Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Eve '09 (Celebration, Celebrity, Queens)

So here it is, 2010. Twenty-ten as we've been told to call it. This is how aught-nine ended and twenty-ten began for me.

New Year's Eve day I awoke with a slight sore throat and some nasal congestion. I was feeling something starting in my throat the day before. I kept taking Excedrin all day to alleviate the pain. I didn't want to believe that I could possibly be getting sick again. I swear I was just sick with he same thing six weeks earlier. I used to never get sick. I don't know what is going on with me. I wash my hands constantly. Not to the point of obsession, but a lot. I use hand sanitizer at work all the time. After window transactions that are particularly dirty or filled with too much coughing. Every time I return to the box office from outside of it. I just can't figure out what pheromones I'm giving off that are attracting these sickness bugs. Damn!

I laid around most of the day. Resting and waiting to see if the plans I had for the evening were going to happen at all. My friend Michael was to host a gathering at his house in Astoria, but he'd been sick for the four days leading up to NYE. He responded to my text in the affirmative. He said he was tired but thought he could make it so I should come on out to Queens around 7pm. I finally left my apartment around 3pm to get something to eat and to get some medicine. Feeling slightly worse than when I awoke that morning, I knew that I should've started taking medicine the night before, so I couldn't put it off any longer. With food, orange juice, Vitamin C drops, and Tylenol Severe Cold in my bag, I headed back to the house to eat and medicate.

I was so thankful when 6:30pm rolled around. See, by this point, my upstairs neighbor had returned from his Christmas vacation and had invited friends over to start the night's festivities. Also, my next door neighbor, or her daughter, I'm not quite sure, had started having people over. Loud, slam-the-door people. Of course, I thought I would lose my mind. So thank God for 6:30pm. Time to leave my apartment and head to Michael's place.

I arrived at Michael's along with his former roommate Flan and Flan's friend Joanna. There with Michael were his two current roommates, Corey and Tynan. We were only missing one person, Katrin, but she wasn't arriving until later. With coats removed and bags stowed, our champagne glasses were promptly filled with Presecco. A little note about the champagne glasses. They were the kind that were fashionable in the 30's called the Champagne Coupe or Saucer. Legend has it that the shape is modeled after Marie Antoinette's breast. Elegant and beautiful. They were Michael's grandmother's crystal. Glasses that evoke a different time. A post-Prohibition era when, according to Wikipedia, "Champagne flowed freely and celebrities had bottles of Champagne sent to their tables, compliments of the house." It's nice to pay homage to a different era from time to time. Flutes are beautiful but the nostalgia of this particular style of champagne glass takes me back to a time when champagne was sweeter and maybe life was too.

Michael made a delicious crawfish soup straight out of Louisiana. We had cheese and dips with crackers and chips. It was a lovely, quiet evening of friends, old and new, enjoying each others' company. We played two games of Celebrity. If you've never played Celebrity you need to rectify that situation immediately. It is one of the most laugh-out-loud, exciting, enjoyable games I have ever played. I first learned of it during summer stock in 1993. After dividing into teams, the premise is this: each person has ten slips of paper on which to write the names of real and fictional celebrities in any genre. At least one other person in the room has to know who that person is. The game consists of three rounds. Round one, you take turns giving clues to your teammates. You may say whatever you need, except a word written on the paper, to get your teammates to guess the answer. One minute on the clock. Go. The round lasts until the bowl is empty. Each correct answer is one point. All the clues are then placed back in the bowl. Round two, you can only say two words to your teammates to get them to guess the correct answer. It's essential that you pay attention the entire game. You need to be aware of how people have described the celebrities previously. One minute on the clock. Go. When the bowl is empty, the round ends and all the clues are placed back in the bowl. Round three, you can only use charades. This is by far the hardest and funniest round. My team, The Notorious Three, consisted of Corey, Tynan, and I. Team two (whose name I've sadly forgotten) consisted of Michael, Flan, Joanna, and Katrin, who arrived just before we started. The Notorious Three won both games of the evening. One of the most memorable moments was during round three of the first game when I drew Angela Bassett out of the bowl. Charades only. My first thought was to punch myself in the face as Ike had punched Tina. I made contact with my ring on my cheek bone. Oddly enough, my team screamed "Rihanna" based on Chris Brown's beating of her in '09. My brain immediately went in a different direction and I started doing the upper body forward thrust dance portion of "Proud Mary." "Tina Turner" followed quickly by "Angela Bassett" was screamed out by my team. My very next clue was "Hugh Jackman." I went with a "Wolverine" reference as we'd used it earlier. I made my hand into a claw, hoping to evoke the image of his blade fingers, and made a slashing movement. My ring flew off of my right hand and hit the wall. Michael and Joanna ducked on the sofa. Everyone screamed. We were all laughing, but with only a minute on the clock I kept going and my team got the clue. From then on, I asked Tynan to hold my ring. BTW, hitting oneself is not recommended. The ring left a mark.

At 11:30pm we turned on the television and alternated between Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on CNN and Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve. It's painful to watch Dick Clark post stroke so we mostly stayed on CNN. The eye candy that is Anderson Cooper made that easy for all of us. We watched the ball drop, toasted with a nice Veuve Clicqout, hugged and kissed, and then went back to our lives in the living room. Flan and Joanna went home shortly thereafter followed quickly by Katrin. Corey mentioned making pancakes the next morning and I told him that that kind of teasing was unfair. He said I could stay the night and Tynan agreed so Michael got out sheets and blankets.

I spent New Year's Eve night cozy with friends and warm from blankets on a sofa in Queens.