Hey, 2016, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.
At about 11:50-ish on New Year’s Eve when I was nursing a glass of red wine for the evening because I’d chosen to be the DD, a neighbor friend and I were standing there amidst the revelry waiting for the countdown, which felt as if it was taking forever—as though 2016 refused to leave.
So because I’m, um, bad at small talk, I decided this was a good time to ask my neighbor friend if she had any New Year’s resolutions.
The answer was a confused-looking, head-tilting, why-are-you-asking-me-that-right-here-right-now, drawn-out, “N-o-o-o,” followed by an equally confused, “Why? Do you?” I came up with something about cleaning out my inbox.
See what I mean, dreadful at small talk.
To make matters awkward-er, I should point out that we were at a drag show.
It was loud.
It was rowdy.
Sequins and big hair everywhere.
Not exactly the place for broad daylight sort of conversation.
Return of the drag queens.
This was the second (known…) drag show ever in the little town where I’ve lived long enough to raise two kids. The first show was just this past Halloween, and was so well received, the drag queen in charge put it all together again.
And not only that, they had a whole new array of costumes, wigs, and acts. It was spectacular. I tell you what, these are some hardworking queens.
There was a (civilian) costume contest, which I entered, but lost out to:
- First— A woman wearing a corset/bustier thing with some hot pink feathers as a (very small) skirt. I knew she was a competitor when I first saw her that evening.
- Second— Pink feather girl and I both knew we were going down when we saw the 18-year-old baby drag queen with her long legs and long locks—and her short, short dress that said something like “Bring it on.” Girl deserved that $50 cash prize.
Pink feather girl (grown lady, actually, who gyrated a lot during her required stage sashaying) and I thought there might be a costume contest upset when a girl just wearing jeans and a t-shirt that said “tipsy” joined us costumed competitors on stage, glass in hand, of course.
I held her drink when she did her little sashay thing, because true to her t-shirt, she was tipsy.
But she was sort of endearing swishing around up there with the actually costumed, so there was a chance she could have turned out to be the crowd favorite. But whew, she was escorted off the stage to safety in the nick of time.
I went tiptoeing into the new year this time.
The whole show was over-the-top fabulous, so it was a fabulous way to welcome the new year.
See, last year I had a rough start in the wee hours of the new year, due to something I ate/something someone fed me. I won’t go into the whole embarrassing story because:
- First— I’ve put it all behind me and I DO NOT BLAME THAT PERSON, I’VE MOVED ON.
- Second— I sorta feel like I was either somehow partly responsible for 2016’s wretched behavior, or that my disastrous January 1, 2016 was an omen and so I should have known to warn everyone. I hereby apologize for not picking up on that meteoric clue about the upcoming year, friends.
So this year I paced myself, which is obviously not the funnest way to party and bring in the new year, but I’ve come to realize that by a certain age, there’s just no other way for me to make it till midnight and/or beyond anyway.
Because what the hell was wrong with 2016?
I mean, I found this last year tiring and demanding on top of all the bizarre and often bad, bad news. I was spent come December 31st, and I know I wasn’t the only one.
2016 was clearly caught up in some sort of extraterrestrial restructuring.
This time, though, I planned ahead to come in strong in 2017, though I realize I’m a disappointment to procrastinators everywhere by talking like this.
- I went through my calendar, journals, and crap from the past year and made some decisions about how to proceed in the new year in order to not spin my wheels for another year or two years or five years or forever.
- I decided it was high time I change some things up, so I made some goals and wrote some lists. (I love me some lists.) Self-help shit like that, but hey, maybe it’s true that the Lord helps those who help themselves.
- And in the spirit of avoiding the resolution trap, let it be known that I don’t actually plan to clean out my inbox—”inbox zero” is not important to me. Just wanted you to know that.
Rest assured, I’m still on the world peace beat.
I ran into something cool in the Sunday paper on New Year’s day, and since it fits in nicely with my whole world peace schtick, I want you to know about it…
You know that flimsy little magazine, Parade, that comes in the Sunday paper? Well, damned if they didn’t publish the coolest article about kindness, and about how it will be kindness that changes the world.
How about that?
They could have gone the usual year-end-wrap-up route—you know, lists of ups and downs, pluses and minuses. Or some mess about goal-setting and resolution-making and turning over a new leaf. But that’s what everyone does. Even me. Sort of.
Instead, this little rag got all woo-woo on us; all world peace and born-this-way on us!
Which is why I still live where I do.
I, a mouthy left-leaner, live in a small, conservative Southern town. To be fair, I’m small and I’m Southern, but I’m not likely to be taken for conservative.
I mean, I stick out like a foreign coin around here a lot of the time. I’m weird and my politics are left-er than almost everyone I know, which is why I mostly just keep my thoughts to myself on a day-to-day basis. Instead, I share it all with you here on the world-wide web where more people are interested in what I have to say, anyway.
Because on a day-to-day basis, which is all anyone can focus on most of the time, and which is what most of life is if you think about it, people are friendly here.
They’re kind. Mostly they mean well, and it shows.
Here’s the sort of thing I’m talking about:
Once when I was getting estimates for some body work on my car, I showed up at this one body shop in the late afternoon, hot and tired—it was the last shop on my route.
When I walked in, I spotted a stack of styrofoam take-out containers that could only mean one thing: someone’s bbq dinner fundraiser. So I told the woman at the desk I’d take one, figuring it was about $5. She told me, “Oh, no, Sug’, you can have one; we bought extras.”
I insisted on paying, she insisted on me not paying. She won.
Then she sat me down in the little waiting area, brought me a bottle of bbq sauce for the big bbq chicken leg and thigh I beheld, a brand-new roll of paper towels, a fork for the green beans and the lemon chiffon cake, and then asked me if I wanted an Orange Crush or a Dr. Pepper, and by the way, what story did I want to watch on the television, that she’d change the channel for me.
This sort of thing is good for the world.
People do things like this around here—they’re just good to each other for the most part.
And even though I might not be on the same page as someone politically or philosophically, that so, so doesn’t matter when it comes to just getting along and showing kindness on an everyday, walking down the street, seeing someone at the post office, letting someone go in front of you at the grocery store basis.
Yes, of course we’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Yes, there are big, important, scary, crazy things to worry about and fuss over and fix.
Yes, just about the entire world is in a mess.
Yes, the U.S. just held its most ludicrous election ever.
Yes, fewer than half the country’s eligible voters voted in our ludicrous election, and fewer than half of them voted for our President-elect, so yay for Democracy.
Yes, predatory capitalism is hellbent on destroying everything everywhere, in this country and the world over.
Yes, this “world economy” thing is nothing but an excuse for slave labor and indentured servitude.
Yes, radical campaign finance reform is the only thing that will fix the U.S. at this point.
Yes, the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer right here in the richest nation in history.
We can be kind to each other.
No harm in that.
But being kind isn’t a “thoughts and prayers” sort of thing.
And it isn’t “be nice” in that sweet Southern way where someone says Bless your heart but they really think you’re full of shit and your mama dresses you funny, too.
It means actually interacting with people, human to human, with zero thought over who they voted for or their unusual hairstyle or their piercings or the bumper stickers on their car.
The article quotes the mayor of Anaheim, who says this:
“You can be empathetic, respectful and compassionate while sitting on your couch.
But to be kind you have to get off your couch and do something.”
Yeah, I’ll keep on with my goals and plans and working hard and writing stuff for you to fritter away your internet hours on, and just generally trying to improve my life and be of some use to society, but that’s what’s required to be a growing, learning human anyway, New Year’s resolutions or not.
But what do you say we all just be kind?
It doesn’t require compromise, agreement, or conversion to be kind.
You don’t have to break a sweat.
You don’t have to plan ahead.
Just say Hi to someone.
Tell someone you like their glasses. Hold the door for someone. Fish out a quarter when someone’s looking for change at the check-out.
Eazy peazy, rainbows and unicorns, puppies and kittens.
Anyhoo, Happy New Year, friends—may your year indeed be very happy and boobytrap-free.
Peace, love, kindness, and shiny stuff for us all.
See you next time, schnookums.