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A thing about me: I don’t drink. At all. Never have. Were you to meet certain people I knew who took the opposite path, you would understand: there have not been enough cool kids born in humanity’s entire reign to balance the scales enough that drinking would seem in any way appealing to me.
Generally, this doesn’t hamper my social life; I don’t mind so much what other people are doing. However, nights such as New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, when thousands of people take to the streets seemingly convinced that it is their responsibility to get drunk to the point of injury or property damage – those aren’t my idea of a good time. Still, if there was a concert I wanted to see, I’d usually suck it up and go anyway.
The first time I swore I’d never go out on NYE again, I only remember faintly. It had to do with my roommates and I getting stuck at a club in the far end of Brooklyn and needing to get back to Manhattan at 4am. Brooklyn/Manhattan travel was always a little fraught back then, though (is it still?); surely the holiday just exacerbated a commonplace difficulty.
So some years later, when I no longer lived in NYC but was visiting a friend who did, and we came across a listing for Cheap Trick at Limelight on 12/31, we figured, really, what could go wrong? It’s right here in Manhattan. Sometimes they let us into that club for free. The weather’s kind of nice, all things considered. I have a super-cute new dress that needs a place to make its debut. And: Cheap Trick!
Cheap Trick were reliably wonderful. There’s that.
But the people – the people as a group had lost all of their motor skills. One guy staggered into me so many times that I finally shoved him away, prompting a little voice in my head to say, “Really? This is how it’s gonna go? You’re going to get into a slapfight with Rick from Accounting?” I can’t say for certain that he was to blame for the four cigarette holes later discovered in my cute new dress. Or the big melted patch of fake hair in my weave (SHUT. UP). But let’s call it his fault anyway.
So we survived that misery and headed out to find a cab. This is when we learned – and I have NO idea why we didn’t know this – that you can’t get a cab on NYE. Someone told us that the drivers are all allowed to turn off their meters and charge whatever they can get as a holiday bonus of sorts; I don’t know if this is true, as nobody was offering us even wildly overpriced transportation, but something was up.
We had 20-odd blocks to walk. It was about 37 degrees – snow melting, but definitely still winter. I hadn’t worn a coat (fashion!) and was sporting 3-inch heels, but that was back in the day when I could do things like walking in heels (well, most of the time) (<-foreshadowing!) so I wasn’t too fussed. So we set off for midtown, the two of us and a throng of rugged adventurers banded together by the single common interest of getting home. My being the only person in this crowd who had not imbibed, and one of the few who were not flat-out drunk, lends a special irony to what happened next, I think. Stepping off curbs in heels is always a little treacherous. Stepping off curbs and across big puddles of snowmelt is even more so. Stepping off curbs and trying and failing to step across what looks like your standard-issue big puddle but turns out to be masking a Huge Deep Hole: well, that’s what happened. I got my heel caught and went face down, landing a significant distance from both of my shoes. So hard a fall was it, several observers thought I was dead. (Cause of death: clumsy.) When I recovered, there were problems. I was soaked from head to toe. My stockings were shredded and forming interesting patterns with the blood rushing out of about a million new lacerations. My knees were stiffening up at an alarming rate. One of my heels was broken. And I still had nearly 20 blocks to walk in just-above-freezing weather. Perhaps you’re the sort of person who can go out on New Year’s Eve and not come home covered in blood with melted hair. If you are, have a great night! I hope you can understand why I won’t be joining you.