I haven’t had a great start to 2009. It all started on New Year’s Eve, where I attempted to go to Times Square, had an awesome spot, but couldn’t handle the cold or the lack of a bathroom and left. As Aaron put it, “the ball dropped prematurely” on that night, for me at least. It’s taken me a few days to collect my thoughts on that night. I’ve been trying to write about it since I got back to the hostel that night, but I just haven’t been able to get my head right about it all yet.
I feel pretty down about it, but I don’t really know why. I don’t think I should feel bad at all, but I do. Personally I think my decision to leave was an important one. I was freezing, my clothes weren’t up to it at all and I would have been in a lot of trouble if I stayed. As I left I got really dizzy and faint. My eyes had swollen up from the cold, and were totally red. It looked like I had been crying for hours. I feel like deciding not to freeze to death was a good way to start the New Year. And I felt like deciding to leave, to give up on this stubborn attitude I always have about sticking it out for things, was important as well. I know it would have been amazing to have been there for the big finale, but why was I there? Was it for me, or was it for the checklist? For me to have something to tell everyone back home?
I wasn’t having a good time at all. I was an ice-block. My pen was filled with guys, couples, old people and slutty teenage girls, so staying for a kiss was out of the question. So what else was there? I was freezing to death to see a big ball move down a pole and a whole bunch of confetti fly everywhere. I must have been crazy.
It took me a long time to come to the decision to leave though. I got there at 2pm, and left about 6.30 or 7. It snowed for a good portion of that time. There really is no feeling in the world like snow hitting you in the eyeballs. I can only describe it as being like crying in reverse. I met a nice Dutch couple while I was there and we hung out for awhile. They gave me a cigarette and a banana. I was grateful for both. Bananas are quite filling, and the cigarette actually warmed me up some. I think that probably counts as my first real cigarette.
Lionel Richie also helped me stay a bit longer. He performed three songs, stopped, waited 45 minutes and then played those same three songs again. The entertainment there was well fucked, I might add. Unorganised and horribly intermittent. In any case, I never thought I would ever be so happy to see Lionel. For those brief minutes everyone sang and danced some warmth into themselves.
The turning point for me was when I witnessed a young American couple fighting. She must have been complaining about the cold or something, and he was just letting her have it. He kept saying how she always has to get her way 99% of the time and how much of a pain in the ass she is.
You said you wanted to come to New York for New Year, and here we are. You always get your way, all the time. I’d much rather be on my couch with my family in Rhode Island, but no. We had to come here so you could get your way.
It went on like that. He was being pretty harsh I thought, and she wasn’t saying anything. I wondered how on earth those two people could stay together if that’s how he talks to her. Then again I guess I’ve had some pretty vicious fights with lovers too. In any case, seeing that fight, the way the cold was making people crazy, and the logic of this guy who just wanted to be on his couch in Rhode Island got to me. I got the hell out of there.
It was a long and lonely walk 60 or so blocks home. I had to take awkward routes because of all the road closures. I jogged in the park for a while to try and get some feeling back into my limbs. I ended up getting back here, going on the computer for awhile and eventually getting to bed shortly after midnight, having totally ignored the countdown.
I was in the room on the laptop for awhile when this black guy, drunk as Mel Gibson comes in, climbs shakily in to his bunk and collapses. A few minutes later he starts vomiting uncontrollably for ages. I didn’t even realise he was vomiting at first. It was all liquid. So much so that it sounded more like gargling than vomit. So he chucked all over himself and his bed. Later he started getting all emotional and apologising to me. Then he passed out again.
He continued vomiting throughout the night, and at one point vomited over the side of the bed (top bunk). It went everywhere. I just kept sleeping though. I didn’t care.
I guess some people had it worse off than I did that night.