Friday, January 1, 2021

New Year's Eve-Covid Style

 For the last ten or so years, we have celebrated New Year's eve with the same couple. There have been one or two times when Donna has not been back from Virginia in time and it was just the three of us--and there was once when I had been in Florida at the condo--but remove these exceptions-and it is the four of us year after year.

There's an Italian restaurant in Sudbury which is very festive with new year's balloons, a happy crowd, and a fixed menu.  That has been a first choice.  If that place is packed or the roads icy, we have gone to a hoo hah seafood restaurant closer to home. One year, we went to a restaurant even more local.  

Most years we consume, then go to one or the other's home, pour champagne, eat dessert, fight to stay up to see the ball drop- and then we drop.

This year, there was no Virginia because of COVID, and no restaurant.  The four of us met on Zoom. We poured drinks, discussed the state of the Patriots, the Georgia election, the January 6th nonsense, laughed a bit about various things, and then knocked drinks back and toasted to happier times.  Our foursome's New Year's celebration ended at 7 pm.  Then the two of us ate some Thai food Donna brought in, watched a movie, had ice cream, and were asleep before they dropped the ball--if they dropped the ball.  Wild night.

I hope that I will be around in 20 years-(a gulp when writing this) to look back on this December 31/January 1, and realize how peculiar these times have been.  Nobody going out on New Year's. Restaurants instead of inviting patrons with festive balloons, announcing how you can order your take-out. I don't know for a fact but I bet the liquor stores--while more active than on a typical Thursday--were less crowded because there were fewer parties that required the guest to bring a bottle, or a host to buy dozens. No crazy crowds in downtown Boston waiting for fireworks, while guzzling bottles of whatever.  No parade--a fun time-down Boylston Street.  No ice sculptures. 

Instead of blowing horns (to be truthful, my horn blowing years have been infrequent since Y2K) and preparing for a wild time, I spent a good deal of  yesterday walking and finishing a book. Walking for exercise--because the gym is closed and has, essentially, been closed since the end of February--and reading a book because, hey, everything else is closed as well.  The book was a collection of essays, mostly about folks with a hole in their hearts.  The last essay was particularly moving, as it was about a writer who had promised his dad that he would take him to the Master's golf tournament--but then his dad died suddenly.

I thought quite a bit yesterday, about time lost and opportunities lost. A precious commodity, time. And in 2020 we lost a good deal of it.  Sure, the time indoors gave us hours to focus on projects that we could do on computers. I learned new technology and how to apply it to teaching.  I finished writing a book without typical distractions (and without physical access to libraries which was a challenge. Good news here is that my university library was extraordinarily helpful with electronic resources and there are not enough good words to utter for how the Waltham public library dealt with its patrons).  Because of Zoom, I ironically, had easy contact with friends and university colleagues and probably spent more time in healthy gatherings and meetings, than I would have, had I not learned or been forced to learn to Zoom.  Nevertheless, there are holes in hearts that cannot be addressed with technology.

I read a clever new year's resolution on facebook yesterday.  Someone wrote or reposted that at the start of 2020 he had made a new year's resolution to lose ten pounds--and at the end of the year he only had 14 pounds to go.  

Can we in 2021 not take steps back.  Assuming we shed this plague, can we enjoy the precious opportunities mask-less time brings.  Embrace those we love. Hug and kiss recklessly to make up for not being able to love and kiss. Address the holes in our hearts.  Time, again, will be on our side.

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