Tuesday, December 30

Ring In 2009 Without Staying Up Late

A plaque in London's Trafalgar Square marks a point that for centuries was believed to be the absolute center of the civilised world. That London is a few miles upriver from "where time begins" at Greenwich (the "G" in GMT - Greenwich Mean Time) only reinforces this perception.

But what does this have to do with ringing in the new year?

Well, as far as this Brit-in-spirit is concerned, London still is the center of the civilised world. And having reached (as the French say) a "certain age", I can no longer find a good reason to forego sleep to watch a ball drop in Times Square, or go out to ring in the new year. That's only for amateurs and the fool-hardy. So I stay home. Off the streets. Out of harm's way. Safe.

But that doesn't mean I miss out on the merry-making. Quite the contrary.

At midnight in London, it's only 6 p.m. here in Heartland USA. Around 5:30 in the evening on New Year's Eve, I get out a champagne flute, pop the cork on a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider, set out a cheese ball and crackers, and log onto the internet where, thanks to live-stream webcams, I watch Trafalgar Square fill with revelers.

On another live-stream site in a separate window, I watch for fireworks to burst over the River Thames at the London Eye with the same anticipation and excitement as if I were actually there. The photo above is from last year's celebration at the Eye. At 12:00GMT, I toast the demise of the old year - good riddance! - and the hope a new year brings. Then I yell "Yippee!", finish off the cheese and crackers while watching the rest of the fireworks, and log off, secure in the knowledge that in the center of the world, the new year has officially begun.

Don't bother confusing me by pointing out that by the time I yell "Yippee!", 2009 will have already arrived in places east of London. This would require getting my head around the concept that no matter what time it is where I live, it's tomorrow in the Japan and Australia. Won't happen - I've tried.

And don't bother pointing out that Londoners (or savvy tourists) can experience the flipping of the calendar twice by standing on the far side of the time line at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich at 11:00 London time, then join the official celebrations in London to ring it in again an hour later. It's already on my list of Things-To-Do-Before-I-Die, thank you very much.

But no matter how you choose to celebrate (or not celebrate) the passing of 2008, here's wishing you and yours a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


beth said...

Yo, Jo! I'm with you. I see absolutely no point in going out and paying 5x what the (very inferior) drinks are worth, then risking life and limb to drive back home with a cop on every corner just to say Happy New Year to a bunch of drunken people that I wouldn't hang around with if I was sober. Thanks but no thanks. Besides, this way I get to see the new year in in my jammies and bunny slippers, not some hideously uncomfortable "dress" clothes and even more painful "nice" shoes. I'll probably be doing the same thing as you with the small addition of listening to my hubby snore - he has to work NY Day, poor baby. Nice blog!

Sher said...

As always Jamagenie, you have such an eloquence with words and discriptions of places that seem to come to life as one reads what you have written. Of course, I still hear that English accent that you say you don't have, with each word I read, and I still don't know why? One of those mysteries of nature I guess? Whatever time you do ring in the New Year, may it be a new year filled with much happiness, prosperity, and an abundance of life's blessings! "Happy New Year" my dear friend!!!!

pinkpackrat said...

and a Happy News Year to you too--whatever time zone your mind or body is celebrating in:-)

JamaGenie said...

beth, I'm guessing Hubby's snoring *didn't* drown out the fireworks neighbors set off in your neighborhood at midnight every year. :) Even tho I was sound asleep by 10:00, years of living one street over from Wisteria Lane made me wake up just before the annual Firing of The Cannon over there - at least that's what it sounds like. Was tempted to don my own bunny slippers and toddle out to the front balcony to watch the rather impressive aerial displays the same neighbor sets off after the "cannon".

Sher, thanks for the kudos! As for the English accent, it only appears when I write. Isn't that weird? My speaking voice is pure Midwest, not West Midlands.

pinkpackrat, another reason I chose an off-shore New Year's Eve this year is because 2009 won't *officially* begin in the U.S. until Jan 20, when Dubya flies away to Crawford. :)