Made a trip down to New Orleans just for this? I'm sitting in a hotel room with my girlfriend and three other friends, Isaac, Rob, and Shawn. I am dead tired. We had, last night, driven all the way from Northern Illinois, near Rockford, since about 4am. We got in town about midnight, December 31st, 1999, checked into our price inflated hotel room in the French Quarter, and fell asleep, dead tired.

Now, though, I'm watching New Year's celebrations from all around the world. Right as I wake up, Moscow is celebrating. Peter Jennings is yammering on and on and on about peace and love and in a few hours, it'll hit New York. We stay in the hotel room long enough, we watch a Parade. The past year is identified as a dead man, who's funeral procession passes right in front of our window. People lean against our window. I'm setting up the laptop that I happen to own so that it can connect to my friends AOL account at the local phone number. I check my e-mail over the 14.4 modem, telnet access, trying desperately to avoid surfing the web over such a line. I e-mail my parents, and my girlfriend's parents, and tell them we are here, in our hotel-room, and now that Moscow's midnight has passed, and the world hasn't blown up, I'm able to slightly relax.

I am thinking about the 4x pay I would be recieving right now if I were at work, making sure that the Y2K bug wouldn't destroy anything.

We leave for dinner after watching Paris celebrate the New Year. The Eiffel Tower fireworks looked neat. We stop at this little joint next to Twin Sisters restaurant, I eat red beans and rice, and a Pepsi, no ice. It is not bad, but it ain't good, either.

We leave the joint, and outside, we hear alternating chants of football teams. I don't know exactly who. Appearantly, the Sugar Bowl is in New Orleans in a few days.

The feeling of inevitability is approaching. And, to be honest, I am a trifle worried about things. I am expecting disaster, I am hoping for it, secretly, hoping that I will not have to actually deal with real life. The world will end, I'll miraculously escape injury, and be a chosen one to start a new civilization.

That doesn't happen.

As the night goes on, I notice it is getting rowdier. As we walk down Bourbon Street, someone throws a string of purple beads down. They hit my face, stinging, fall to the ground. My girlfriend picks them up, puts them over my head, doesn't notice the red mark under my beard. I kiss her.

The night is progressing quickly. I've seen more bare breasts tonight than I've seen in all the porn I've ever seen. The depravity is slightly depressing. I hear a lot of men yelling "Show Us Your Tits," and women oblige. I have a digital camera. My friend has a video camera. He's intent on capturing beauty on film. I don't know what I'm intent on. Luck? Prestige? "Oh, look, here's a picture of the boobs of the green haired girl I saw on New Years." I don't understand my own actions. My girlfriend glares each time I catch a blurry picture on my camera. I don't even bother to aim, really. The camera doesn't even come close to my face.

Midnight is getting closer. New York, Washington DC, etc. had already celebrated. I make my way with my girlfriend towards the Mississippi River, and above us, the Ball is above an old brewery converted into a mall. We're on the Mississippi for New Years, 2000. We are there, but everyone's watches around us read different times. There is no countdown. The ball drops. I am kissing my girlfriend, and now it is . . .