Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Years Eve, Filipino Style

For the last couple of years, New Years Eve had pretty much been dead to me. In both '05-'06 and '06-'07, I went to Vegas, which was so insanely fun that it ruined the holiday for me. The last two years, I haven't wanted to do anything at all. Last year, with Alex still back in North Dakota for the holidays, I sat and played video games by myself all night, celebrating the stroke of midnight with a couple chili cheese wraps and a strawberry limeade. And I was pretty content with it. Borderline thrilled with it, actually.

But this year we decided, along with Shaun and Janelle, that we'd at least go out to a quiet bar in Lawrence and be a little bit social when the ball dropped. During our prefunking session, however, we found that our "quiet" bar had a live band and a $25/person cover. If I'm paying $25 to get in anywhere, the following things had better be involved: a lunch buffet whose two main courses are chicken wings and macaroni & cheese; Van Halen music being played way too loud; and an all-female staff trying to pay for med school and/or their raging drug habit. Our party was 0-3 in those categories, so we called a last minute audible and drove to Topeka, where Jen and Shelly were working a Filipino NYE party at the country club. Not only are we not paying a cover, but after packing a couple coolers full of beer, whiskey, and champagne, we're drinking for free the rest the night. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

And let me tell you, this party did NOT disappoint. We couldn't exactly crash the party quietly, as our group constituted 8 of the 11 white people in the entire banquet room (there was a 15-year-old white girl already in attendance, just crushing the line dances with all the Filipino well as two fat middle-aged guys who were undoubtedly the plus-ones of their mail-order brides.) But after a few sideways glances and dirty looks, they left our table full of gringos and smuggled-in booze alone.

After the ball dropped, and kisses and toasts were exchanged, I started gearing up for my first New Years resolution: slow-dancing with a Filipino mom. But we quickly learned about a little quirk in the Filipino culture: midnight is the final buzzer of the New Years Eve party. By 12:02, the music was cut, and the dance floor was completely empty. By 12:08 (no exaggeration, I checked my watch in disbelief) the only people left in the banquet room was our table, the 15-year-old and her friend- who was anywhere from 11-23 years old. This place cleared out like it was on fire. I've never seen anything like it, except for one time when the cops were knocking on the door to Ike & Jake's place, and we jimmied open the window in the back bedroom and the entire party bailed.

So we had to settle for hijacking the deejay booth, dancing the Apache dance on the now-abandoned dance floor (although the 15-year-old and her friend enthusiastically joined in) and passing around champagne bottles for another hour and a half. A wonderful ending to a wonderful New Years Eve. Not quite the Vegas strip or anything, but as far as the holiday is concerned, in the words of Ron Burgundy: I am BACK!