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Midnight Madness

Saddam Hussein may have been found, but this week an even bigger search is on for an even more elusive quarry.

Every year millions of us set out into the cold dark night desperately seeking fun. For most of us the approach of New Year hails the grateful end of another twelve months of mere survival, but there is something about the human condition that forces us all out onto the streets, smiles fixed like bayonets and wallets loaded with cash. Fun is not only allowed – it's compulsory.

And therein lies the problem.

Covered in Christmas cheer, clutching hard on to the remains of our optimism we totter high heeled and bare legged from crowded club to packed restaurant. Couples, of course, forgo this exquisite torture, preferring a blanket of smugness to keep them warm.

Everyone out is single. Hunting in packs for that last ditch romantic hook up before another year sighs its last. With make-up slipping and beer goggles firmly fixed, we desperately scan every stranger's face for a glimmer of hope or the faintest flicker of a smile. As the clock ticks towards the 'the moment' we place ourselves in the vicinity of someone considered worthy and begin the countdown. At the strike of midnight we cheer, laugh and grab the complete unknown person at our side for a full face pucker-up.

Then it's over.

A year in the planning, a serious amount of cash in the achieving and the only thing we have to welcome in the New Year is the desperate scramble for a ride home, a hangover and the sweet memory of kissing someone we wouldn't normally even look at.

Fun. Why is it that everyone else has it? New York's Times Square at midnight with its famous ball and over-whelming joy, London's Trafalgar Square with its laughing revellers and abounding happiness.

What is so good about it? I guess we should be pleased that the dark time is passing – that our economies are flourishing and any guilt associated with having a good time has lifted.

But I say be miserable and proud – us New Year Grinches must stick together – not literally obviously, otherwise we might just start enjoying ourselves and we wouldn't want that – would we?

By Petrie Hosken