Watching that commercial as a kid, or others like it, which suggested cheap mass-market alcohol was a portal to class and sophistication, I ached for the world it envisioned, a world in which feather-haired men in sweaters and blandly pretty blondes rang in the new year with clinking glasses. There would be toasts, and finger food, and a general air of--I imagined--adulthood.
Even though my parents were adults, and they certainly didn't do that sort of thing, I assumed they once had. They must have. It was part of the allure of being a grown-up. It seemed like silly behavior, but I felt certain that once I reached that point in my life, it would all make sense.
Evidently I got lost along the way. My twenties were marked by stays in mental wards, suicide attempts and whole years lost as I fumbled in a haze of depression. When I more or less turned my life around, I got married, and made a point of having the ceremony on New Year's Eve, because hey, surely that would lead to toasts and clinking glasses and the life once promised me by Andre champagne.
That didn't work out. In fact, one of the peculiarities of my life is that, despite being divorced, losing both parents, buying a house--despite the fact that I am nearly half a century old--I don't feel like an adult. I have a reasonable amount of life experience, but I'm still waiting for the big reveal, the moment when everything clicks into place and I realize I've arrived. Until then, it's always going to seem like champagne is being poured somewhere, but not for me.