Serving the High Plains

New Year's Eve a lousy time for a party

If we were to randomly pick a time, date and place to throw a party, I doubt many people would choose midnight on Jan. 1 outdoors.

It’s way too cold. Our forecast often calls for below-freezing temperatures, though we’re usually better off than in other areas of the country.

The weather forecasts for celebrating on the East Coast often see freezing rain or snow as midnight approaches on Jan. 1.

And sometimes it’s worse. It was minus 24 degrees a few weeks ago in my original hometown of Denver.

You just never know this time of year.

Then there’s the timing. Research published last year in the European Heart Journal found that those who fall asleep after midnight had a 25% higher risk of heart disease. The late sleep disrupts the body’s internal clock and places greater stress on our cardiovascular system.

That’s not to mention the more immediate dangers of driving home in the dark at 2 a.m. on icy roads after a few drinks.

And, all of this comes exactly one week after our biggest holiday of the year. We just got done feasting and imbibing. Folks are still cleaning up the mess left from the holiday parties. Do we really need another party now?

I blame the Sumerians. Sure, tracking the cycles of the moon to develop a 12-month calendar during the Bronze Age was a marvel of forward thinking that provided the template for the more precise calendars that would follow. But why did they need to start the year during the coldest month?

There once was a time when I worked the night shift and enjoyed winter sports. Back then, I considered New Year’s Eve to be amateur hour, and resented the fact that there were so many other people on the streets at 2 a.m.

These days, I know the new year has arrived when neighbors down the street set off fireworks about two hours into my sleep. My celebration consists of rolling over.

I don’t feel like I’m missing much. Dick Clark used to have the best concert of the year on New Year’s Eve. The most interesting thing that happened last year was Andy Cohen going on a drunken rant against New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. This year, de Blasio is out of office and Cohen’s boss told him he needed to stay sober. I’m not sure what entertainment value there is to the comedy duo of Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen if they aren’t getting ripped.

I think we expect too much from New Years. The narrative is always the same: This year stunk; sure hope next year is better. Then the sun rises on a new day and it looks just like the last.

Walt Rubel is the former opinion page editor of the Las Cruces Sun-News. He lives in Las Cruces, and can be reached at:

[email protected]

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