If you only knew how many tries it took to get this photo. And then when we finally did we were so excited/happy/inebriated that it was as if our team had won the world series.
On New Year’s Eve we all packed into Sly’s car and drove to our neighborhood fireworks warehouse. “Where are we going again, ” Sly asked and I looked at him, confused, because wasn’t it completely obvious? “You know, the fireworks place down the street — the one with the inflatable ape on top,” I answered. It wasn’t registering with Sly and then, after retelling a story about being pulled over by the cops that one time after leaving the store and accidentally driving into city limits, I realized that he wasn’t with us when that happened, that he had never actually been to THE fireworks store — the one we had been coming to forever, since (apparently) before Sly and I were together. Had it really been *that* long since I had been home for New Years Eve? The memory of that incident was still so fresh it didn’t even occur to me that Sly had not been there.
For me it was a continuation of old childhood NYE traditions ( though with much much nicer, much more expensive fireworks), but for Sly and I it was another first: our first NYE spent in Texas blowing up hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks together.
I can’t remember the last time I spent New Year’s Eve at home. The last few holidays were spent in the DC area and the times before then, when I lived in SF or Austin we usually left home not long after Christmas in search of bigger and better parties. Over time we grew tired of the same New Year’s parties: the kind where you blow a bunch of money on a dress, overpriced drinks, VIP tickets, etc. The kind where you rang in the new year with a bunch of obnoxiously drunk strangers, took a few photos all dolled up to prove you had fun, then spent the rest of the evening/wee hours of the morning trying to find a cab to take you home.
This year we gathered on our front lawn with family and friends, a styrofoam cooler of champagne and assorted low brow beverages, and a Subaru hatchback filled with $450 worth of fireworks. My brother and I huddled under old blankets while everyone else went pyro-crazy. We weren’t the only ones though: at midnight the skies were absolutely filled with neighborhood fireworks (ours were obviously the loudest and most obnoxious) and let me tell you it was pretty damn awesome. People came out of their houses and stared up at the sky, cheering and laughing and enjoying one huge, loud, block party ringing in of the new year. We screamed like crazy, danced in the streets, set off more than one car alarm, and rang in the new year like the Texans that we are.
Even my mom came outside, bundled up within an inch of her life, and hit up the bubbly like a pro. My mom never drinks. Like ever. And yet there she was, drinking from a plastic tumbler that she stole from me, laughing like a little girl, lighting fireworks in the street and running away to safety once lit.
It was the kind of New Year’s Eve that in years past I tried to escape, though I could probably say that about home in general: I spent my entire youth just counting the days when I could get the hell out of Dodge to seek out bigger and better places/people/experiences. If only I could appreciate then what I know now: that it doesn’t get much better than this.
The next morning I asked my mom if she had a good New Year’s Eve and her face lit up, “It was really fun. So far the best New Year’s ever.”
I couldn’t agree more.
For more New Year’s Eve photos, click here.