Crappy New Year, or Tip Your Bartenders Tonight

Tonight I’ll be partaking of a longstanding holiday tradition and working through New Year’s Eve. By choice.

Since gleefully reentering the food service world after years as a narcoleptic office rat in late 2010, I’ve made it a point, in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, to mention to my employer that if anyone is needed to bar-tend, serve, or stand around looking official on New Year’s Eve, I’m their girl. Because New Year’s Eve sucks. It is the worst holiday in the modern cannon. If I can’t peaceably hang out at home and watch The Twilight Zone, I’m gonna be making some money.

Part of this comes from too many years living in New York City, where my already crowded and overpriced town becomes, for one special night, four or five times more crowded and infinitely more expensive. Hordes from Connecticut, from the Island, from the far, far reaches of rural Jersey, from the midwest, from the deep south, from Philly and DMV, even Bostoners descend. As if every other place in the world had conspired to dump its worst people on us to fill the streets with shouting and vomit. Due to supply and demand, every nightlife establishment right down to your friendly neighborhood dive bar tacks a $20+ charge just to get through the door, and a mandatory prix-fixe of food you wouldn’t normally eat, just ’cause. It’s impossible to do anything, and impossible not to. Because it’s New Year’s Eve, and our culture and crappy, crappy movies have brainwashed us into thinking that if we don’t have fun in a crowded room full of awful strangers tonight, of all nights, what hope do we have for the rest of the year? 

The last time I attempted to attend a party on New Year’s, I broke down in tears while being physically compressed on all sides by strangers shouting at top volume while waiting in line to get into a non-heated warehouse party in a neighborhood where the locals palpably despised everyone walking to the venue. I don’t know what exactly prompted my very physical and night-ending breakdown, but I remember it kind of feeling like a scene from Titanic, below decks, waiting to be shut out and drowned. Actually, this is pretty much what it felt like just to live in Brooklyn for the past few years.

But luckily, now I don’t need to go to bars. I work in bars. I’m actually pretty jazzed for it. It’s gonna be a party! And I’m gonna have a job to do, which always makes parties bearable. No standing around wondering why this isn’t more fun. While hordes of drunk jerks are still as annoying, I at least have the solace of knowing I’m getting paid. Plus, I live in Los Angeles now, where a party in December makes infinitely more sense, from a coat-check standpoint, alone.

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