January 1, 2000, 12 midnight, is a no-brainer to be one of those "snapshot moments" when everybody alive and aware at the time knows for sure where they were, whom they were with and what they were doing.
It may not be the true millennium (yes I know I'm very anal-retentive about that, I'll try to calm down) but it's the changing of the digits, and not just the decade or even the century digit, but the FIRST one you write. No time to figure it out while writing "19..", you have to be on your toes right from the start.
If it had been completely up to me, I would have chosen to stay home. Really home, not just staying in the motel room in Florida. I'd have wanted to be with the family and/or online at the computer. I was somewhat concerned, not about Y2K technological issues, but about the legions of bomb-happy crazies out there.
Since we were in Florida, that option wasn't open. Still, if it had been up to me in Florida, we (and the friends we were with) would have opened a bottle of whatever and sat in front of the TV. (Dad and Step-Mom attended a Condo party where they were staying, so they were well looked after and safe.)
Sometimes it's really best when things aren't left up to me.
We were a group of seven for that evening (two couples and three teenage boys) and we had all known each other a very comfortable number of years. Even though they had a van that would fit all of us, we decided to venture out only on foot, since we were just two blocks away from Route A1A, the tourist beach strip in Fort Lauderdale.
The weather was absolutely perfect. I was comfortable with a shirt and light sweater, barefoot in sandals. We had no restaurant reservations so we just walked south to see what we'd find. Most places had an expensive set dinner, but we found a small Italian place that offered its regular menu. It would have been a little pricey for a casual night out, but for New Years Eve 1999, it was ideal. And delicious.
By about 10 PM we were back out on the street, still heading south. We had intended to go to an open party at an indoor mall (for those of you familiar with the area, right near Hooters, I forget the name of the mall though) but that didn't work out.. the music was loud and oppressive and the majority of the group opted out of there immediately. Two of the kids stayed for awhile while the rest of us happily rested on the concrete barrier between the sidewalk and the beach sand.
The streets were filling up, but it wasn't scary at all. It helped that there were police on every corner (no exaggeration!) They were obviously on duty but also smiling and loose.. as long as there was no trouble. Cars did not have the right of way, and the street was finally closed to traffic around 11:30. The people, of course, were the best part. ALL ages, from babies in strollers and little kids playing in the sand in the dark, to senior escapees from their apartments. Many had funny hats, and carried large bottles. There was a wide selection of what Hubby called "working girls" including some that we were sure were not born female. Before the street was closed, huge stretch limos snaked through, and strong young men offered rickshaw rides.
It was the closest to a 60's feeling that I've experienced in some time and I was totally relaxed and content.
Gradually we made it to the corner of Las Olas Boulevard where there was a small lit-up ball waiting to be lowered on the roof of an office building. (No skyscrapers here - the building was only about four stories high.) There were fireworks but they had to be amateur.. mostly zooming rockets with lots of noise and little sparkle. Still, I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.
Midnight came, the ball fell, we cheered and kissed and looked around to remember the moment, we watched our fellow revellers for awhile and then began the long walk back to the motel.
Even though the evening wasn't really perfect (Older Son had an attack of paranoia and was sure we were to be bombed.. and of course my feet were a bit sore, which I didn't even realize till I got back) I remember it as such and that's what's important, and that's what I'll tell my grandchildren when they ask. (They WILL ask, won't they????)
Linque Du Jour:
Discovered earlier today:
Um no I'm not putting this off, that's the name of the journal.
It's written by a 51 year old American husband, father, and college English teacher. It's articulate, intelligent, funny, and moving, and that was just the bio page! Swoooooooooon.