What happened to banging pots and pans?

Can we extend New Year's Eve just a tad? Or maybe adjust midnight so it's about three hours later? I've got places to go, people to see, and not enough time to do it all before I get my midnight kiss and champagne toast.

When did New Year's Eve turn into the social event of the season? What happened to the days of propping my young eyelids open just so I would last until midnight? Then at the strike of 12, running outside in my pajamas to bang together Mom and Dad's pots and pans and scream "Happy New Year!" so loud I had to be reprimanded because some people might be sleeping?

Very few New Year's Eve pasts stand out in my mind, but my form of celebration has changed drastically. I remember the ever-elusive slumber party New Year's Eve: Me, Best Friend, and the Baby Sitter - boy, I bet she had a good time. We made it a point to make sure The Little Mermaid was the last movie we watched of the old year, and that Beauty and the Beast would be our first of the new year.

Of course there's the "pots and pans" year, which may have been recurring. That kitchenware had probably seen better days by the time we were done with it.

As I got older, the celebratory events of course took a turn. Not so much Disney movies anymore as it was seeing how many people could fit into one basement party, and deciding who to kiss at midnight. We partied like it was 1999 in 1999 because we thought at the strike of midnight Y2K would surely end the world. Clearly that didn't happen. But I did over-indulge in alcohol for the first time that night. (What? I didn't think being under-age would matter when the world ended.)

Last year was a happy-medium mix of good friends, good bar, midnight kiss and first fight of the New Year. I remember me, the (ex)Boyfriend, crying, yelling and throwing Christmas presents from my apartment's balcony. So, wait. Let's scratch that New Year's Eve out of the books. 2005 is about to end anyway.

And here I am tonight: T minus seven hours until 2006. There's work friends celebrating locally, a best friend hosting a party not-so-locally and a Boyfriend awaiting a kiss at midnight even farther away. (Or maybe I'm awaiting that. Regardless. It must be done.) I find myself juggling the very few hours I have left this year between all my favorite, reachable people. I have an itinerary. Who, please, has an itinerary on New Year's Eve? I need simplicity.

Did they all lose the memo I sent last week?
The Little Mermaid.
10 p.m.
My place.
Be there, or wait until 12:01 a.m. when we'll be watching Beauty and the Beast.
B.Y.O.P(ots and Pans).