Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Same Ol' New

New year. New goals. New outlook.

Same ol’ thing.

For the past eight years, my wife and I have spent each New Year’s Eve alone. That’s how it’s been.

You see, once we had a child, we were excluded from any and all New Year’s Eve celebrations -- babies are typically not welcome at such parties, and baby sitters don’t seem to exist.

My wife and I would barely make it to 9 p.m., let alone midnight. But we were okay with that.

This year, however, our only child was old enough to warrant our family’s inclusion at New Year’s Eve parties. My wife had the idea to host a party of our own. Some friends and their children (our son’s age) were available and open to the idea of coming over.

No way, I thought. Not me. Hosting parties is too much work and never any fun because I’m too busy worrying about my responsibilities as host. But I knew my wife wanted the party and I wanted to make her happy. It would cost me, for sure. I needed a solution.

I went to the only place I knew I could get good, solid counsel -- the barbershop.

Barbershop Joe convinced me to host the party. He nicked my ear with the clippers.


“You think that hurt?” he asked. “Try disappointing the wife -- you don’t wanna know that pain.”

I gave my wife the okay to have the party. Evidently, the invitations had already gone out.

“We’re gonna do enchiladas,” I said firmly to rebound from my previous loss. “And we need a piñata that’s shaped like the year 2011 so we can bash it to pieces to show how kind 2011 was to us.”

Luckily, my wife was happy with those ideas.

The plans came together rather smoothly. I actually enjoyed organizing the party. It finally hit me -- for the first time in all these years, my wife and I were finally going to get to celebrate New Year’s Eve with other people, just like everyone else in the world.

Then, for the first time in all these years, I was called in to work on New Year’s Eve.

“Nothing changes,” I said to my wife when I heard. “I won’t even finish until about midnight.”

I was angry. And then I didn’t care anymore. I’d have to work all day, maybe get home in time to make some New Year’s Eve noise, and then, I predicted, I’d have to clean up the party mess. Because that’s how it’d go down.

The wife would ask, “You want help?”

I’d answer, “No, you were cooking and entertaining all day.”

And I’d be furious because I worked all day, too, and got stuck cleaning up, but I wouldn’t say anything.

“Just once,” I said to my wife, “I’d like to have my cake and eat it, too. I know people who get to have that. I really don’t think it’s that unattainable.”

“Why don’t you just see if you can get out of work?” my wife asked.

I hadn’t really considered doing that.

My plan was to be cool, to act as if I had nothing to lose.

“Puh-leeeease,” I pleaded with my boss, “can I have that day off?”

A co-worker said I was actually on the floor begging. I don’t remember that part.

“I asked if you could work on New Year’s Eve,” my boss said. “You told me no problem. If you couldn’t do it, why didn’t you just say you couldn’t do it?”

“But how could I say no?” I asked.

“You just say no,” he said.


“So do you wanna work, or do you want the day off?”

I finally stood up for myself -- I told my boss I wanted the day off. Though, a co-worker said my boss had to insist I take the day off. I don’t remember that part.

So, for the first time in years, I was going to get to celebrate New Year’s Eve at a party. I was happy for about 20 minutes. And then I felt a cold coming on.

I was in bed all night -- no loud, exciting party for me.

And it was a peaceful New Year’s Eve after all.

It’s going to be a good year.

-January 2012

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