This is probably not the right time to talk about New Year's Eve, considering it was over 100 degrees three times last week. Oh, sure, we've all seen days when it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk--but how often do you see a chicken burst into flame before she even lays the egg?
But my point is that New Year's Eve 2000 is only a few months away, and I'm panicked.
I don't have anything lined up for the millennium.
I don't have $2,500 seats to see Barbra Streisand sing in Las Vegas. (Though now that I think about it, would it really be cost-effective to lay out that kind of cash so I can be sloshed in some tacky casino at the well-manicured feet of Her Herness when, God help us all, she begins crooning "People" at the stroke of midnight, and every yentl in the room starts blubbering and singing along? Wouldn't it be less painful to pay a sumo wrestler to jump up and down on my fleshy midsection until my pancreas popped out of my nose?)
I don't have a reservation for the five-day junket to Paris for a cool $16,000 per person that I read about in the Wall Street Journal, in which the highlight is table space at the Chateau de Versailles for "a re-creation of Louis XIV's 280-course extravaganza in 1668."
That's right, 280 courses. When Louis had some folks over for dinner, they had dinner, baby. (I'm trying to imagine what it was like to hang with Louis XIV--what that combination of absolute power and epicurean excess produces. I mean, let's say you're in the back of the room for the feast, and you miss courses 212 and 213 because the service is slow, and so you shout at your waiter, "What am I, chopped liver?" Well, if it pleases Louis XIV, you are! And shortly thereafter, you're course 214.)
I don't have a cabin on a cruise ship sailing to Fiji so it can be poised on the International Date Line when the new millennium begins, allowing its passengers to be among the very first to die when Y2K kicks in and causes the on-board computers to malfunction and the boat sinks without a trace, like Laraine Newman's career. The 15-day package, which goes for a mere $30,195 per person, begins with a gala in Los Angeles where you'll be serenaded by Tony Bennett, who apparently has the good sense not to get on the ship. He must have heard that the trade winds of Fiji are murder on toupees.
Woe is me. I waited too long for all of them.
I'll probably end up in Oneonta, N.Y., with Hillary!
Seriously, what's left for me?
Times Square with Dick Clark? Oh, like I want to be there with the guy who saw in the last millennium?
I called a travel agent the other day, and the best she could do for me was a three-night minimum at a Days Inn in South Dakota, $49 a night, a New Year's Eve buffet with dance music by the Harmonicats, a special millennium performance of "Les Miserables" starring that tall guy who used to play the neighbor on "The Jeffersons," and a promise that the hotel's night manager would put "Welcome Tony from Washington, D.C." on the sign outside.
I grabbed it.
You know what they say: You've never seen "Les Miz" until you've seen it in South Dakota.
Now my problem is making it to 12. I couldn't stay awake until midnight if I was being smeared with hot fudge by Nicole Kidman in a thong.
My typical New Year's Eve, I have a couple of glasses of cheap champagne and I'm asleep by 10:15. What do I need to see the ball drop for? I have faith in the ball. I tell my children: "Wake me if it falls off its hinges and crushes the Disney Store. Other than that, I'll see you next year."
This year, everybody's going off to exotic locales, like to the pyramids to "Party With the Pharaohs" (four nights; $3,950 per person, not including airfare, and what do they drop in Egypt to welcome in the new year, a mummified cat?).
But why spend my own money when I can spend yours? The federal government is going to throw a huge $10 million three-day bash right here in Washington, featuring parades, concerts, fireworks and a new 20-minute film by Steven Spielberg. (Stevie, bubeleh, that's not a movie, that's an infomercial. Schindler couldn't have written a shopping list in 20 minutes.) Speaking as a typical crack-smoking, welfare-cheating, gossip-mongering, intern-boinking resident of Washington, I want to thank taxpayers throughout the country for their generosity.
If I did spend my own money, I'd be tempted to attend the millennium party at the Hay-Adams Hotel (motto: "We Chose Hay-Adams because Hey, Abbott! was taken"). The Hay-Adams is offering a two-night package with gourmet meals, including a caviar breakfast on New Year's Day and a five-course dinner on New Year's Eve prepared by a French chef (five courses? Louis XIV couldn't even work up a decent belch on five courses); limited-release wines, such as a 1992 Dusinberre Reserve Cuvee champagne ("Impudent"--Wine & Hog Monthly) and a 1997 Paul Hobbs Sonoma Mountain chardonnay ("Oh, the oaky insouciance of that rascal!"--Billy Baldwin's Wine Hotline); limousine pickup; fresh flowers; and a monogrammed, engraved silver keepsake cork dated "31 Decembre 1999" for those of vous who are impressed by such things.
The highlight begins at 11:30 p.m. as you gather on the hotel's rooftop terrace to usher in the millennium with an unobstructed view of the fireworks. Then die of acute frostbite. All yours for only $3,000.
I'm wondering if I can get a discount if I offer to leave by 10:15 and sleep in my own bed.