by Elizabeth Zelvin
The winner of last week's drawing for a signed copy of John Floyd's short story collection, Midnight, is Vicki Kennedy. Vicki, please email your mailing address to velma(at)secretary(dot)net so John can send you the book.
Members of Alcoholics Anonymous have a special name for New Year’s Eve. They call it Amateur Night. It’s the night when everybody else goes out and tries to behave like genuine drunks. Being amateurs, of course they fall short.
Most working people get the holidays off, including Christmas and New Year’s. A friend of ours used to count it as the busiest time of his working year. Was he a caterer? A salesman at Walmart? Nope.
Cars are not a big issue in Manhattan, where I live. But the noise on the streets long past midnight and the increased number of passengers being sick on the subway make New Year’s Eve a good time to stay home. Since the kids, now long grown up and moved out, started making their own plans for the evening, we’ve usually made ourselves an elegant dinner to eat by candlelight. Manhattan! you may say. Don’t you ever go to Times Square to watch the ball drop? Nope. Never.
My son went once, I think it was his first year in college. Wisely, he neither asked my permission nor told me he’d gone till New Year’s Day. With typical city-kid aplomb, he reported: “It was one-third tourists, one-third college kids, and one-third muggers—and even the muggers were friendly.”
One reason to go out on New Year’s Eve in the past was that it was a rare opportunity to dress up, whether for a party or dinner in a fancy restaurant, in our increasingly dress-down culture. Since I became a mystery writer, I no longer need that excuse. The holiday parties of the organizations I belong to, MWA and Sisters in Crime, are long past, having taken place early in December out of concern for people’s crowded holiday calendars. At MWA events, they even tell guests to “dress to kill.” And nobody even gets hurt.
So two nights from now my husband and I will finish our delicious home-cooked meal, get into our jammies, and may or may not turn on the TV. And at midnight when the ball drops and all the frostbitten tourists (and college kids and muggers) sing Auld Lang Syne, we will probably be fast asleep.