They tied a balloon on my back, gave me a pep talk, and sent me out into the trenches. The things I saw- the transformations, the tears, the fallen. Things that make me never want to drink again (almost). I watched them arrive, joyous party revelers who politely asked me where coat check was and wished me a happy New Year. Mere hours later they were unrecognizable, transformed into slurring monsters who approached me with slow jerking movements. I was helpless against their screams of rage about bathroom lines, their hands gesturing in anger, sloshing drinks all over dresses- their’s and mine.
All I wanted was to run away. To flee the scene of butt cheeks mere centameters from hem lines, of make-up so distorted by sweat it would have scared trick-or-treaters, of reeky breath hissed into my face- “How come you’re so gorgeous?” That’s easy! Because I’m the only person around who’s not shtfaced! When the man in the suit arrived at 12:45AM and signaled my release, I made a bee-line towards the nearest exit, thankful I had paid attention to the “in the event of an emergency evacuation” briefing. But before that signal came, I was stuck. This is what it was like working on New Year’s Eve. A sober anomaly, I spent the night answering the occasional question, but mostly silently observing (and judging) the metamorphosis from classy event to sloppy shtshow.
And so my first post of 2013 begins with the satire, wit, and flare for drama you’ve come to expect (or at least hope for) from New York Cliché.
Ok, fine, my night really wasn’t that bad. It sure could have been a lot worse. The clock struck midnight and I cheered and high-fived the whole EMS team. We stood in the deserted hallway for the first moments of 2013 relishing the quiet. The calm before the storm. While I was almost done, their night was just beginning. My heart went out to them and I said a silent prayer that no vomit would touch their beings so early into the new year.
My night began at 5pm when I arrived at the hotel sweaty and red faced. Of course I’d been running late- whenever I book a job largely based on my head shot I spend about 15 extra minutes making sure I look like that headshot. I ran almost the entire way to the hotel, which thankfully is all down hill from my parents’ apartment, in less than 15 minutes. This was completely unnecessary as we sat around for almost an hour doing nothing. Then we toured the event space. It was huge.
The rooms were each given a theme for part of the world: “Asia”, “South America”, “Australia”, “Europe”, “USA”, “North Pole”. “This is awkward,” I whispered to one of the other girls, “What about Africa? That’s kinda like, the big missing elephant of the rooms, no?” “Yeah!” She replied, “And the rest of North America? I hope none of the guests are from Canada or Mexico!”
Once we were familiar with the space, we had nothing to do until 8PM except eat sandwiches they provided. It was like stocking up at the supermarket before a hurricane hits. An hour before guests arrived they gave us pageant-like sashes to drape over our shoulders reading “ASK ME”. This was then topped with a star shaped balloon that read “ASK ME Official Party Tour Guide 2013” I laughed- it was way too much for even a sober person to read off a balloon.
We all looked pretty silly with our felt sashes and balloons. They’d never have use wear this junk in New York, I thought. That was kind of my catch phrase through the night (no doubt to the annoyance of my co-workers). My other comparisons:
1. They had a fashion show during the party: none of the clothes and hardly any of the models were up to New York standards.
- The traffic flow of the event was horrendous and no one really said anything- in NYC we all would have complained about that the first year the party was thrown and someone would have been hired to fix it.
- It was an open bar but they didn’t serve ANY food: never would happen in Manhattan.
- By 12:15 one in ten girls had taken off her high heels and was walking around barefoot- in NY it might have been on in fifty, we’re clearly more accustomed to wearing heels.
- They paid us in cash at the end of the night. In NYC I fill out independent contractor forms and wait 6 weeks to see a check.
So that was my New Year’s! Judging wasted party goers, comparing New York and San Francisco event scenes, standing beneath my balloon in my station between “Australia” and the bathrooms. All night women asked me where coat check was and men hit on me. Want to start the year feeling superior and like everyone wants you (even when you’re snarky to them)? Work a New Year’s Eve party in San Francisco.