New Year’s and The Plan…

This entry is going to be in two parts. The first will be a bit of a rant. I’m not angry when I write this. I’m amused. While it may sound entirely negative, don’t think that I’m mad at these guys. They are some of the closest friends that I have, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. (And I’m not just saying this because they might read it.)
Ten years ago, I was an avid planner. There were very few, if any, spontaneous events in my life. This could be entirely because I am a creature of habit and routine, but I’ve always viewed spontaneity as an inconvenience, especially when there is a crowd involved. Anyways, over the past five or six years, I’ve been hanging out with a group that does not really make plans very well, and plans that are made are often changed without notice to the rest of the people involved. It’s led me away from making any plans with them.
This year, though, I commited to going to the Flying Saucer for New Year’s with them, so we (Fisherman and I) decided to reserve two tables.. Team Richardson (not part of the anti-plan group) thought it would be cool to hang out with me as well, so I called Fisherman and upped the table count to three, thinking I would sit with Team Richardson and bounce between tables. Each table was said to hold six to eight people, but my friends and I are not small, so we set the number at six. This meant the Anti-Plan Group had 12 seats, and Team Richardson group had six.
(I’ve introduced a new cast member to my Play of Life. Fisherman has been mentioned a few times previously by his actual name, but I figured he should get a cool nickname too. I’m going to introduce a slew of new folks here, and reserve the right to change their nicknames in the future.)
The guest list was an absolute nightmare. Two weeks before, we had a slew full of “maybes” iin non-commital. Commited guests were myself, Team Richardson, two friends of Team Richardson, Team Fisherman, Team Gamer, Stompa, Tanker, and Ninja. That comes to 12 people, five at one table and seven at the other two. We had about five maybes.
With one week until New Year’s Eve, the list changed. The maybes all turned to negatives. (I say that very loosely. Getting a straight “No” out of these people is like getting an answer other than “Nothing” when you ask a woman what’s wrong.) So we had twelve people confirmed. We decided to compress to two tables and drop the third. One week is plenty f time to straighten out whether you have plans or not, right?
WRONG! Thursday I’m at lunch, and I bump into a friend of mine. He tells me he’ll see me at The Saucer. Apparently he was invited by Team Gamer. Pkay… Thirteen people. We can probably squeeze if they’ll allow us to steal chairs from other tables.
Saturday, T Minus Ten Hours and counting, I’m told that Tanker is bringing his parents as well. Luckily, I’m also told that Fisherman did not cancel the third table. Fifteen people. Three tables. All is not lost.
Saturday afternoon, I discover that yet another person had been invited along. Now bear in mind these invites are not coming through myself or Fisherman, who have, up until now, been the keepers of the guest list. Sixteen people. I think we can handle still this.
I ride to the Saucer around nine o’clock with Team Fisherman. We arrive and find not one, but two, previously unmentioned guests sitting at the table with us. And we also discover not eighteen, but fifteen chairs, and no permission to steal chairs from other tables.
At this point, I’m about to flip out. Not because the plan had been changed at the last minute, I know well enough to expect this after five years, but because I had invited four people (Team Richardson and their two friends) along and we weren’t going to have enough chairs for them if they arrived after everyone else.
So ends the ranting part.
Luckily, the plan was changed all around, and a couple of people who had commited to coming didn’t show. It ended up that only one person was forced to stand up for the night, which wasn’t a big deal because most of us were standing up to watch the band.
88 Rewind puts on a great show. They do nothing but covers of songs from the 70s and 80s, and it packs the Saucer anytime they play. By the they went on, I was already sporting a major buzz after some serious drinking and dart-throwing, so it didn’t take much more liquor to get my ass a-shaking. That’s right, Stuckey danced. (No matter how much rhythm a large guy has, he will always look oafish when he dances. I have come to accept this, and decided that I don’t give a damn what other people think.)
Midnight came. The ball dropped, the champagne vanished, the kisses were distributed. Apparently, I got a cheek-kiss from some random chick that I don’t remember too clearly, but XY sent me a picture of it. (Maybe I’ll send it to my mom and tell her I’ve found my future wife so she’ll stop asking.)
Tanker had a major drunk going on. Someone on the dancefloor set an empty highball glass next to him so the waitress could pick it up, and Tanker tossed it into the ceiling fan. That bought him an all-expense paid escort to the outside of the building, courtesy of security. No one got hurt, so I’m going to say it was damn funny. However, it was getting late, and we were all starting to wind down, so we began to settle our tabs.
My total bill was under a hundred dollars, which was better then last year. I was able to walk without stumbling and I remember all of the evening. As I’m handing our waitress my signed copy of the receipt, she says she has one tab left unpaid, and no credit card with it. I ask who it’s for, and discover that it belongs to one of the last-minute invites who left about two hours earlier. Since our waitress was an absolute sweetie, and maybe because she gave me a cheek-kiss as well earlier in the night, I told her to add it to my card. No need for her to pay $50 (yes, $50) out of her pocket just because someone jumped the bill.
After everything was said and done, I have to admit that I had an absolute blast. Everyone else looked like they were having fun as well, so it all worked out in the end. I’ll be heading to the Saucer again next year, but I don’t think I’m going to be involved on the Planning Committee at all next time around.

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