dimanche 8 janvier 2012

31–1 NY

Here and thereof, I declare that what you're about to read is true or as close to the truth as permitted by my subjective and limited perception of reality. These are the highlights (nice start) of what happened around me in that imperfect space of time comprehended right before and after the start of the new year:

It's 11:30 P.M. local time (4:30 GMT). Expectations are running very high for the new year that is approaching fast and furious, non stop, like a runaway train. This is specially true for the kids who are here, and here you must read my younger sister's house. The youngsters are hosts or were brought by their parents who happen to be relatives: brothers, sisters, cousins, and their partners, friends, and friends of our friends. They are making a lot of noise with their trumpet toys, chatting and yelling, running up and down the stairs and around the house. Madness is on the loose!

The TV is on, live from Times Square where the celebration is the most important event marking the beginning of the new year. All main channels have separate transmissions but they cover the same thing: a line up of pop artists singing and dancing until the drop of the ball sharp at Midnight would officially record the start of 2012. It's so appealing for tourists and foreigners to be there but no more so for locals, newyorkers like us, who find going there very taxing, quite demanding if you want to get a good view of what's going on. It's really a feat. You should have planned it all, well ahead, in advance to get to the site at least 7 or 8 hours before Midnight, and only water is allowed for you to carry in the extended area surrounding the square.

Now it's 11:50 P.M., and the excitement is visible in everyone's face. People look for location, they gather around the TV waiting for the signal that shall relieve the tension that has been building up in anticipation the whole night. Everybody gets ready as if something big is going to happen....

Earlier we had dinner. As it is now a norm when the family and friends reunite for events during the year, they all participate in the preparation of food and meals. Some people bring drinks, beer, others lasagna, different kind of sweets, pies, Portorican or Dominican recipes, salads....and in the summer they grill and grill and grill.

It is an invisible but well oiled machine that organizes everything. And all seem to run smoothly and effortless because each and everyone knows what to do. Everybody does what they're best at, and since participation is voluntary there are few issues to resolve. I like setting, taking care of the bar, the drinks, bar-serving my 'customers' who, thank god, are not very sophisticated in these regards and hence, not very difficult to please. Also, I'm getting good grades and remarks at preparing fancy salads and salad-dressings... Now, they say it's mandatory for me to bring something of the likes or I'm disappointing some of the people that are regulars, assiduous clients...

Tonight the main plate was a huge 'paella' that was prepared at my house (downstairs) by my oldest niece et al... That really helped to kill some time. The drinks also helped ease some of the jitters caused by all the stimuli affecting our senses and coming from all directions.

But the way we entertain ourselves is very different depending on what our age is:

And it's 11:59 and everybody stands up. And everything stops. We all meet around the TV and now is 10 seconds left, 9.... 3, 2, 1 and a very loud "Happy new year" cuts the air and is heard at unison filling the room and all gets crazy. The confetti from the TV is non longer exclusively inside there but spreads all over the living room and while we change people to exchange hugs and best wishes and we raise our cups and glasses to the ceiling in frantic display of exhilaration and relief I could see my older sister in the middle of the dining room with red eyes quietly weeping and crying ...

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