Tag Archives: clubbing

Another New Year’s Eve Story

I sat down with the intention of writing about the millenium which was 15 years ago. Funny that nobody seems to be talking or reminiscing about that much. It was hilarious. I just texted my buddy to remind him that exactly 15 years ago we were on the way home from a crazy little Y2K party at some weird guy’s cottage almost 4 hours from home. On the drive home, I do recall listening to Eminem’s first album for I think the first time. That was definitely unlike anything I’d ever heard before, but this isn’t about him.

The thing is, I’ve already half told that story in another post. I had to check before I wasted my time doing it again. I think I covered it pretty well here.


The above link is a post with a few abbreviated versions of stories from New Year’s Eves in the past. I can’t believe I didn’t tell this one though. I have a buddy (who is one of the main characters in this story) who makes me repeat this story ad nauseam. Writing it down will ensure that the next time I’m asked to tell it (and I am aware that it’s a better story told verbally than written, but 15 times or so is my limit), I can just pass on this link. You ready??? Here we go……

December 31st 2001. I can’t remember what was happening during the day that would have led up to this, but I was to spend my New Year’s Eve with my friends Jay & Dwight (yes those are their real names…..I usually protect the innocent, but Jay’s the one that keeps making me tell the story, and Dwight is always late, so they deserve it). Who am I at this point in time?? Working in retail management at a shitty store in a bad situation, driving a horrible vehicle, and living in my parent’s basement. This is mere months before my wife swooped in and straightened me out (somewhat). As I think back, this might have been the only New Years Eve where all 3 of us were single. In those situations it always seems like it will be better than it actually ends up being. I was at the point in my life where I accept no less than being at a Night Club on New Year’s Eve, and we had purchased tickets to go to Guvernment which capacity wise was probably the biggest club in the city at the time (and is apparently closing its doors soon…Oh the memories). We also had been invited to a condo party that night as well. Perfect. Since the club thing wouldn’t get good until about 11pm, we had time to go to the party first.

Logistics play a role in the first part of this story. Since not all of my readers are from Toronto, I’ll just use the 3 locations ‘west-end’, ‘downtown’, and ‘east-end’. As I describe this, it’s going to sound like one of those math problems you get in school where they describe the scenario, and you try to figure out how many cookies Johnny actually ate vs. what’s still left in the tin for Jenny. I am from the west end, Jay is from downtown, and Dwight is from the east-end which is probably 40 minutes from the west end, and 30 minutes from downtown (with traffic). The club is downtown, but the party is on the west-end. Dwight and I have cars, but Jay doesn’t. Jay has an apartment that I will sleep at, so I don’t have to drive home from the club, and Dwight has to work the next morning (New Year’s Day??? Sucky), so he will drive us to the club, leave early, and we can take a cab back to Jay’s, so no drinking and driving. It’s organized perfectly.

Dwight is always SUBSTANTIALLY LATE. For everything. Always. For dumb reasons sometimes too. On this night, he had to work until 6 or 8 or something. He works downtown. He can’t just bring a change of clothes with him to work. That would be too logical. He wants to go home to the east end to groom himself so he can drive us to the west-end, then back downtown, then back home to the east-end at the end of the night. That’s how he rolls. When I finally get in touch with him, he’s at home eating dinner. It’s probably after 8 by now. They are totally serving food at the party we’re going to, but Dwight is going to take his sweet time like he always does. So I call Jay and incorporate plan B. I’m going to pick up Jay and go to the party without Dwight. The way he wastes time, there’s no way he does all this east-end primping, comes to the party, and then still gets us to the club in time. The club is what matters. It’s where we will ring in the new year, and where we have shelled out money ahead of time to be.

Jay and I arrive at the party, have a drink or two and some dinner. I call Dwight for an update. He’s still in the east-end. It’s getting closer to 10pm now. We’re about to leave this party, and drive downtown to Jay’s apartment so I can drop off my car. I tell Dwight that under no circumstances should he try to attend this party because Jay and I are now leaving to go downtown, and he should head straight there to pick us up. We get to Jay’s place and go upstairs for a drink. It’s pushing 11. I call Dwight so see where he is. He tells me he’ll be there soon. I hear people in the background. I ask who the people are. He confesses that he is at the party. The party I just forbade him to go to. I had kittens.

Now for those that think I’m overreacting, please understand that you don’t mess with a man’s New Year’s plans. Timing is everything. The big celebration is at 12, and if you can’t get there before then….. I don’t know…..what’s the point? So now that I’ve screamed at Dwight, he’s on his way to come pick us up, but the clock is ticking quickly. There is a real chance that we won’t be there to toast in the new year. I’m sure the tickets to get in are like $50 each. That’s a lot of money to spend so you can bring the new year in with 2 dudes in a Volkswagen Golf. The guy’s giving me a lift. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but I can’t repeat any of the things I said to him in the car when he finally picked us up at about 11:35. We arrived at the club at about 11:52. We got in fairly quickly, rushing around because we knew we had 8 minutes to check our coats and get a drink in our hands.

We get to the coat check only to find out that it’s full. Yes. Full. The implications of that are that I will be carrying my coat around for the next several hours. Did I mention I was single? Did I mention it’s the dead of winter in Canada, and I don’t know how I’m getting home, so I have to bring the warmest winter coat I have? Did….I….mention…..that…. the coat….was……..WHITE???????????????????? Ok, I have to take partial blame for that. It was 2001 and puffy coats were everywhere, and where I worked, we sold them, and while most of the universe bought the black one……. I went with the white. I thought it looked hot, get over it. Now I have to either carry that big goddamn coat with me everywhere, or find a corner somewhere, dump it and hope for the best. At least nobody would confuse it for theirs.

What could I say to Dwight that I hadn’t already said? It was midnight, we had drinks in our hands. He just gave me that semi-remorseful smile, we toasted and moved on. I can’t stay mad at him. The alcohol was taking the edge off, and I started to have a good time. I don’t remember the rest of the night too well. Dwight left an hour or two later, but Jay and I got word that the place was going to be open until 6 am or some crazy goddamn thing. We decided that we should try to close the place. At some point we either got bored or ran out of money (probably the latter), and we left to head back to his place. There was a supply and demand problem with the cabs outside. I suggested that we should walk toward his place for a few minutes, and just flag one down. We were super hammered. We started walking, and in what seemed like 2 minutes we had arrived (but let me assure you, there’s no way that walk is less than 30 minutes, and it was way below freezing, just that we were too smashed to notice). Jay’s apartment was a pretty small one-bedroom unit. He didn’t even have a couch. There was a love-seat. Me being 6 feet tall didn’t fit too well on it, so I put the cushions on the floor thinking maybe I could lie on them with my legs hanging off the end or something. He didn’t have a carpet or rug or anything, and the wood floors were kind of slick, so the cushions kept sliding apart, causing my ass to fall in between them. Finally I gave up and just laid there on the hard floor with my head on my puffy white jacket which had a drink or two spilled on it for sure. I slept.

Woke up the next day. I would say morning, but I’m sure it was already afternoon. Felt MISERABLE!!! What a horrible start to 2002. I had the hangover to end all hangovers, and I couldn’t just take some Advil and try to nap. I wasn’t at home, and I was super uncomfortable. Jay wakes up cheerful as shit, and tries to get me to go have breakfast with him (at Fran’s!! Torontonians know what I’m talking about). I reluctantly agree, but there’s no way I ate anything. I needed to get home. I needed to get into my own bed. This day was a write off, and I had to be at work on January 2nd. There needed to be a New Year’s resolution regarding this too, but I didn’t know what. After breakfast Jay and I went our separate ways. Him to his apartment, and me to my car.

About the car……. So I’ve alluded a little bit to being broke and living pay cheque to pay cheque around this time. My car was a piece of shit. No different from its predecessor. This is kind of that rock bottom moment that makes the story funny, but also super depressing for me (although it’s over now, so I can laugh). My car was in bad need of repairs. The rad had a sizeable leak. For those that don’t know cars (like me), coolant is the thing that keeps your engine from over-heating. The Rad holds the coolant. When your rad has a leak, you need to get it fixed for your own safety, and probably the safety of others. There is a band-aid solution however, and I was all about band-aid solutions at this time. Until I could afford to fix my rad, I was REGULARLY putting a product called ‘Stop-Leak’ or ‘Gunk’ in my rad, and then adding a bunch of coolant before I went on the highway. This was to be a necessary step on January 1st, 2002 if I wanted to minimize the horribleness I already feeling in the form of the worst headache ever, and just a general dissatisfaction with the direction of my life as a whole (because it’s New Year’s Day and everyone takes inventory whether they want to or not).

I drove to a gas station near Jay’s apartment. Probably put $5 of gas in the car, or some crazy thing. Pulled the car off to the side, and went inside to purchase some stop-leak, and the smallest bottle of engine coolant I can get. I walk outside only to be met with the most unforgiving, howling goddamn sub-zero wind that’s making my face scrunch up, which is aggravating my headache. I lift the hood of the car up, and open the cap to my rad. I grab the stop-leak and read the instructions carefully. It says to shake the bottle before opening. I shake that thing like a sonofabitch, and puncture the seal, then SPLATTTTTTTT!!!!!! Doesn’t half the bottle of Stop Leak explode onto my fucking face, and what doesn’t land there ends up on my white puffy jacket next to whatever footprints and mixed drinks ended up on it from the night before. I’m a grown man saying this to you right now, but I never came so close to just breaking down and bawling my fucking eyes out than I did at that very moment. Instead, I slowly collected myself, put the remaining stop-leak into my rad, and opened (carefully) the bottle of engine coolant, and proceeded to pour it in as well. I closed the cap, and commenced my walk of shame which was much different from most of the other walks of shame that people were doing on January 1st. Mine was into the gas station to ask the attendant if he would be so kind as to give me a bit of paper towel to wipe the stop-leak from my face, and coat.

My car survived the ride home, and with a raging hangover, I was finally soooooo close to my pillow and mattress (which by the way are just a regular-ass pillow and mattress, but compared to what I slept on last night, they might as well have been a cloud). It’s like 5 pm by the way. I have no idea where the day went. I get inside and my mom asked where I’d been and told me it’s a good thing I was home because dinner’s almost ready. I told her that I wasn’t hungry and really needed to go to sleep. She got mad because she had prepared a nice New Year’s Day dinner. She also made it sound like our family having a new year’s day dinner was some time-honoured tradition like Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t remembering that from any other year of my life. We argued. I thought I would die if I didn’t sleep, so I negotiated a 30 minute nap. As I walked down the stairs to my room, all I heard was “YOU’RE SELFISH!!!!!!!” Awesome.

Clubbing Dynamics

Everybody thinks that the shit they did when they were growing up was better than the shit that the next generation did when they were growing up. Then they become completely appalled by the shit that the following generation does when they’re growing up. Then they just completely check out, and avoid thinking about what young people do, period.

In life, I am probably fast approaching (who am I kidding, I’ve been there for a while) the third sentence of that opening paragraph. It’s never more evident to me than when I make the mistake of going ‘clubbing’. Oh how I used to love to go clubbing!! This isn’t for everyone, but it was definitely for me. As a lover of friends, music, women and alcohol, (and not always in that order) a good nightclub had everything I needed for an amazing time. I wear these memories of crazy antics and shenanigans on my heart like a badge of honour. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Sadly, clubbing has (or should have) a shelf life with most people. For some it’s very short. For others, it’s about 5 years longer than it really should have been. As fun and wild as it can be if you’re in the ‘right place’ for it….. it can also be a bit sad and bitter if you’re not in a good place. I’ve done it both ways. My clubbing career (never got paid for it, just trying to turn it into a sports analogy……overexplaining again) lasted longer than it does for most people. By the end I’d like to think that I’d accomplished all that I needed to out on the dance floor, and outside of the occasional ‘comeback’ for a birthday party or something, I’m done. The truth is I’m a happily married father now, and regular clubbing is just way more fun when you’re single.

That said, I went out dancing on Saturday night for the first time in almost a year. The place that we went to was a fairly upscale lounge type of club. It might have been a touch swankier than I typically enjoy, but I was dressed for it, and didn’t feel out-of-place, so I guess it was alright in that regard. (I certainly don’t like it when it’s too casual either…. we’re clubbing for god’s sake, not cleaning out the garage). What I noticed (and it’s not the first time I’ve noticed it) is that the game has changed for the worse. Most of the nightclubs around here have bottle service, which I’m not so opposed to since there’s always been some form of VIP treatment for those that feel they need it (like a separate section of the club, or a separate lineup to get in), but it’s taken over the whole club now. It’s ridiculous.

For those that don’t know what bottle service is, I’ll explain. If you have any sense, you’ll laugh your ass off. Bottle service is a VIP service in a night club where you get something (usually a couch) to sit on, and you pre-pay (out the nose) for a bunch of bottles of alcohol to sit on a table in front of your couch, so you can mix and pour your own drinks, and sit down like it was somebody’s fucking living room. This is what we used to call pre-pounding, except we did it before we left on a better couch, with better music and we had better (or at least more variety) drinks for a fraction of the cost….THEN we went clubbing. (The better couch thing is debateable….it certainly had less ass germs on it from all of the random people). To make matters way worse, they set these tables up right beside the dance floor now. When they first started it was this separate VIP area, but I guess the people who NEED the VIP attention weren’t getting enough attention from the rest of the people because they were sectioned off. Now there’s barely anywhere to dance for all of these tables littering the perimeter of these clubs. You used to go to a club to go dancing!!! These idiots go to the club (and spend waaaay more $$) to sit on a fucking couch. Man up for god’s sake!! Last call is a mere 2.5 hours from when you arrive, and you’re telling me your precious feet can’t take the abuse???

Moving along, here is a top 5 list of the dumbest things I saw at the club the other night. Starting with 5, and building up to a ranty climax.

5. It was March 16th, so at midnight it was officially St. Patrick’s day. (I’m pretty sure) the club hired 2 midgets (I know, the politically correct thing to say is ‘little people’ right?? I’m all about being PC, but think of a better one, because ‘little people’ encompasses way more than just midgets) to dress up as leprechauns for photo opportunities. These guys hit the dance floor after too, and seemed to have a pretty good time. I’m happy for them especially if they got paid, but at what cost? I thought it was probably in bad taste, but what do I know? I called them midgets.

4. The DJ. What can I say?? The technology has made it so that they barely do anything up there. All digital. No vinyl to carry around. It’s a brand new day for these guys. His set could have totally been pre-programmed for all I know, and this guy spent half the night texting on his Blackberry. Dude, at least pretend you’re doing something up there.

3. The bouncer didn’t let me in until the other guy upstairs gave me an invisible stamp. Nobody checked my ID, or charged me cover so….. why the top-secret invisible stamp?? Watching too many spy movies?

2. Every time someone who had bottle service ordered another bottle, there was this big LED light attached to the top of it so everyone in the club could see that the coolest man in the world got another bottle of Grey Goose for his table. Wow man… I’m so jealous.

1. I’m sorry, I can’t drop this bottle service thing. I saw these 5 guys who had a table. They were young professionals. Probably more money than brains, but I didn’t have anything against them. They stood up the whole time, which is cool I guess if you’re moving to the music, but why pay for the couch then? I guess they took turns going to the bathroom. If they were single (which they seemed to be), perhaps they thought that girls would hang out near their table and maybe they could lure them in with their vodka bottles. It didn’t seem to happen. There were a whole bunch of girls there for a staggette, but these guys couldn’t leave their table and booze that they paid for, so I guess they were stuck flirting with whatever group of girls was nearby. They didn’t seem too successful luring with liquor, and I don’t think you’d meet any keepers that way anyways. They were definitely drunk enough to have a good time, but I don’t think it was all it was cracked up to be. The guys on the dance floor looked like they were having a blast though. There’s nothing quite like actually dancing at a dance club. I find that women notice you more as well. At least that hasn’t changed.

I hope this is just a phase or a trend, but I don’t really care. I’m not going back to that life. Maybe just for a visit once in a while. I’m sure there’s still a few places that do it right. If my son reads this when he’s older, I hope he takes from this that you can’t buy happiness. Also, if you always try to impress people with the money you spend, you will find yourself surrounded with people who are impressed by the money you spend, and then you better not run out of money. Learn to dance instead!

(Son, I meant for that to sound way deeper…..you know what I mean)