every video game before playing it.  Yes, I realize that's sad, especially on New Year's Eve.

Classic BlowoutJust before midnight, we tuned into Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve.  I went and grabbed two classic blowouts (which I just googled for their name) from the bedroom (my favorite place to keep classic blowouts).  I sat in front of the TV as Dick Clark started counting down from 20.  Clark's speech was affected by a stroke he had a few years ago.  He's 81 now, and I think it's great that he still does the countdown, although it is much harder for him to do, and it can be sad to watch.

So there we are, ready to bring in the New Year.  Dick Clark starts counting down from 20.  When he hits 10, I join in.  "10!  9!..."  Christine doesn't make a sound.  Instead she's sitting there with a red, itchy nose.  She has a classic blowout in her mouth, she's a little drunk, and she's crying.  "This is so sad," she says as she watches Dick Clark.  My excitement disappears, and I stop counting.  We sit silently as Dick Clark counts down.  The clock strikes 12, and we blow into our classic blowouts.  I thought they were going to make funny sounds.  Instead, the blowouts unfold and all we hear is the sound of air rushing through paper.

It was pathetic.  So pathetic that we both started laughing, and laughing hard.  I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  My stomach hurt as tears streamed down my face.  It was the best.

I went to bed that night feeling great.  That probably wouldn't be the best New Year's Eve for most people, but it was for me.  I fell alseep thinking about the leftover Chinese food I wouldn't have to share with my allergic girlfriend at breakfast, followed by birthday cake with Grandpa.  2011 is going to be a good one.

Happy New Year.

- John