2014 will be over in less than an hour and 2015 will be upon us, full of potential. I’m reminded of a New Year’s Eve party from 2010. I was using my vacation from my “paying job” to work at Bertie County Peanuts. While I was there I meet these two women and for whatever reason they’d got in in their head that they were going to go to a New Year’s Eve party and I was going to go with them. This was news me. They seemed determined that I was going and I was equally determined that I would not be going. I don’t even like to leave my house let alone go out in public, especially to a place I’d never been before, and there is going to be alcohol at this party? Forget about it!
My stubbornness was winning… that is until the last day of work. I clocked out for the day, went over to the remaining workers, which included one of these ladies, and said the now standard “Yall have a Merry Christmas and I’ll see you next year.” As I made my way down the line saying my goodbyes I was dreading the last one, her, the other woman had already left for the day, but this one was still here, so I strengthened my resolve and walked up to say goodbye. “So, New Year’s right?” she says. “ I… I … I can’t” I stammer. She looks crushed. I just have to get out the door before I cave. I had made up my mind damn it and nothing was going to change it. I tried to reassure her that we’d see each other again next year, none of this was helping. I just had to get out of there as quick as I could while still maintaining some level of dignity. So I just said “see you next year” and left. Didn’t look back.
I sat in my car for at least five minutes trying to talk myself out of going back in there, trying to talk myself out of going to this New Year’s party. I should have known then that I was fighting a losing battle. Finally my stubbornness won out and I drove away. I spent the whole drive home, nearly an hour, talking out loud to myself about why I wasn’t going and how this was the right choice. That night I had one of only a few completely sleepless nights. Not a restless night. This was clearly “I’ve made up my mind and I don’t care what you say” kind of sleepless. It only happens when my brain disagrees with a decision I’ve made. I finally concede and said “If they let us go early I’ll drive back over there and agree to the party” This way I have an out. This way it is completely out of my control.
The next day my stomach is in knots because I don’t want to go to this party. Let me make myself perfectly clear, attending this party would be a terrifying hellacious experience and the last thing I want to do. But I made a deal. In exchange for 4 hours of sleep I agreed to go to this party IF and only if they let us go early, because they’re never going to do that. Around lunch time the email came that we were free to go as of 2p.m. Well, the universe has spoken. Now I have to go to this party.
At 2:00 I left the one job on my way to the other. Once I arrived “to get my paycheck” they were both there so I made horrible small talk because I didn’t know what to say and when I left I said “So I guess I’ll see you guys for New Year’s. They may have cheered.
I dreaded it for 8 days but when it finally arrived I cleaned myself up the best I could and went to this party. I arrived promptly at 9 o’clock because that is what time the party started, I never understood the whole “fashionably late” thing. Remember, I don’t go to these parties so I don’t understand protocol. I scanned the room for a good hour before the first one showed up, the second would arrive much later.
I go over a sit with her and her husband, some time passes and she leans over and says “He’s (Her husband) probably not up for dancing tonight so you’re gonna have to dance with me.” Alarms start going off in my mind, red lights are flashing, the whole nine yards, this ship is sinking, life boats are being deployed, and violin players are voilining. I agreed to attend this party, nobody said anything about dancing. I DO NOT dance. Instead of saying any of this I nervously smile.
The band starts to play Bob Segar’s Main Street and she leans over to her husband and says “I’m going to dance with him” meaning me. At this point I feel like I’m having an out of body experience, this can’t be right, she can’t mean me. She gets up and I can’t even remember if she even says anything. She probably just motioned for me to follow her. The next moment I have control over my body I find myself following her to the dance floor. Every possible negative scenario is going through my head at this point from “Ok, don’t fall” to “You can still back out” and the ever present “She’s married. Is this going to cause any problems?”
I step off of the carpeted area onto the concrete dance floor and every fiber of my being is telling me to stop. Those voices in my head are screaming at me now. Only a few more steps to go and the battle is raging in my mind and then she turns to face me. It all disappeared. Absolute serenity washes over me. I was still scared to death but it was ok. I remember making a mental note that she was wearing opened toed shoe so I needed to make extra special sure to try not to step on her toes. I remember trying to figure out if I’m supposed to talk to her or just listen to the music. We spun round and round in a seemingly never ending slow dance to the point where I swear the band started to play the song over again.
I’m sure she thought I was the most uncoordinated person on the face of the earth. I sped up I slowed down, but I did not step on her toes! We survived! It is now and will probably always be one of the best nights of my life. She has become one of my closest friends and to this day whenever I hear Main Street by Bob Segar I get a chill down my spine.
Happy New Year!