The one in Maine, aka the one most of America doesn’t realize exists. New Year’s 2014. A night that came and went with all the excitement of a wet firecracker. Getting to the bar was like fighting through the Fall of Saigon. Me and Steve and Eric were the only ones in the venue who would even understand that reference. The only ones there born in the 80s. Let’s never do this again, I said. We’re too old for this.
Turn 26 and the bar brats are already grating on you. You hate them because they’re fresh. At least there’s some solace to balance the envy. You know that nothing new ever stays that way. We all fade.
This girl grabbed my pocket square. Why are you wearing a suit, she said.
I’m a trial lawyer, I told her.
Whatever. No you’re not.
Yeah I am, I represent the Pokemon Corporation.
Then the countdown started and the crowd had us crushed chest to chest and we had to kiss by default. She was uncomfortably thin but somehow also had really big cheeks. Oh well; what better way to start the new year than by settling. Nowhere to go but up.
Outside it was -5 degrees. We couldn’t find Steve and everyone’s phones were dead. And transport back to the hotel was an issue.
1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve is the best hour a taxi driver will have all year. Leaned the fuck back in their warm cabs like they’re in a Roman chariot procession. All the power. After this magic hour, nowhere to go but down. Fifty dollars to get twelve blocks to the hotel, all the drivers said. If I were a millionaire I’d still have walked it out of spite. Uber should pay me for this post.
Eric and I made it back by taking cover in heated lobbies on our route. Dashing fast from between buildings like we were under fire. Shit-faced we wouldn’t have registered the acid wind. The odyssey would have just been a loud blur. Hitchhiking, lobbing snowballs at women, etc. But we were stone-sober after waiting forty minutes for each drink back at the bar. Never again, we kept saying.
More drinks back in the room with all the young kids. 22 year-olds spending the absolute pinnacle of their lives in the gray slush north of Boston. Steve was there. He’d actually gotten a taxi but realized halfway through the ride he had no money. The driver ejected him on the side of I-295 and he slid down the hill back into town. Wandered into the middle of a street fight and had to pick a side. I took a beer from someone’s pile and sulked because I felt like the only one in the city without a story. Steve ended up stealing this post out from under me.
The sun came up ultra-bright. Ten thousand hungover dimwits on the Eastern seaboard Instagrammed the clear day with hashtags about new beginnings. I felt superior because I knew better by that point. It’s a magical time when you figure out the new year isn’t magic. It’s just January. The first day of which was going to be the same as 9,000 days that came before it.
Unless you do something really different. We brunched and drove back to New Hampshire. Not long after that I went to another country. I’m still there and don’t think I’ll leave any time soon because the taxi drivers here generally don’t act like twats.