I don't feel cheated by the poorly administered web site for health care. I am surprised that after years of waiting and with all that was riding on it, our government still managed to deliver a confusing and frustrating product. Maybe "surprised" is too strong a term. I think that "chagrin" may be a more accurate description of the feeling I have about the situation. That might be a good way to describe the way I have felt for most of 2013.
To say that things continued pretty much "business as usual" over the past year would sound cynical, but apt. What we gained in a new Pope and incipient King of England was more than outweighed by the loss of many of our brightest minds and personalities. Lou Reed. Annette Funicello. Nelson Mandela. It's an accounting issue that will probably make more sense as time goes by, but for now the debits don't quite match the credits.
Especially when it comes to dogs in our house. This will be the year that we stopped having Maddie around. The emotional math of that one is going to take some time to figure out. On the one hand, we've got all those years of white fur and fun stored up. On the other we have this big empty place that only she could fill. Will it get better? Sure it will, but there is no replacing her, only spreading out the blanket of memories to cover that hole.
Another memory we will have of 2013 is the way gay marriage became less a legal battle and more of a reality for so many more people. Someday it will just be marriage, and we won't have to qualify it. Like so many things this year, the battle was won, but the war is far from over.
Speaking of which, there are still Americans dying in Afghanistan. Sergeant Daniel Vasselian was killed in combat two days before Christmas, and four days after his fourth wedding anniversary. Not the hundreds that have been killed in years past, but still the body count continues. We get the same kind of news here in Oakland: despite the recent flurry of homicides, the murder rate is down from a year ago.
What do I want? No needless death. No anguished families. But I suppose I'll settle for a web site that works. Goodbye, 2013.