New Years Eve, Greenpoint, 2016: I found myself in a dark party room, trying to cross into another room. The venue was a three-story maze with karaoke and mini golf in the basement, several ballrooms with gold balloons, DJs and lights on the ground floor, and live bands on the top floor. There was a drunk girl also stuck waiting for the crowds to pass. She was barely conscious, falling all over me, stepping on my feet in high heels and drooling. I held her up and got her to sit in a chair. It was then that I realized that the party was no longer fun and it was time to go home. We didn’t even make it to midnight.
One of Alistair's roommates, visiting from Europe, had also been there. We saw him a few days later.
"Did you have fun New Years Eve?" we asked.
"No, it was terrible," he said. "I thought it was going to be...everything." He looked up to the sky hopefully, and then he shrugged. Oh, the naivety! I remember very clearly thinking that my first New Years Eve was going to be like a movie. After a few years you learn that you will never meet a masked stranger, you'll never kiss said masked stranger. You'll spend one hour in line trying to get in, two hours trying to order a drink, an a half hour or more trying to get a cab home. One year I stood on 14th Street in a cocktail dress waiting forever. Around 3 o'clock in the morning I took the bus with other people in cocktail attire. I stood up the whole ride.
For this reason I've stopped making plans on New Years Eve. Alistair and I spent the holiday together, at his home, watching movies and episodes of "Fraiser." We had pesto and bucatini and opened a bottle of prosecco. I wasn't feeling in the mood for New Years Eve. My mood didn't improve the next, day, or the next day after that. I was happy though, to get up early, eat breakfast, get on the train and go to the office. I'd been living in a very lonely world for the holiday break. I was anxious to see people and to feel motivated.
On my Thursday night commute home my train rolled in to the 28th Street Station. A woman exited the train and left her cell phone on the seat. Another woman jumped up and chased after her with it. She tried to get back on the train but the doors closed in her face. Everyone on the platform and the train gasped sadly that she had to miss her train and more importantly, her seat on that nearly empty train. The good samaritan shrugged.
"It's OK," she said.
Would I ever do that? I asked myself on my walk home. When I was younger I was sure I was a good person. Now I feel like a facade. Someone who makes mistakes with enough grace that no one notices.
After a short work week I spent Friday and Saturday cleaning my apartment. I turned on trash TV and started sifting through the bags of unopened mail and travel trinkets. I ran across my map from my trip to London it was still creased the way it was in my pocket on that trip. The hotel concierge who gave it to me (a very charming man with a dangly earring in his left ear) drew circles around the Westminster stop and the London Eye and Hyde Park. He convinced me to take the tube, "It's quite simple, ma'am."
I write about that trip a lot. The map made me cry happy tears. I tucked it with the papers to keep and smiled.
I also ran across my notebook from my 2012 trip to Paris. I kept all my writing in a white notebook with black polka dots. The front cover has a chocolate stain from Pierre Hermé macarons (my favorites). It's another trip I write about a lot and think about constantly. I flipped through it and found my entry from my day at Versailles.
My mood improved.