Apparently celebrating New Year’s Eve is a big thing in Holland. It’s a big thing everywhere, of course, but here it’s a big family thing. Even little kids get to stay up to usher in the clock. That’s probably more of a reaction to events than anything, seeing as the Dutch like nothing more than to let off millions of loud fireworks on the street outside their individual homes.
I was unaware of the family element until the good wife informed me that it was going to be a big deal for her family that the two of us are now here on NYE. I cautiously inquired as to what this meant, and I was duly horrified to discover that there was an expectation that I present myself at a family gathering to usher in the new year.
This is after two full days of family Christmas gatherings, not to mention the new year’s day family afternoon tea that the good wife is hosting at our house for all of the relatives. To hear that I was required on top of all this to present myself to a long and drawn out evening with the same people that I would then be seeing the very next day gave me cause for concern.
For the truth is, dear readers, that I have never cared for NYE.
Oh, I did back in the day when I was young, dumb and full of, err … testosterone. One memorable NYE I woke up on the front lawn of someone’s property. I had been riding home on my bicycle in the early hours of the morning and I had fallen asleep at the handles, so to speak. I was roused by the soaking of various sprinklers, which I have long suspected that the owner switched on to get me moving. The alarming part was that I was still attached to my bike – I had keeled over dead asleep, the bike still between my legs, and my hands still with a commanding grip.
But mostly NYE for me has been work. I have worked far too many of these nights in various bars, restaurants, and nightclubs of ill repute. When I owned my discoteca in the Italian Alps, the takings from this one night were astronomical. People just throw away their money in this forced celebration for some strange reason. We used to section off an area of the club that was raised up by an extra 5 inches and charge people enormous sums of money for tables in this ‘exclusive’ zone. We always had more takers than tables.
If I had my way then I would be in bed on NYE around 10pm with a trashy crime novel and a glass of whiskey. I don’t want to stay up late and talk with drunk people about how my year went, and I certainly don’t want to stay up late and do the same with people who don’t drink at all. I don’t even care for fireworks. I don’t care about watching them and I certainly don’t care to set them off myself. For the past two weeks our neighborhood has echoed to the sound of irregular explosions. Perhaps the Dutch do this to make up for the fact that their part in the Second World War was so embarrassingly short. Beats me.
So I won’t raise a glass for any of you this evening. You can rest assured that I will be long suffering. The hours will tick down until the fateful countdown begins, and when it finally strikes midnight and everyone kisses each other in a gigantic slobberfest, I will be looking at the time and wondering when exactly I can just go home to sleep. While dodging demented Dutchies hurling dangerous explosives.
Fuck it, pass me another drink.