and nothing has changed

You know how you’re supposed to learn from your mistakes? History repeats itself and all that cliché essay fodder? Here’s a story for you.

New Year’s Eve on 2012, I was in New York City. Which makes total sense, going further north in the winter, considering how I can’t even stand the cold here. Needless to say, our trip consisted of many a frozen finger and popsicle toes. (Slow clap for impeccable imagery. Impeccably awful imagery.)

Anyway, we went there to watch the ball drop. If you don’t know this already, on New Year’s Eve, all the tourists (not the natives; they’re too smart) flock into Times Square to watch the extravagant festivities, which include guest singers and a flashy countdown. When the kaleidoscopic disco ball’s sixty second descent ends, it signals the beginning of a new year.

Pardon my inadequate description—it may not actually be a disco ball. I just think it should be.

I never actually saw the ball drop. Instead of waiting all day in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, we only left the hotel around six PM. Naturally, the Square had since been filled with people who’d been waiting there from six AM (one of the great mysteries of life: how they managed to not go to the bathroom. Although, I suppose they couldn’t have left even if they’d wanted to, which is all sorts of horrifying). I ended up barely squeezing my way out of the subway exit two streets down and “following” the crowd.

I say “following” because it wasn’t a choice. Because it was so crowded, we were all uncomfortably pressed up against total strangers and kind of just swaying in place. As 2012-13 Nicole said to anyone who bothered (pretended) to listen to her, “it’s really funny how quickly you get to know people when you’re all awkwardly squished together.”

One of those unforgettable memories, you know?

This year, I didn’t go to any New Year’s parties because a) the effort b) I’d fear for my life on the way back (drunk drivers) and c) I didn’t get invited to many. My mom gets invited to more parties than I do.

But that’s okay. I’ve got a New Year’s tradition that I can follow on my lonesome: watching live coverage of the New York Times Square ball drop on TV so I can be there in spirit and count down with them. Only, I’ve missed it THREE YEARS IN A ROW.

2012 New Year’s Eve (actually there in NYC):

Crowd around me: 3… 2… 1…

*silence. No one can see the ball from behind the building. Someone wonders if maybe it has exploded.*

*joyous screams sound in the distance*

Crowd around me: (unenthusiastically) yay

2013 New Year’s Eve (on the computer)

Clock: 11:50 PM

Me: Okay.

Clock: 12:17 AM

Me: *doesn’t even notice*

2014 New Year’s Eve

Mom: Did you want to watch the ball drop?

Me: Yeah!

Mom: Oh. It’s over.

Undaunted, I pulled up a video of last year’s ball drop on the computer and counted down with it. The video synced up with the clock on my computer, and all was well.

… I think the universe took pity on me.

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