My New Year's Eve was pretty sweet

Well. How did you folks spend your new year’s? You Pittsburghers were probably partying like silly at the Il Valletto house/Crimes of Fashion house/4626 Forbes/That house with the roofs/Just this place, you know? That sounds like fun, wish I could have been there.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum (That’s not true; the opposite end of the spectrum would probably be working in a rice paddy) but somewhere along the spectrum, I had a pretty excellent New Year’s myself.

So I meet up with my friends Erik, Dan, (two of my best friends since second grade) and Dan’s girlfriend Julie (who is pretty cool too). We go to this Hibachi restaurant, where they cook the food in front of you. The walls were covered with framed pictures that had been wrapped up so they looked like Christmas presents. But hey, you go to one of these places for the show, right? Sadly, they were running low on cooks, so I think we got the new guy. He broke both eggs when he was flipping them, flubbed the onion volcano (unless the “volcano” is just supposed to be an onion tower engulfed in flames), and switched up a couple of orders. Whatever. I felt bad for the guy, because I know what it’s like to be doing a show and dropping a lot.

I also felt bad for the guy because we expected more. You go to a Mexican restaurant, they bring you Mexican food. You go to a Thai restaurant, they bring you Thai food. But if you go to a Japanese restaurant, dammit, they better be either serving sushi or delivering a Hibachi performance. Come on, he’s not juggling his cooking utensils? He’s not throwing around flame and chopping up vegetables rhythmically? (by the way, it must be a “he”, and he must speak broken English) Wait, why didn’t he do the bit where he flips shrimp into your mouth? All in all, it’s very Ugly-American to distill an entire cuisine into a necessary dinner theatre. What about the Japanese chefs who just want to cook?

Well, at any rate, maybe I should save this concern for the Japanese chefs. What do I know- maybe they all like the performance cooking. And if not, I’m sure there are some (probably expensive) Japanese places that don’t do the whole charade. And hey, the food was very good, even if I did get a stomachache afterward (hopefully just from eating too much)

Cuisine integrity concerns aside, we moved on to the jazz show. It was at the Bop Stop, near West 25th on Detroit. We estimated before we got there that we’d be at most 1/2 the age of everyone else there. We were wrong- more like 1/3. I mean, when we walked in, the average age dropped about 7 years- we were clearly the youngest folks there. (Except for the performers' kids, who showed up about halfway through) I would not be surprised if multiple other people, at some point during the night, looked over at us and said something to the effect of: “Ahh, youth. Remember those splendid aromatic nights during the postwar hedonism where we’d cavort among the fastidious streets of our hometown, displacing melancholy and ushering in freewheeling snappiness? Those triumphant young people, so nattily dressed and resplendently frolicsome, are assuredly enjoying the grapplingly fragile trappings of youth, post-haste.”

Or whatever it is that old people say, in their charming “I’ve been there” way, when they see young people having fun.

The jazz was pretty neat- I found myself actually appreciating it sometimes. The problem is, it’s such a barrage- there’s always the bassist doing one thing and the piano player doing another, and then the vibraphone or the guitar or the sax starts in and you don’t even know which way you’re going anymore. Ever been to a rock concert of a band you don’t know? It all sounds the same, right? It was a little like that. Cool though.

So about the age thing, uhh, there was a “champagne toast” included at midnight. We thought, there’s no way we’d get carded, right? I think the last time they carded anyone was 1972. And that was when one of the performers' four-year-old kids was hanging around and asked for some wine, and the waitress smiled and sweetly asked for his ID, and he looked confused, and all the adults around thought it was so cute. Uhh… so they asked us for ID when bringing out the champagne. And of course we just said we weren’t 21 (except Dan), and they brought only him a little bottle of champagne. It was ridiculous. The worst was Julie: she turns 21 on January 11 or something. I said she should have just given the waitress her ID:

Waitress: Do you all have ID?
(Dan and Julie hand her their driver’s licenses, Erik and I politely say we’re not 21)
Waitress: I’m sorry, ma’am.
Julie: (doesn’t say anything)
Waitress: You’re not 21 yet.
Julie: (stares at her, still silent. Makes no move to take her driver’s license back)
Waitress: …So, we can’t bring you any champagne. … even though your birthday’s in 11 days.
Julie and waitress: (awkward silence)
a few seconds pass
Erik and I: (join in the awkward silence)

I think time itself might have unraveled right there because it couldn’t take such an awkward silence. Sadly, none of us is gutsy or mean enough to do that. Point is, again, arbitrary barriers. The kind of kids who spend their New Year’s watching jazz are NOT the kind of kids you have to worry about!

However, we win 23595 cool points for spending our New Year’s watching jazz! I mean, how excellent is that? For being the youngest people there and not caring, for being able to joke about things such as this guy’s green suit (quoth Erik, “At what point in your life do you decide, ‘Now is the time to purchase a green suit’?"), for trying something different for this holiday, I propose, to us, a toast!

of Meier’s Sparkling White Grape Juice.


Courtk -

Oh, Dan, I love your blog so much. I’m glad you had a good New Year’s Eve - even with the whole carding thing. When we get back to school, we should have a board brunch that includes mimosas (is that how you spell it?). Happy 2006!

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