30 December 2011

-13… 2012… 2011… A Year Reflected, Juxtaposed

            Sitting here at the desk amid the piled chaos of Christmas packagings, empty beer cans and a bottle of amber Bulleit at my elbow.  Thinking about the year behind, wondering about that ahead with a degree of mixed whimsy and apprehension.  But the year past has been an interesting one:  apartment in Portland, a fascinating sort of new job, and a few good friends on hand in the area.  Gratifying days of coffee, microbrews, cribbage and darts.  Glorious days of a life well going to mush, precipitous edge of the downward slide into a comfortable dead end.
            But I take pause.  Where was I, one year ago?  Back in a North Dakota basement, in much the same condition only at a ping pong table instead of a desk.  And before that, Zambia, gin-soaked and bittersweetly spending the day with my fellow exiles.  Learning, I’d tell myself.  Experiencing life and always learning.  I’d tell myself, and tell myself still; probably have the words on these same lips in another year from now.
            It’s been a hell of a year, though!  Bitter winter storms, the tumultuous Minot flood, fry cookery, cross-country travel and acclimating to a new – marvelously new – city.  Bit of a demoralizing job search, firsthand view of our bit of the Occupy [your noun here] movement, house parties and happy hours and gratuitous what-have-you’s spinning into a nonsensically vomitous blur.  A good time, with scant reading so much as a ton of writing.  Some fifty-four shorts, plus a few others posted elsewhere.  Then there are some articles, some rants, some et ceteras.  Productive, in a very small way.
World events have had their ups and downs as well.  The end of two evil despots and a similarly malignant militant – bin Laden, Kim Jong Il, and Muammar Gadhafi – neither of whom I’ll much miss.  The economy is a shambles, ours and that of the Euro Zone.  But life goes on; people still can afford stuff, and the stuff we already have isn’t going anywhere.  At any rate, we can laughingly divert ourselves with the wacky world of politics, asinine candidates and an unending barrage of half-helpful policy decisions.  Thinking toward the future, I’ll still vote for Obama but I won’t have near as much hope or enthusiasm as before (a grey-ballot day).  It’ll be a vote for continued drone expansion, mollycoddling the rightwing fringes and galvanizing the golden parachutes of another batch of Goldman-Sachs academians.  But on the other hand, there’s always the second-term wildcard chance of a radical medicare overhaul or the odd war.  With the last troops pulled from Iraq America’ll be a theater short this spring.
But I raise a glass to the new year, tipping my hat to the old.  Onwards and ever forwards do we trudge, jaunt, march, bounce, happenstance, and drag on.  May yours (dear reader) be as interesting as you attempt to make it, and may we all find ourselves surprisingly more prosperous, a tad wiser, and a bit happier for it the next time around.

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