I spent this New Year’s Eve exactly as I have for about the past 40 years: in the shower. I go in a few minutes before midnight and step out into the new year naked and clean . My life has been so good, I’m afraid to stop the routine now. I even do it at parties or I don’t go, although I haven’t been to a New Year’s Eve party in years. I offer to bring my own soap and towel if necessary. Other party-goers are occasionally surprised to hear the shower running. Usually, though, it gives me an excuse to leave the party early.
I started doing this on hearing a comment from Jerry Jerome when we were both young with small children. He said whatever you do on New Year’s Eve you will be doing all year long. By the time I decided that was nonsense masquerading as profundity, I had already set the life-long pattern.
I like the symbolism, and it has saved me from kissing women I don’t enjoy and kissing women I enjoy too much. It has saved me from wearing silly hats, blowing on horns that unroll a paper tube (or worse, getting them blown at me), getting confetti down my shirt, and dealing with the awkward letdown when all of that is over. I do miss cheap champagne, which I enjoy, the cheaper the better. I could still drink my own, but I have already brushed my teeth.
Missy, my wife, used to join me, which made it very symbolic, almost Biblical, but as she has gotten older, she goes to bed early. Or, maybe she goes to bed early because I have gotten older.