I rang in the new year at Wonderland, where I also spent my 30th birthday and danced the first night I met S. and her friend O. It’s a dive bar at the corner of 11th and Kenyon in Columbia Heights with mostly hipsters and a long narrow staircase to the second floor where a deejay plays rap music and old school 80’s music like Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison.”
I had beer and homemade pizza at S.’s and J.’s and then hopped a cab to the bar at about 11 pm, picking up S. en route. The cab driver, who was Ethiopian but grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, asked me to brunch and I agreed to take his phone number knowing full well I wouldn’t call. It’s still programmed in there, I should probably delete it.
When we got to the bar (no cover), S. went to battle the throngs of people to buy beers and I ran into my sister-in-law’s friend Mer and her husband. They were at my brother’s wedding this summer. They were with a cute single guy (Mer whispered to me that he has a reputation of being a player), whom S. flirted with. I was looking for K., who was there with a group of people I planned to meet, but shortly thereafter she grabbed my arm and said she was going home because her boyfriend fell down the stairs and someone jabbed an elbow into her back and she was “just done” with the crowd.
Midnight came and went without much fanfare besides a bartender standing on the bar and spraying champagne, but I was out of range. About an hour later, N. left his party in Glover Park and took a cab over to Wonderland to meet me and J. left an Adams Morgan party to convene at the bar. The three of us put money in the jukebox and chatted as the crowd thinned out.
One of my favorite parts of the extended weekend was debriefing with S. today over quiche and chai and laughing at some of the funny (not blog worthy) things that happened.
I think back to the past seven or so New Years Eves: Kitzbuhel, Austria (2000), Milwaukee (2001), Chicago (2002 and 2003), New York (2004), Philadelphia (2005) and D.C. (2006 and 2007). I know single friends who left the country (Guatemala and Panama) to get away from the pressures of the night. I’m finally learning that the evening is just like any other weekend night, it’s what you make of it. As long as I’m with at least a close friend I’m happy. Sometimes the spontaneous plans are just as fun as planning for weeks. I think it suits me best.