As I type this post – on the final morning of both 2016 and my second year of blogging – I am also following the commentary of the Dumb Brothers in the next room as they partake in the traditional blind wine sampling. The first bottle was first declared to be an older Styrian Merlot (2010-2012), then a young Cabernet Sauvignon, then a 2014 Blaufränkisch, and then a Burgenlandian Zweigelt, etc. etc. The next thing I heard was the plastic sound of the Blue Danube Waltz and I knew Barbie was dancing. (This happens when one of the Brothers guesses right – in this case she danced for the 2014 Blaufränkisch guess.) After bottle Number 3 or 4, the guesses will get wilder, including names of small villages in Tuscany or Valencia and whether the slope of vineyard was steep, which direction it faced (south or southeast), and what type of wooden barrels the wine was aged in. Barbie’s dancing will become more infrequent. After bottle Number 5 or 6, the brothers will break for cabbage strudel and I will hear the clink of silverware on ceramic plates for a while. Chauffeuring wives will start appearing around 3 or 4 pm and another year of the Dumb Brothers will come to an end.
Every year it is the same – a highlight for the frat boys and a minor irritation for their families. There is something comforting about all the familiar sounds coming from the next room. About things not changing and about getting through another year with friends and family and traditions intact. 2016 sucked truly, but when I say that, I am talking about the world outside of my own home and community. Within our family and daily lives, it has been another nice year of fun travels, work satisfaction, musical achievements, and general good health. All three of our pets are still alive, though one dog is on her slow way out and the cat is still possessed by the devil. (He lately discovered his new favorite place – a red basket on the staircase, up high enough that he can lord over and taunt Dog Three, safely out of reach. Can anyone recommend a good exorcist?)
Blogworld definitely didn’t suck either. Like the clinking of wine glasses and silverware in the next room, the ding of notifications always gives me a nice feeling – the comfort of knowing that things continue, that they are heading somewhere at an easy pace and unspectacularly. That the good stuff sticks around. I have made a resolution or two for 2017, both for my blog and my daily routine, but they are more like modest tweaks than ambitious life goals.
Outside in the real world, there were many times this year when I felt a deep desire to DO SOMETHING! ANYTHING! I ranted and shouted into the wind. I felt outrage and frustration and helplessness. And yet things kept plodding along toward the least desirable of all conceivable results. And here we are. Whatever incomprehensible convulsions the world is going through right now, it sure seems that no one is content anymore.
So, that is what I have resolved for 2017. I am going to be content. No changes simply for change’s sake. That will be my quiet statement of protest to the world. And that is what I wish for anyone out there who reads this. Contentedness for all – and for each in his own way.