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Pretty Good Year 2

2004-12-31 - 4:42 p.m.

Yesterday, I found out that I had a friend traveling through Southeast Asia with her boyfriend. They arrived at a beachfront hotel on Christmas Day, and got the strangest feeling that they didn't want to stay there. They had no idea why, but the hotel just felt wrong to them. They opted for a hotel further inland. The next day, the hotel that they would have been staying at was destroyed by the tsunami. Had they not listened to that intuition, they would have died.

I am, of course, incredibly thankful that my friend survived. As for that intuition, that feeling, I would like to think that it is either a coincedence, or evidence of psychic abilities on my friend's part, that time is more illusory than we think and that some people just have a better sense of that than others. What I don't like to think is that they were somehow guided by God or angels, that they were somehow meant to survive the tsunami. I've heard versions of that story from a lot of people who have survived disasters, and while I understand that it's those sort of thoughts that get you through the healing process, I don't like those thoughts, myself. I don't like the idea that a divine plan includes the loss of 100,000 people, a third of which were children. Once upon a time I liked the idea of destiny, the idea that everything in my life happened for a reason. Nowadays, I realize that, no matter how much I may benefit, any plan that includes thousands dying in Iraq and the Sudan and in so many other places around the world becaue of religion and greed and hunger for power, or thousands dying because of the riskiness involved in living on a geologically active planet is a shit plan. I would personally endorse one where more people get to die in their beds surrounded by loved ones, not because of a bomb or a gun or an earthquake.

There are those who say that celebrating tonight would be in poor taste. I say give double or triple what you spend tonight on food and drink and cab fare and cover charges to UNICEF or the Red Cross or another such organization and don't guilt trip about it, because I think that it's at times like these when we should remember to grab hold of joy and chances to be with our friends and loved ones, particularly when we're reminded, as we have been, that it isn't always people who cause one another's early death; the earth can claim us any time, so I say get that New Year's kiss and drink a toast and be sure to send all support you can to the people who have suffered.

I do, however, kind of feel bad in so far as, once again, I have had a great year even though so many horrible things have taken place in the world. I mean, my year has been amazing. I put on a production at the beginning of the year, one that got the cops called on us and that had people walking out because the effect of the show was too much for them. That convinced us as much as the applause that we were making something powerful, a true piece of art. I have never been prouder of a show than I was of that one, and I am so grateful to have had the incredible ensemble of actors that nearly drove me out the door and out of mind on more than one occassion. That alone would have made a great year, but on top of that I got into the best English program in the country, in an area of the country where I've wanted to live since I was seventeen. And as huge a challenge as it's been, as stupid as I've felt in comparison to the brilliant people around me, I managed to do well, to make changes in departmental policy, and to get into two conferences for next semester. One of my papers was even posted online by none other than Zephoria. If you want to see what I did this semester, go to I'm proud of the work I did on that piece. I'm making friends within the English and Performance Studies departments, and managed to impress the one professor I worked with this year who I'd want on a committee. Hell, Ladeeleroy even told me my diary was one of her favorites! Part of me doesn't want this year to end!

Then there's the election, and the referendums on gay marriage, and the war in Iraq, and the genocide in the Sudan, and violence all over the world, and a devastating earthquake to top it all off. How can I call this a good year?

Again, I have to come back to the idea of enjoying the moment, carping the diem, and all that. Something tells me next year is going to bring on a fresh Hell. We're all going to need to get out onto the streets and make our voices heard, even if only to ensure that the rest of the world knows that not all Americans support Bush. I think that the Constitution is going to have large sections whited out, if not perhaps just cut out entirely. I think that we're going to have to work our asses off just to make sure we don't lose to much of what we gained over the years, and I, for one, will have to do this while in grad school. I won't even have the summer off; I'll be learning French. This will be a good thing if I eventually decide to flee to Canada.

That, however, is next year. I figure that, seeing as we have so little of this one left, why not enjoy it?

More importantly, I'll be with some old friends, people from high school and people from my theatre/activism work here in Austin. See, I could have talked more about my accomplishments, but that's not really what made my year so good, and they're certainly not what's going to get me through next year; I don't intend to rest on my laurels until I've got grandkids to spoil (knock on wood that civilization or the world doesn't get destroyed by then). For me, this year comes down to an Ani DiFranco song that I actually heard for the first time last year, but one that has kept finding itself on my CD player this year. It's the title track off Educated Guess, an album that I'm actually not that big a fan of, but a song that's taken on huge meaning. I find myself listening to it a lot when it's quiet in my apartment. I wanted to give you guys the tale end of the song, the part that really hits home for me:

plus i have this whole new family
and i'm in love with each of them
and i'm on this list called lucky
whenever i'm in reach of them
and i'm learning how to say
that i'd be happy either way
with your love
i'm calling on the stars above

school is in session
get your chin off your desk
now pick up your pencil
turn over your test
use your education
and take an educated guess
about me

To those of you who've been reading this a while, to those whom I met this semester, to the people I haven't met yet who stumbled across this and stuck around, I hope that you and yours have a safe and happy new year. To all the people I know and love, thank you for making this year so incredible. Tidal waves aren't something that Austin has to worry about, but should disaster stike me this evening, I'll at least be able to say that I lived my life on a list called lucky, because I knew the greatest people anyone could ever meet.

Well, I'll have been on the list up until the last little bit when disaster strikes, knocking on wood that this doesn't happen, but I call that a pretty good run.

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previous - next

The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
Sisters Lolita and Matronic Explain It All for You - 2005-01-31
Cowboys and Medievalists - 2005-01-30

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