Of two New Year’s Eves

 

The Cathedral of Guadalajara

 

First of all, I want to wish everybody out there a wonderful New Year.  I hope that 2014 is peaceful, happy, healthy, and hopeful for all of you; that your relationships with family, friends, and God are warm and satisfying; and that you have several moments of joy and light throughout the next twelve months.

 

My wife and I spent last night with about 25-30 of our neighbors, enjoying an excellent meal, playing a couple of games, and just plain talking with one another.

 

Although there are a couple of phrases I’d probably like to change a bit, I’ve always appreciated the basic sentiment of John Denver’s lyrics:

 

I’ve been lately thinking
About my life’s time
All the things I’ve done
And how it’s been
And I can’t help believing
In my own mind
I know I’m gonna hate to see it end

I’ve seen a lot of sunshine
Slept out in the rain
Spent a night or two all on my own
I’ve known my lady’s pleasures
Had myself some friends
And spent a night or two in my own home

And I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have a chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and pass the pipe around

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
And what about tomorrow
And what about our dreams
And all the memories we share

The days they pass so quickly now
Nights are seldom long
And time around me whispers when it’s cold
The changes somehow frighten me
Still I have to smile
It turns me on to think of growing old
For though my life’s been good to me
There’s still so much to do
So many things my mind has never known
I’d like to raise a family
I’d like to sail away
And dance across the mountains on the moon

I have to say it now
It’s been a good life all in all
It’s really fine
To have the chance to hang around
And lie there by the fire
And watch the evening tire
While all my friends and my old lady
Sit and watch the sun go down

And talk of poems and prayers and promises
And things that we believe in
How sweet it is to love someone
How right it is to care
How long it’s been since yesterday
What about tomorrow
What about our dreams
And all the memories we share

 

But I also found myself, last night, remembering quite a different New Year’s Eve, from many years ago.

 

In the middle of my senior year in high school, I went with an organized group of students (from my school and a couple of others) to Mexico.  On New Year’s Eve, we found ourselves at a very nice party at a hotel (not ours) in Guadalajara.

 

One of the girls in the group began guzzling vodka, which she had never tasted before, in very large quantities.  Our chaperone should have stopped her, but she herself was turning out to be something of a lush and she didn’t seem to notice or care.  So the rest of us kept telling the girl that she should lay off.  To no avail.

 

At just about precisely midnight, she told me that she wanted to dance.  (It was, if I recall, a slow one.  Which was fine with me; she was a very attractive Latina.)  And just exactly when they announced the New Year and we were supposed to stop dancing and make noise and so forth, she passed out.  Almost as if it were on cue.

 

I managed to catch her and, with the help of a friend, was able to get her back to our table and prop her up in her chair.

 

She soon came to her senses again.  Within a few minutes, though, now clearly thoroughly plastered, she announced that she wanted to go home.  We were still enjoying the party and didn’t want to leave, so we persuaded her to stay.  Or so we thought.

 

After about three minutes, she got up from her seat and headed off, unsteadily, to the lobby and front door of the hotel, where she planned to hail a taxi and go back to our own place.

 

Seeing no alternative — we weren’t going to permit her, three sheets to the wind, to go out alone into a foreign and unfamiliar city — my friend and I went after her.  We got her into a taxi, where she promptly fell asleep, and accompanied her back “home.”

 

She was still pretty much out of it until the elevator arrived at our floor.  She couldn’t stand up on her own.  So we began to drag her down the hall, one of us supporting her on each side, toward her room.

 

And then she began to scream for help.  Loudly.  Over and over again.

 

What struck me then and still strikes me now is that, although several people opened their doors and looked out, nobody said or did anything.  Here were two foreign guys dragging an attractive, drunk, and obviously unwilling young woman toward a hotel room, and nobody asked a question or interfered.

 

Anyway, we finally got her into her room.  We let go our grip of her, trying to put her on her bed.  But — terrified of us? — she bolted for the bathroom, locked the door . . .  and immediately fell asleep.  We didn’t see her again until the  next day.

 

For a nearly-seventeen-year-old on his first trip out of the United States, it was a New Year’s Eve to remember.

 

Last night’s was considerably more serene.

 

 

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  • Gregory Smith

    You realize someone from your fan club is going to talk about you assaulting drunk women abroad now, right?

    • DanielPeterson

      It’s as certain as the sun’s rising tomorrow. But far more tiresome.

  • Brock Lesnar

    Dan, that was an interesting story. I thought I knew where you were going with this story, and you were going to tell us you were recently reunited with her and that she was now LDS and had been happily sealed for all time and eternity. It had the potential to be a great teaching tool.

    I think you should post a part II, and tell us if she remembered the previous night, if you two maintained any type of relationship, what became of her after high school, if you have seen her at any of your high school reunions, did you two ever date, did this contribute to your aversion of nachos, etc.