Journal entry: January 1, 1998 (age 28) — New Year’s Eve
It seemed like such a good idea at the time. Amanda and I wanted to have everyone over to see our first apartment, but didn’t want our guests to feel obligated to bring gifts. (What does one bring to an “apartment-warming?”) So we decided to host a New Year’s Eve party instead. We mailed out invitations, including snazzy clip art from Microsoft Word 97 and directions to our place in Rosslyn, Va. We were excited to show off our high-rise location, with its terrific view of the Iwo Jima Memorial.
We were also looking forward to sending guests on a quest to find our oddly obscured bathroom. We point digestively needy visitors to the hallway leading to our bedroom. The hallway is filled from floor to ceiling with mirrors and mirror-covered doors. The absence of traditional doorknobs makes the mirrored doors almost indistinguishable from the full-length mirrors on either side of each doorway. We find cruel amusement in listening to the sounds of panic, as the hapless guest opens a series of clothes closets before discovering the elusive water closet. We call this area of our home “The Partially-Hidden Passageway to the Secret Pooping Place.”
Our bathroom is just one of many things that seem to amuse only Amanda and me. Apparently, a New Year’s Eve party at our place is another one of those things. The RSVPs had been anemic, so we had some forewarning that this was not going to be a blowout. But by the party’s 10 p.m. mark, we knew we had crossed into the zone of fiesta fiasco. Amanda’s best friend, Diana Litzinger, had made it, but was clearly suffering from a horrible head cold. My brother Bob, his girlfriend, and a few of my friends had already left. My brother, Dan, and his wife, Mary Jean, were no-shows. The total number of New Year’s Eve partygoers never reached double digits.
The low point occurred around 11 p.m., when an excited Amanda went into the kitchen to serve her very first batch of Binghamton spiedies. Amanda’s parents followed her into the kitchen, to suggest that we eat in there and keep our voices down. It seemed that Amanda’s grandfather, “Papou” Sigalas, had fallen asleep on our couch. His devoted wife, who we call “YiaYia,” was holding his hand and reading a book as Papou gently snored. Soon, our few remaining guests began to shuffle toward the door. They said their goodbyes with the sympathetic tone of close ones who had sat Shiva with us through a long and painful night. The party had had good intentions, but it had passed on now, and that was probably for the best.
That was last night, and today Amanda and I are still feeling grumpy. A party that Mary Tyler Moore would have considered a new low was not the way to start the new year. To purge the destructive energy we felt, we decided that we should throw something off our balcony. An egg seemed like a harmless, biodegradable choice, so we each took one from the fridge. On the count of three, we hurled the delicate ova into the sprawling parkland below. We found the tandem splat of eggs on tree bark deeply cathartic.