Observing life: My stress-free new year in front of the TV

Writing my Observing Life column for this month has represented a strange quandary for me in many ways. The simple fact is, I haven’t observed much. I don’t know if it’s a sign of getting older but I spent my first New Year’s Eve-ever at home, watching films, with a healthy supply of snacks by […]

Writing my Observing Life column for this month has represented a strange quandary for me in many ways. The simple fact is, I haven’t observed much.

I don’t know if it’s a sign of getting older but I spent my first New Year’s Eve-ever at home, watching films, with a healthy supply of snacks by my side. I thought about ordering a takeaway, but this year even that seemed a bit too flashy.

For most of the past six years, I’ve headed to Downtown Dubai, mostly to parties in friends’ houses – in the days when friends could afford a flat overlooking the Burj Khalifa, from which we could point and coo at the fireworks.

Those days have gone. Either the affordable rent in Downtown Dubai has gone, or my friends have moved on, swallowed up by the expat churn that is a simple fact of life.

I suspect it is a combination of the two. Of the friends in those flats, at least two now live in what is basically a tent near Liwa, that being the only affordable space they could rent once a child came along. It’s a spacious tent, but the view of the fireworks is terrible, so I politely declined their invitation this year as my night vision for driving in the desert is not what it once was.

My last trip to ring in the New Year in the Downtown area was in 2013/14. It was nice when we finally got there. Unfortunately, with a young child of our own to settle in bed with his grandmother before we could leave, by the time we got out and on the Metro, we were turfed out at Business Bay, leading to a situation where we had no idea where we were, which direction to head and, of course, facing the perennial complication of “partner in heels standing in the middle of a building site”.

We arrived dead on midnight, covered in sand, stressed out, and on our first argument of the night, before the night had really started.

Last year, we stayed closer to home – Dubai Marina – and tried out the 70s gala at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.

The best thing I can say about that evening was that we made the tactical move of going to get a taxi, just as the remaining Jacksons launched into an overly-sentimental celebration of their late brother. The crowd was loving it, and so we had no competition for the taxis.

This year, I was working until 7pm, so there was no way I was chancing the “getting to Downtown” lottery. I could have gone to check out David Guetta, a personal ‘favourite’, in Media City but instead, my partying status degenerated a stage further. I concluded the movie channel and the contents of my fridge were better options than extortionately-priced burgers while watching the fireworks. Preferable even to Guetta.

And you know what? I don’t regret it in the slightest. It was possibly the most stress-free New Year’s Eve I can remember. And Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal definitely stands up to a third viewing.

This could be a suggestion that I am already in line for the stereotypical old person’s pipe and slippers for Christmas next year, to fully prepare for a New Year’s Eve of very little activity.

I might even book the day off work so I can just roll around in bed feeling superior to the scuttling ants attempting to catch a glimpse of their favourite fireworks display or pay a small fortune for the privilege of being allowed into a club.

Then again, I’m quite unpredictable, so you might well see me fighting for a ticket for David Guetta as midnight rolls around in 350 days or so.

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Source: art & life

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