Burton on the Bay:
New Year's Resolution:Get a Plan, Man
Do you do the town or just pet the cat?
What are you doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?
-Popular song of the mid to late 20th Century.
So what are you, dear reader, doing on New Year's Eve? The coming New Year's Eve, though more than 250 days down the road, isn't just any New Year's Eve. It's the turn of the millennium. Enter 2000.
Everyone seems preoccupied about the Y2K, you know, planning ahead to have cash on hand, logs in the wood box to back up the electricity-dependent furnace, a stash of extra food and other traditional necessities like toilet paper, bread, milk, cat food and such. But they're overlooking something.
What are you doing New Year's Eve? No insignificant question, not if you're married or have a steady. Hey, this is no ordinary New Year's Eve, not by a long shot.
It's going to be a swinging affair worldwide, and if you aren't on the ball, you could be stuck home petting the cat, certainly not your better half because you'll be in the dog house - and will remain there well into the 21st Century.
Look at it this way: You might be concerned now about computers crashing - you know Y2K, short for the millennium bug - but what could crash is your relationship. Your significant other won't take lightly your shortsightedness.
If you've got a big dog, it will help - that means a big dog house, and there might be room for you. But with me, Frieda's cat carrier is small.
Eat at Joe's
While thinking about New Year's Eve and what friends will be doing once they've stocked up on groceries, incidentals and cash, have their home computers tuned in for the big change and so forth, I decided to buzz wife Lois at her office. For column material, I just wanted to know if any of her friends were - or already had - making plans (and reservations) for the big welcome to the 21st Century.
I should have known better, which I realized as soon as the words blabbered out of my mouth. "I'll check," she responded, then in a different tone of voice recognizable to anyone cemented in a relationship, came her big question.
"What are we doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?" That was more ominous than "How much did you lose at the poker game last night?" Or "Did you mail those letters?" Or, worse still "You remembered it's our anniversary, didn't you? Or did you?"
You get the gist, and the gist is you've put your foot in your mouth, and though your mouth is big, your foot is even bigger - and it ain't going to be easy to get it out.
I gulped loud enough that it surely could be heard over Alexander Graham Bell's 20th Century invention and tried to change the subject - only to have Lois inform me that already all the hotels in Baltimore are booked solid for the big midnight celebration.
I briefly entertained the would-be perfect excuse that I was waiting to book one of the new hostelries being talked about in Baltimore's tourist rejuvenation. But I quickly realized even their cornerstones won't be laid until well into 2000.
So I gave the usual answer when one's foot is in one's mouth while on the phone: "Call you right back, I've got a beep on call waiting." That fell flat, so I resorted to the standard backup "I'm working on it." That, too, went over like a lead zeppelin.
She mentioned something about a particular cozy little Eastern Shore inn she has long desired to patronize for a special occasion - and what could be more special than the turn of the century?
But, thought I, what if this inn was like the hotels in Baltimore, you know, already fully booked?
What if, when I then resorted to the yellow pages, I discovered the closest get-away with a vacancy was a flophouse motel by the name of Local Hideaway in Kalamazoo, Mich. - and the only available room hours were from 8pm to 10pm?
Worse still, Lois has been around long enough to know that Kalamazoo is the home of Shakespeare fishing tackle - and what that would mean. While gobbling turkey croquets at the counter of Joe's Roadside Diner/Truck Stop - seeing that all the local homeless folk and transient truck drivers made their reservations last month, all six of the papered tables were reserved - she would know I'd be making plans to look over the latest in Shakespeare Ugly Stick fishing rods. Then things would get real ugly.
Or Dance in France?
As all of this penetrates my skull, perhaps readers are due an apology. From here to the remainder of this column, words might not be too coherent. How does one write about one thing when one's mind is on something else - like what am I (emphasis on "I") doing on New Year's Eve?" Cuddling up with Frieda in front of the fireplace, seeing Y2K has cut off the power, which has cut off the furnace?
Meanwhile Lois is among the crowds in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower dancing in the streets with a half-filled crystal goblet of some fancy, bubbly champagne poured by some suave, globe-trotting Italian lothario with a title, lots of money and his own jet, yacht and villa, which he has already invited her to visit once the turn-of-the-century celebration subsides. Which will probably be nine days hence - if the champagne and French cuisine holds out.
And I'll be sharing cold milk with Frieda - if I remembered to stock up on it seeing that in her haste to get to BWI, Lois (she made flight reservations after hanging up on me the other day) didn't replenish the larder. She had other things on her mind.
This called for a little ingenuity, like calling daughter Heather, but not much help there. On New Year's Eve she will be overseeing the big party at Maryland Yacht Club in Pasadena where she is manager. Husband Jon will be doing likewise as chief chef at Fergies on Route 2 on the shores of South River - and they'll go by California time, flopping exhausted into bed just as the West Coast observes the arrival of 2000.
Son Joel is the family brain and though busy preparing computers at the Support Center in Washington for Y2K, he took time to run me through a couple of strategies. Why not be the consummate sophisticated yuppie - explain that because some pope years ago messed up the calendar when instituting Leap Year, the legitimate millennium was in 1997, so what's the big deal on the coming New Year's Eve?
Better still, why not be more precise and explain that the millennium doesn't really occur until New year's Eve 2000 - something about the Latin Anno Domini and the calculating of time since the Years of Our Lord. Thus, I'm making reservations for that date.
Good old Joel, he knows what sons are for, he's worth all that college money - which is less than alimony. Now only if Lois will buy my perspective - that we've already missed the millennium or that we'll do it right and celebrate the big event appropriately 20 months hence.
But it's not a question if you know the answer, so here I am about to dial that little inn and pray they at least have a fold-away cot in the garret, a box lunch and perhaps a diet Coke.
Again, dear reader, what are YOU doing on New Year's Eve?
| Issue 14 |
Volume VII Number 14
April 8-14, 1999
New Bay Times
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