The countdown is on and the minutes are ticking away with alarming rapidity. As I sit to pen this wee missive, I’m entering the final 71 hours and 51 minutes of my 58th year, not counting the ten months in utero. The year two thousand ten (kindly note that the word ‘and’ does not appear between the word ‘thousand’ and the word ‘ten’) is drawing to conclusion. Given the speed at which I now type, I will likely be much older before I finish this.
I begin my 59th year at 10:14 a.m., Saturday, 1st January, 2011, which is to say, I will be 58 on New Year’s Day. Don’t bother. It’s confusing, and I blame Al Gore. He couldn’t leave well enough alone after inventing the Internet. Then he just had to keep meddling with things, discover Global Warming (now known by its less specific, less inflammatory moniker, Climate Change), and capped the trifecta by screwing up the roll-over into the new millennium.
I always thought climate change was when spring became summer. Who knew?
It was that fiasco at the end of 1999 that started the whole trend of adding the word ‘and’ to the number denoting the year in a date. Never mind that from pre-school on we were taught that you simply don’t use ‘and’ in a number (i.e., two hundred and one). You just say the number. Two hundred one. Try it. The memories will come flooding back. If you attended parochial school those memories will include the sound of a ruler rapping your knuckle when you said it incorrectly, so be forewarned.
With the prospect of the current year being identified as ‘twenty-ten’ I had great hope a year ago that things would return to normalcy, linguistically speaking, but after a disappointing year of two thousand and ten’s on network and local news and radio, I’m already hearing digitally televised talking heads say ‘two thousand and eleven’. Add to that the fact that we are thirty three days away from the perennial dropping of the first ‘r’ in February, and I see the fast demise of the English language well in advance of the end of the world in December, twenty-twelve.
In the last year, I’ve had to readjust to living in the sweltering summer of west-central Florida, deal with two scary episodes of Homer Simpson Smile-itis (don’t bother – I made the word up. It worked for Sarah Palin), survive getting roughed up by man mountain Mike, have my backside roto-rootered, and re-learn to cook with an electric stove (ugh!) in a state where the weather allows them to grow fruit and vegetables almost year round, yet price them in the supermarkets as though they had been imported from the Dagobah System. Apparently, they don’t grow pigs in Florida. Back in Pittsburgh I could purchase a whole pork loin on sale for $1.49 a pound. Down here ‘on sale’ for the same item is usually $2.99 a pound.
But the year has brought with it some pluses as well. Disability Medicare kicked in, my BIL was able to move to Alaska to find a good job, settle down some, and be with his daughter in Illinois, we found a church we like, and I’ve become established in the local writers community both as a writer and critic. In addition, MIL’s health has improved dramatically, and she has for the best part come out of the fog she was in when we arrived here a year ago.
Following the death of our dear Emmy (Linda’s elderly cat who had cancer) we welcomed Jazzy (A.K.A. Ninja Farting Cat, a wee beastie whose lineage is part linx and part Harry Houdini) into our home (which is to say Jazzy picked Linda), and we are making friends in the neighborhood, something we really didn’t do much of back in Pittsburgh.
In the coming year, I hope to get The Adventures of the Magnificent Seven published in e-pub format by Edin Road Press, and finish editing on Legends of Greenbrook Park so Edin Road can publish that as well. I start off next year with a speaking engagement as part of a poet’s panel in Tampa, and will continue to expand my budding career as a literary critic and columnist specializing in self-published writers. Linda is hoping her Tupperware dynasty will finally take off. If the two cats don’t kill each other, 2011 will be a very good year.