An evening conversation: It’s been awhile…

By Stephen Cameron

Yes, I’m going to a party tonight – and thanks for asking.

Unless you’re going to be listening to the same band and crowding in for precious floor space, you probably don’t care where I’m going or why.

Fair enough.

But there is a reason to be discussing this. You see, I haven’t been out to a New Year’s Eve gathering in, well…

Actually, it’s been so long that I can’t even give you an exact year.

I do remember something about that night, however. I came WAY too close to being killed by a drunk driver.

It was only 6 pm, believe it or not.

I don’t know if this guy scored some mega-drugs or he’d been drinking shots since noon. No clue.

What I do know is that I came around a corner in a quiet residential neighborhood and realized there was a car zooming straight at me.

I mean, head on.

He was going 40 or 50 miles per hour, miraculously hadn’t run down any pedestrians (yet), but was going to make his first contact of the night with the front of my car.

Everything happened in a second, and I don’t know precisely how it all took place in so short a time, but somehow I swerved up onto a sidewalk – not to mention a small chunk of lawn – to avoid getting blasted.

My car bounced along briefly and I wrestled it back into the street. Then I stopped and lay my head on the steering wheel.

The drunk was long gone, and unbelievably, I don’t think he did any serious damage after our near miss. At least, there was nothing reported.

Needless to say, I was a little shaky by the time I reached the dinner party. In fact, I was too rattled to eat. The whole night was a downer, passing by in something of a blur.

It would be a slight exaggeration to say that I avoid going out on New Year’s Eve because of that one close call.

I’m also not comfy with huge crowds or situations that seem to feel like things might go out of control.

But the crazy driver does stick in my mind.

So for one reason or another, I’ve become a New Year’s Eve homebody. Usually, I’ll watch one of the TV celebrations, phone a couple of friends, that sort of thing.

I’ve actually fallen asleep before midnight on a few occasions.

Tonight I’m going to break the streak, in part because this whole gala involves a hotel room reservation – so no driving when the worst of the nut cases are likely to be out.

And heck, maybe it’s time to see what everybody else has been doing on Dec. 31 all these years.

It could be fun.

Or it could be my very last attempt to join the rest of humanity ringing in a new year.

Either way, I’ll get my picture taken in a funny hat as a souvenir.

Hopefully, we’ll meet back here in a couple of days. So how about if we ALL drive safely and avoid doing anything stupid?

Sound good?

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