“What are our plans for New Year’s Eve?” my wife asks out of the clear blue.
“Aaahh,” I stammer, “I have a couple of ideas, but let’s hear your’s first.”
Her throwing this question at me was totally for her sadistic amusement. She knew perfectly well I didn’t have a plan in any shape or form. I believe that the last New Year’s Eve plan I offered was back in 1982, or was it 92. Anyway, it was a trip to the video store, get a bottle, and then back home. Of course knowing full well that I would be off to la la land in my recliner well before the clock struck the magic hour, that idea went over about as well as a cockroach found on an operating room floor. Like I said, back then she just asked for her own laughs and giggles. Among wives, it’s a well-known fact that husbands seldom make plans when it comes to almost anything. The only plans I ever successfully put together, which I might add I have down to a science, are what time in the morning I need to rise to be at any given lake by daylight. Sorry. That’s it! Any planned activities outside of that spectrum are her responsibilities.
She has finally given up on one New Year’s idea. And that is going out to some bar or nightclub. I hate it, and have always hated it! First of all, we’re seated with a bunch of people that we have never seen before in our entire lives. And then we are supposed to make conversation. Of course my wife could strike up a conversation with a foreigner who speaks almost no English and has a speech impediment. But I can never find one person whose interests rise any higher than stamp collecting. To make the evening even more torturous, and this never fails, the most inebriated and obnoxious slob in the building always searches and finds me. It can only be described as supernatural!
There can be eight hundred and thirty-five rowdy souls in the room, and he’s at the total opposite end of the building. It makes no difference. And, I might add, he may be the nicest guy in the world on any other given day. But right now he is the loudest and most belligerent jerk in the room, and his radar has been activated. And guess who is the “blip” on the screen; me, the soberest person in the room. It may take one hour, maybe two. Usually the more drinks, the more skillful he becomes at finding his target. And then it happens. Target achieved!
Fly still open from the last trip to the rest room, hair disheveled, and white shirt only half tucked in, his arm engulfs my shoulders! “Hi, buddy,” he says. Before I can reply, he puts together a slurring blob of words that make absolutely no sense. But because he ends it with a laugh, I perceive it to have been a joke. So I force a hardy laugh in return, adding that that was the funniest thing I had ever heard. He suddenly gives me a cold stare. I later learn through a linguist who understands and speaks “drunk” he was telling me he was celebrating the life of his brother who recently died in a fiery automobile wreck. But my new friend is quick to forgive and forget. Lucky me! Having just wiped a thick spray of saliva off the side of my face, he is now bawling on my shoulder and blowing his nose in my tie. I desperately scan the room for my wife. I finally see her. Of course she’s gleefully caring on a conversation with another total stranger. If I would have had one at my disposal, I swear I would not have hesitated in shooting a flare gun over the crowd to get her attention! Finally, finally, a few minutes before midnight he takes a long swig off a drink that has two cigarette butts floating in it, drools out another mystery sentence and staggers off. My wife returns to my side to bring in the New Year.
“What’s that all over the side of your sports coat?”
Obviously she doesn’t recognize an eloquent mixture of bourbon, slobber, and partially chewed bar snacks.
“Wasn’t that a wonderful evening?” my wife light-heartedly asks as we’re returning home “I met so many interesting people.”
I give a low grumble, frustrated that she obviously didn’t notice the “interesting person” that hung on me half the night, and wouldn’t share me with anyone. And by then I would have gladly spent the rest of the evening exchanging thoughts with a person who was inflicted with a severe case of Tourrette Syndrome.
That was around ten years ago.
Though kicking and screaming, time continues to drag our age along with it. And we both have mellowed, me a little faster than her. But every New Year’s she will still throw up the same question. And I will always ask what her ideas are. She’ll then offer her thoughts, the wildest night now being an evening at the slot machines at our local casino. And I enjoy playing the slot machines. There is nothing quite like the sound of a winning jackpot on a machine I just walked away from two minutes before.
But this year after a few moments of pondering she said, “Hey, let’s go up to the video store, get a bottle, then come back home.”
I attempted to hide my surprise. “Well, if that’s what you want, I suppose that’d be okay.”
She warmly smiled, knowing full well I hadn’t fooled her…or me. I guess I’ll keep her for another year.
AUTHOR’S NOTE:To those who follow my blog and I theirs, I wish you a very merry CHRISTmas and a happy and prosperous new year. My sincere hope is my posts have been entertaining, and at least brought a chuckle from time to time.