2012: The Year Unreviewed

Every week, I meet a friend for coffee at a shop near my house. Every week, she says, “What have you been doing?”

Every week, I pause and say, “I can’t remember.”

Memories (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then I ask her the same question and she can’t remember what she did either.

We’ve agreed not to worry about our mutual amnesia. It doesn’t prevent us from conversing for the next two or three hours. And, all things considered, it isn’t surprising that nothing outstanding springs to mind. We have rich internal lives, but otherwise, our days do tend to swamp together once they’re past.

Oops. I just stopped and re-read the previous paragraph and realized it could herald the start of a downhill slide straight into a maudlin mire. Sort of like an inverse fiscal cliff.

But no. Here’s what I’m getting at: I intended to look back on 2012, capture its high points, before moving on. But suddenly my mind is a blank.

I didn’t keep a journal. The closest thing I have to a record of the year is this blog, and the problem there is–well, you know how I exaggerate. And you might have noticed I was absent for long stretches; that leaves some big holes in the narrative. I could elaborate, but I’ll say simply that I was not lying on the beach at Cannes, no was I in a mountain cabin finishing the Great American Novel. More’s the pity.

I’ll also say a sincere Thank you to those who kept on visiting here when I was neither reading nor writing, and also when I was writing but not answering mail. As Polly Pepper would say, you are all bricks.

(Fifty years after meeting Polly Pepper [my mother read Phronsie Pepper to me when I had the chickenpox and the measles in rapid succession], I (tonight) looked up you’re a brick and discovered it started, possibly, with King Lycurgus of Sparta describing his soldiers. It’s amazing what one can find to distract one from one’s purpose.)

This post is beginning to sound like one of those afternoons at the coffee shop, so I will end it. The waiters tolerate meandering because the shop is nearly empty, and because upon leaving we tip well. I don’t expect readers, who receive no gratuity at all, to mosey along for what’s likely to be a dead end.

So. I wish you a happy, healthy 2013.

Talk to you next year.


P.S. Regarding the photo above. That is exactly what I look like when I’m trying to remember what I did last week. Right down to the big black eyes, long black lashes, and dimpled elbow.

Going Over the Fiscal Cliff: Denim or Silk?

Diane Sawyer
Diane Sawyer (Photo credit: asterix611)

Since early November, when the media shifted focus from the presidential election to the next crisis, David’s favorite television show has been the evening news. To him, it’s comedy. Every time Diane Sawyer says “fiscal cliff,” he roars with laughter.

I haven’t laughed. The prospect of going over a cliff is scary. At first, the mere mention of John Boehner’s name gave me the fantods. But after being bombarded–fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff, fiscal cliff— over and over, on local news, network news, PBS News Hour, day after day for nearly two months, I became jaded. While David sat in the living room and guffawed, I muttered, Que sera, sera, and kept on chopping onions.

But two days ago, while rummaging through purpleborough’s blog, I stumbled upon this sentence: Nevertheless, I must decide what I am going to wear going over the fiscal cliff.

And I realized my error. The fiscal cliff isn’t something to dismiss with a chuckle. There’s a lot to be done before midnight. I haven’t decided what I’ll wear either.

At the top of the list is whether I can go with just the clothes on my back, or whether I’ll need a suitcase. What about toiletries? Cosmetics? I will take a lipstick–I always take a lipstick, because I think other people feel better when I wear it–but what about eye shadow? Will I be able to find my manicurist after we’ve gone over? Because he’s all booked up today.

I’ll have to take shampoo, conditioner, brush, dryer, curling iron. Millions of people will be going over that cliff. I’ll take several bars of deodorant soap. I hope everybody does.

Packing would be easier if I knew what’s at the bottom of the fiscal cliff. If a river’s down there, I would wear my bathing suit, but for anything else, denim is more serviceable. My jeans have gotten a little scruffy, so if there’s mud, they’ll do fine. It would be a shame for my good black slacks to get dirty. I want to wear them to dinner later with my with my new red cowl-necked sweater. I hope there’s mud. For that matter, I hope there’s dinner.

What will Diane Sawyer wear going over the fiscal cliff?

The probability of a hard landing means I’ll have to take the travel first-aid kit I picked up at Target last year. Gauze and antibacterial ointment can come in awfully handy. Plus mosquito repellent. Anti-itch cream. Aspirin, ibuprofen. Cough drops. A couple of Ace bandages for wrapping sprained ankles. Ichthyol for mesquite thorns. Moleskin for blisters (I assume we will not be met by a string of limos). Sunscreen, hat.

Books. I don’t go anywhere without books.

Laptop, notebook, pens, index cards. I assume there will be WiFi somewhere in the vicinity of the landing site. Mouse. Camera and USB cable. Flash drive. Printer and paper? I might be able to print at a library. Are there libraries over the fiscal cliff?

Cats. I can’t go without the cats. I won’t go without the cats. Neither will David. But he’ll have to deal with them. They’re so heavy that every time I pick up one of the carriers, I throw my back out.

Insurance cards, passport, driver’s license, birth certificate. Purpleborough thinks we won’t need any form of ID, but I’m going to take what I have. If we get down there and they change their minds, we’ll probably need ID to get back up.

It’s obvious I’m going at this haphazardly. There’s so much to do and so little time in which to do it. If you see anything I’ve missed, please leave a comment. If you’ll do the same thing for Purpleborough, I’m sure she’ll appreciate it.

I have to go now and do a load of laundry. I was going to make peanut butter sandwiches to carry along, but I’ve decided against it. The one thing I’m sure of is this: even at the bottom of the fiscal cliff, we’re bound to find a McDonald’s.

Before I go, let me be clear: I’m not complaining about going over the fiscal cliff–I want to do my part, just like everyone else–but if we go over and then they tell us to turn around and come back, I expect transportation to be provided. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Mules will do. I just don’t think I should have to scale the fiscal cliff under my own steam. There’s too much stuff to carry.