January 21, 2009

How to Block out a Holiday

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This year, I rang in the New Year by myself. Okay, that’s not really true. Did I have you worried? This year, I rang in the New Year with my dogs. Still worried? Let me explain. This was not my choice (although I am slightly obsessed with my dogs). Actually, I had a pretty rockin’ new year planned. Three of my friends from high school were going to visit me in Vermont where I was spending the week with my family.
The first thing we decided to do was go on a sleigh ride — obviously. But most importantly, we had to figure out where we would go to party. We were, after all, going to be in West Dover, Vermont. Although it contains one of the most popular ski mountains in New England, Mount Snow, its not exactly known for its wild parties and night clubs. But we had to figure out something.
Our only apparent partying option was a place called the “Snowbarn.” Sound lame? I beg to differ. The Snow Barn is advertised as holding “the biggest New Years Eve party to hit Mount Snow.” The website even warns to buy tickets ahead of time because the show could sell out. Okay, so maybe the featured band isn’t even on Itunes (my friends had a band in high school that got onto Itunes). But there were sure to be cute snowboard instructors. Besides, it would be ridiculously hysterical, if nothing else.
But then something happened with which all Ithacans and Cornellians can sympathize: It snowed. My friends wouldn’t be able to get to Vermont.
Surprisingly, I didn’t cry. I moped. I considered calling people whom I had babysat for a few days back and seeing if they needed anyone for New Years. But as cute as the kids were, cleaning up poopy diapers definitely wasn’t going to make me feel better about missing out on the Snow Barn for New Years.
So I came up with a plan. That night, it wouldn’t be New Years. It would be a regular night. I want to tell you what I did on this regular night, because if you are ever in a similar situation in which you have to block out New Years or any other holiday for that matter, I want you to know that its possible.
7:00: I resist my mom’s offer to join my parents and their friends for hors-d’oeuvres. I tell her that there’s no point. (That would completely go against the plan).
7:50: I finish my book, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.
8:00: I flip channels and silently debate between watching CSI or Shrek 2. I decide on CSI. A girl dies. The CSI peeps think they know the guy who did it. They realize they’re wrong. They get the actual guy and everyone’s happy. But not really — it’s one of those episodes where they go into the characters’ personal lives. Ughhhh — that’s what Gossip Girl is for.
8:30: During a commercial of CSI, I heat up Salmon my mom made the night before. I eat the salmon while watching CSI.
8:45: I throw my dog’s toy dreidal that plays Hanukkah songs when you squeeze it. He fetches it and actually brings it back, a rare occurrence.
9:00: I take my dogs out. They take pity on me and make the snow yellow in record time (it’s three degrees outside). I tell them that they are amazing dogs.
9:15 ish: I am so happy I can barely contain myself. Law and Order: SVU is on. This is the best of the Law and Order/CSI type shows. Ask anyone. The only thing that keeps me from actually jumping for joy is that I realize I missed the beginning and it will be difficult to follow (one thing all those shows have in common is that it is hard to understand the plotline if you don’t watch form the beginning). Oh well. Elliott and Olivia make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
9:30: I realize I’ve seen this episode before. Damn.
10:00: I think about having desert.
10:10: I have a peppermint marshmallow. These things are amazing, if you’ve never had one before.
11:00: I take a shower.
11:30: I go to sleep.
Was it a coincidence that I went to sleep just before 12 am? No, I made sure of this. So I guess I hadn’t fully blocked out the holiday. Still, the plan had worked. I made it through one of the most high-anxiety, high-pressure to-do-something-crazy nights without any kind of illegal substances, my friends or even The Snow Barn.
After all, why do holidays have to be so objective? When we were younger, my sister once insisted that her birthday (which is in November) came before my birthday (which is in January). I’m sure I called her as many mean names as my ten-year old self could think of in response to her utter ignorance that January comes before November. But really, why does it have to? Who decided that the New Year begins on December 31? After all, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, comes in early fall and the Chinese New Year is January 26 this year. So actually, if you are Jewish or Chinese, you can celebrate two New Years.
If this is accepted as “normal,” why does everyone stigmatize not doing anything exciting on the “official” New Years, or any other (non-religious — I suppose the religious ones are held on a certain day for a reason) holiday on a certain day for that matter? Why should we have to celebrate New Years at all if we don’t feel like it? Or why can’t we celebrate New Years five times per year? Okay, so maybe I’m going a little too far. After all, I just wasn’t able to do something fun on New Years. All I’m saying though, really, is that it’s possible to block out a holiday if you have to. If one New Years Eve, you feel like lying on your couch and watching Law and Order: SVU, go for it. Celebrate New Years the next night. Or don’t. We won’t (or at least I wont) judge you.