New Year's Eve Guide 2010

Then I passed out. I fell off the toilet and awoke in a puddle of my own barf with my pants down. Hot Neighbor and my roommates were staring at me from the doorway. They had heard my retching and decided to check on me.

They finally decided that I might be dying.

It was 10 p.m. when they realized that everyone except me was too drunk to drive, so I had to semi-consciously drive myself to the E.R., with Hot Neighbor holding a bucket next to me in case I puked again.

The emergency room on New Year's Eve is always nightmarishly full. I was in triage behind a stabbing victim, two car-crash victims and a frat boy who needed to get his stomach pumped. I was last on the list.

I sat in the E.R. convinced that death was imminent. The clock struck midnight. "Sometimes I think of climbing in your window," I muttered deliriously to Hot Neighbor, who inched away from me and eventually took a cab home.

When the doctors finally saw me, they gave me an Ativan so I would shut up and, inexplicably, a Percocet for the headache. They surrounded me and prodded my leg.

No one knew what it was. Nurses, doctors, dermatologists and surgeons all passed through my curtained chamber as I cried, in spite of heavy sedation, "Am I dying? I'm dying!"

When they determined that I didn't have a brain tumor or a blood clot, they sent me home at 4 a.m. They told me to follow up at a clinic the next day.

I woke up on New Year's Day feeling like a goddess. Birds sang, the sun shined, death hadn't claimed me overnight: It was amazing. I trotted down to the urgent-care clinic.

A nurse took me to the back room. She examined my leg. She smiled.

"Honey, have you been wearing new jeans?" she asked.

"Uh, yeah, why?"

She pulled out an alcohol wipe and wiped my thigh. A streak cut through the huge purple patch. She began to scrub, and it all began to disappear.

"It's just blue dye. You're pale, so it made your skin look purple. We get this at least two times a week," she said. "The rest of your symptoms were probably just migraine-related."

The magical nurse reaffirmed that I was not dying. I skipped home.

My joy ended a few days later when I discovered that Hot Neighbor put bars on his window and blocked my calls. Goodbye, Dawson's Creek; hello, Fatal Attraction. — Kait McNamee


I woke up on New Year's Day 2002 at about 9:30 in the morning in Richmond, Virginia. I was pissed because it was cold, and no matter how I moved, I couldn't get comfortable enough to fall back asleep. I pulled my arms back into my jacket and rested my head between my knees and then realized: "Why the hell am I outside?"

With the help of the building I was sleeping against, I stood up and made my way across the parking lot to the twelve-foot wall surrounding it to look for a way out. My arms, legs and ribs were bruised, but I still had my glasses, wallet with $20 and Palm Pilot. (Yes, Palm Pilot. Shut up — it was 2002.) I traced the wall and climbed over the entrance gate at the abandoned security station, where I learned I was at the Ethyl Corporation, then walked thirteen blocks back to my car to take a fuzzy ride home.

After a grand nap and extensive telephone campaign, all I had to go on was "I don't know, dude, you disappeared."

The night before, I had been at a New Year's party, at a bar, with my best friend and his girlfriend. He was working, and I got his drink tickets. After a while, I went to another bar down the street and was never heard from again — sort of.

A day or so later, my best friend's girlfriend broke it down for me, because my friend apparently didn't have the heart to tell me what happened. I had returned to the first party, rather shitfaced, and tried to help out my friend, who was working. I was up in party-goers' faces, causing problems for my (sober) friend, who was already busy with his girlfriend. She was piss-drunk, too. He sat us down behind him, where we proceeded to make out with each other. Some time during all of this, another wasted young woman accused me of grabbing her boob, and I was ejected. My friend, being the best friend that he was, told the bouncer that was impossible because I had been with him all night, and brought me back in. I may never know how big of an a-hole I was, but my friend was rock-solid enough to peel me off his girlfriend and babysit me until the party was over.

He was loading up his stuff, and I was just in the way. My friend hailed a cab, put me in, gave the driver my address and enough for fare and tip, and sent me off for home. The cab driver came back to him ten minutes later and told him I had jumped out of the cab four blocks up.

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