It is the last day of 2018. It would seem as good a time as any to look back on the year that was. It was at this moment that a song from the past come flooding into my head: "You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack," go the lyrics. They are words from a Talking Heads song called Once In A Lifetime. In addition, it asks the musical question: "Well, how did I get here?"
In many ways, life here on the Rancho is not so terrifically different than it was a year ago. Or two. Or three. My wife and I continue to go about our business as citizens creating and giving back to our community as we can. Our son drops in when he is not otherwise encumbered by the trappings of being a college student. We go to Disneyland. We watch movies. We make good choices. We make some bad ones too. So far no one has dropped by to ask me to stop teaching. No one has started a petition to get us to move out of the neighborhood.
We do not own a flying car. Or a personal jet pack. One might guess that the year in review eighteen years into the new century would include something spectacular like that. I got a new cell phone. My son bought it for me, so he won't feel embarrassed by the one I was hauling around in a shopping cart, looking for outlets to charge it while waiting for just the right weather conditions to make a call. So that's a relief.
My wife and I celebrated twenty-five years of wedded bliss. Or twenty-five years of mostly blissful co-existence with pockets of not-so-bliss. An achievement, we felt, if only though endurance. My son made it to Europe before me, travelling to Italy with his mother while I kept an eye on the homestead. Or something like that. Maybe I was staying stateside to massage my anxieties about leaving the continent. By sticking to my post, nothing bad happened on my watch.
Except it did. Looming over all this normalcy was the shadow of the big orange twit. Interactions that would otherwise be carefree or joyous were tempered by the Wall. Or threats to national security. Or democracy. And though we were able to take a momentary sigh or relief after the midterm election, there was still a lingering doubt about what good might come from it.
And here I must apologize for the tenor and content of this blog over 2018. My head has been so full of what is missing that I have sometimes ignored shining a light on those things which continue to bring hope. There are a lot of them. Good movies. Good food. Good friends.
Somewhere in the midst of all that fire and terror and ranting there were moments of peace. Those are the moments I will take with me. The rest of 2018 is now past. Hit the reset button, please.