It feels like the same year to Robert Rufa
We just celebrated the arrival of a new year and bid a fond farewell to the old one (or good riddance, if we didn’t remember it fondly). This is something we do without fail every year about this time. People do crazy things on New Year’s Eve — cram Times Square by the tens of thousands in sub-freezing weather to watch a ball drop, drink so much at a party that cost a fortune that they don’t remember the party the next morning.
Well, some people think bungee-jumping from the middle of the Verrazano Bridge is fun too, but not me. Not that I never partied in my day, but more often than not I’ve treated the transition from year old to year new as just another night of sleep. And you know what? Invariably the first morning of the new year feels exactly like the last morning of the old one.
For instance, think back to Dec. 31, 2014. Remember the weather? It was partly cloudy and the temperature was in the 40s. And remember what it was the next day, Jan. 1, 2015? Partly cloudy, with temps in the 40s. Not much difference, was there?
It’s true that you probably don’t go to work on New Year’s Day, but many people also don’t go to work on Sundays and other holidays. Or if you’re like me, you never go to work at all anymore, so not much difference. (Writing this column doesn’t count as work.)
Logically the new year should begin on the winter solstice, but I know they’d say that wouldn’t work because solstice never falls at exactly the same time each year — not that it would bother me. There are science-types out there who can explain why solstice doesn’t stay put, but I’m not one of them — and I don’t feel like looking it up. Although I might if wondering about it suddenly starts keeping me awake at night.
So midnight Dec. 31 was arbitrarily chosen to be the last day of the year — by a pope named Gregory XIII way back in the 1500s — and it stuck. He’s not the Gregory responsible for the chants we all know and love — the first Pope Gregory gets the credit for those — so if Gregory XIII was a party animal, he didn’t leave any musical clues.
Manufacturers of streamers, confetti, silly hats, lamp shades and champagne love New Year’s Eve parties, of course. So do the makers of Alka Seltzer and Tabasco sauce. Hotels and night clubs do a bang-up business on the last night of the year too. Cops probably aren’t crazy about New Year’s Eve, since many of them are on duty, on the lookout for pickled drivers. You have to wonder when those who protect and serve get to celebrate.
I don’t want to close without mentioning that in a few days I’ll be celebrating a birthday — just like I did last year. See what I mean? Same-old, same-old.