Friday 5: Obligatory

From here.

  1. In 2021, who made you laugh?
    Real laughter of the interpersonal communication sort was extremely difficult to come by in 2021, especially in the first ten months, before we were called back to the office and I had some kind of in-person human interaction on the reg. I have a couple of coworkers who frequently crack me up, including the woman whose cube is right behind mine. She’s from another country and also a lover of old films — she’s the only friend I can think of who also subscribes to the Criterion Channel — and we have similar fatalistic senses of humor. Most of my laughter this year came from podcasts, though, and the best for that was the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Irreverent takes on sports and culture. Stupid and clever at the same time.
  2. What was a pleasant surprise?
    I don’t know how pleasant it was, but shortly after my second shot, I found myself in a lot of neighborhood bars. I kind of hate bars, but one thing I missed most during the lockdown (as I have written in this space multiple times) was hanging out in cafes and boba joints. Just somewhere to be, surrounded by people who didn’t know me and wouldn’t talk to me. The cafes here still aren’t open at night, so bars it was, and I rather enjoyed it, although I think I dropped too much money per visit. Once I can find a way to have a few drinks and maybe a bite without spending the equivalent of five lattes each time I go, I think I can make it a more regular thing. Of course, this is all off the list now until numbers begin to go back down.
  3. How have you grown?
    I’m pleased to find myself getting better at my work. I was rather unhappy with myself at work for most of the lockdown, but I’m finding better ways to handle the flow, and I’m finding myself more pleased with my time management.
  4. What do you forgive yourself for?
    I’m forgiving myself for not stressing about my body during the lockdown. I made good efforts to walk and to get in the ocean, but those were mostly for mental health; physical health benefits were secondary. Or sometimes physical health benefits were an excuse to make unwise decisions about what I put into my body. I’ve been seeing a doctor lately about correcting some of these actions.
  5. If you were to get a tattoo to represent the year, what would it be and where would you put it?
    The most depressing theme of these past two years has been a sense of lost time, like there is this hole in the timeline of my life where there should have been stuff. I started a local silent book club whose inaugural meetup in February 2020 turned out to be our last. The podcast I planned to launch depended on meeting people in public spaces, so that never got off the ground and I haven’t even taken the gear for a test run. I wanted to spend some time with new acquaintances. I hoped to travel a little. I miss concerts, movies in theaters, dining with friends. Meanwhile, my body and mind don’t I’m in stasis as the days rip slowly off the calendar. My life may be on hold, but the aging process certainly isn’t, and since I don’t have too many birthdays left, I’m feeling resentful more than anything else. I would get the tattoo on my shoulder, and it would be a hole to represent everything I’ve missed, to remind me of this gap in the continuum of my life that probably doesn’t have to be as significant as I’ve allowed.

You don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

I got my best sleep in a couple of weeks, about seven hours, interrupted twice that I can remember. I really wanted that eighth hour but it just wouldn’t come. So I was up at close to eleven. Read the news. Ate breakfast. Drove the car to the shop.

I kind of took a scenic route home, hoping to get half my steps in so my evening walk, if I took one, could be brief. One does not want to be walking around late on New Year’s Eve through this neighborhood. One does not want to be driving around late on New Year’s Eve through this neighborhood.

I meant to grab my enormous umbrella from Jessica’s trunk before leaving the shop, but I totally forgot. It was fine, and I didn’t even think of it until I got to School Street, which is sorta two-thirds of the way home. Driving, it’s a minute to my house. Walking, it’s more like fifteen but it feels like thirty because it’s up a steep hill.

It came down pretty hard, and while I normally would just have walked home in the downpour, Dark Skies said it would let up in ten minutes, giving me enough of a window to get home. So I vegged on my phone, standing beneath the eaves of that building where Rainbow Drive-In is, and in a few minutes, ta-da. These microweather apps are amazing, and Dark Skies is the standard.

La la la la. Vegged at home a while before the shop called and told me some good news and some bad news. Some repairs weren’t going to cost me as much as I expected, while some where going to cost me a lot more. Because of the holiday, they weren’t sure on the second thing because the one place they thought had my parts wasn’t picking up the phone.

So I walked back to pick Jessica up. They’ll call me after the weekend, when businesses open back up, and let me know the deal.

Vegged some more, did some crosswords, took a nap, listened to a ton of podcasts. I thought I’d spend the evening reading Klara and the Sun but it’s 1:32 a.m. now (happy new year!) and I haven’t even picked it up.

I shan’t bore you with the usual this-island-is-crazy-on-New-Year’s-Eve stuff. It was crazy as usual, but not as crazy as last year. I called the parents as I always do, half an hour after the new year, to wish them happy new year, and they were in bed. First time that’s ever happened.

When the cacophony died down (it hasn’t stopped; it’s just mellower) I did a few chores.

Breakfast was overnight oats. I used up the last of the store-brand oats and can’t wait to get back to the name brand. Lunch was a teri cheeseburger from Bob’s, across the street from the auto shop. Delicious.

Dinner was a couple of quesadillas, but then I had a second dinner a few hours later. I stir-fried a whole head of won bok and ate half of it with a drizzle of that chili oil I’m in love with, alongside a whole block of tofu. It was all yummy.

I snacked a little on pistachios and drank a lot of Maker’s Mark. Something like six shots over nine hours, hardly enough to qualify me as a party animal, but more than I’ve had to drink in one night since I was in my thirties, I think. I’m glad to be rid of it — I’m not a fan, so it was nice to finish that bottle off.

Yeah, I’m still on my intermittent mission to get through all the alcohol in my house before I bring anything new through the door.

Grace and Excrush Girl each returned my texts from Thursday, so we had very brief conversations. There was some DM action on IG, too. Plus I commented on something in Sarah Spain’s stories and she replied, so that was cool. It was just a word: “Right?!” but I’ll take it. She was acknowledging my sage comment.

Good riddance to 2021. I don’t know how to feel about 2022 except the way I always feel about a new year. Still, I know how terrible 2021 was and I’m glad to be done with it.