New Year's Eve Guide 2010

When you have a hard drinking night and you totally black out, you typically have a shadow or two of memories from the night before. Not in this case. Not even after people who I saw told me about some of the things that I forgot did I have a single recollection. — Rick Ramos

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I had been living in small-town Colorado for a decade and was really looking forward to a night out in New York. My dear friend Debbie, also a native New Yorker, was lined up as my partner in crime for the evening and had a roster of parties for us to visit. I spent the afternoon shopping for new clothes and had a quick snack before heading out for a run through Central Park.

While I was running, I started feeling strange. My eyes began to water and I sneezed. Then I sneezed again, and soon I was in a sneezing fit that wouldn't stop. My eyes and face began to swell, and I broke out in hives. By the time I got back to my mother's apartment, I was in full-fledged anaphylactic shock. Later, I would realize that the energy bar I ate to power my run contained almonds and hazelnuts. I've been allergic to nuts all my life but had never had such a severe reaction. My entire body was covered in hives, and my eyes were swollen nearly shut.

I peeked in the mirror. I looked like the Incredible Hulk on acid. It was an impossible situation, and I could barely speak since my throat was so swollen. In between mad scratching fits, I called Debbie and, through my tears, explained that I had to stay home for the night.

So, there I was, curled up on the couch, drugged up on massive doses of Benadryl and trying not to crawl out of my skin. I watched the ball drop on TV and walked out onto the ninth-floor balcony to watch drunken revelers celebrate below. Clad only in pajamas and slippers with a blanket around my shoulders, I discovered that not only was it freezing, but the drizzle from earlier had become a downpour. As I reached for the blanket to better cover me, I momentarily lost hold of the glass balcony door and watched...It...Slowly...Close...And...Lock...Behind...Me. No way. No fucking way.

I was trapped on a tiny balcony in the rain, scantily clad, with a face like the elephant man, at 12:30 a.m. on New Year's in Manhattan. The city was electric and far too loud for anyone to hear me yell for help. And what was I going to say, anyway? HEY! UP HERE! NO, I DON'T USUALLY LOOK LIKE THIS. IT'S OKAY, I SWEAR! GET A TALL LADDER!

There was only one option: With the feeble strength I could muster in my weakened state, I threw the only piece of furniture I had at my disposal through the glass doors. The chair broke, and shattered glass rained on the balcony and into the living room, giving the inclement weather open access to my mother's formerly beautiful furniture.

That's when I knew I was having the worst New Year's Eve in history. Lisa Dale

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