“We get to stay up until midnight?” Yasmine said with awe, as they’d never been permitted, or physically capable, of staying up this late in all of their five years. Although their desire to stay up past this hallowed hour battled with their irrational fear that inanimate objects came to life in the deep hours of the night.
“All the kids will be staying up to watch the ball drop at midnight.” Although I harbored doubt the twins would actually make it. They tended to wake prior to the crack of dawn and any consent to stay up late was initially met with enthusiasm, then exhaustion, leading to imminent collapse long before the extended bedtime.
“What are they looking at?” Laken pointed at the ‘Rockin’ New Years Eve’ program on television and the crowds in Times Square
“They’re waiting for the ball to drop.”
Yasmine’s eyes bulged as she turned to the screen as the clock counted down. “But they’re… they’re just standing there?”
“Some people have been waiting there all day.” In fact a friend who’d once attended admitted she’d donned an adult diaper due to the inability to leave to tend to such necessities once the festivities began at Times Square. I remained content to watch it within the comforts of heat and indoor plumbing. I didn’t share this tidbit with the twins for it would certainly lead to incessant questions about adult incontinence products.
The girls exchanged a look and slid closer to the screen, eyes fixed on the ball.
A clamor of noise indicated 2006 had arrived.
Silver hats, obnoxious horns and noisemakers tempted the other children to abandon their spot on the carpet to obtain them. But these trinkets were unsuccessful in luring my twins away from the television. Quite the surprise, since anything shiny or with the capability to make an insufferable noise was generally found irresistible.
“When’s it going to drop?” They asked, looking eerily like the ‘Poltergeist girl’ as they sat mesmerized.
Yasmine pointed at the screen. “No, look! It’s still on the pole. It didn’t drop.”
“Oh, well it doesn’t actually drop; it slides down the pole to the bottom.”
“That’s it? It doesn’t fall off?”
I nodded. Apparently they’d been waiting to see the ball hurl off of the pole to drop onto the people waiting below like a boulder breaking free. Hence their morbid fascination that a crowd would gather in order to start the New Year waiting to be annihilated or maimed by a giant ball had provided them with the stamina to stay up until midnight for the first time in their life.
The fact that the permission to participate in the adults gruesome ritual of reducing a willing population with a giant ball had not panned out as they’d anticipated and that their toys were not waiting to converse upon return home…certainly took some of the luster out of the desire to stay awake into the midnight hours.