2009 wrapup: the name of the year

Starting in January 2008, I got in the habit of giving a name to every year. It was partly inspired by the way, in the book Redwall, the abbey's chronicler gives each year a name based on a memorable event which took place during that year. Except I give the name to the year ahead of time. Kind of like doing baseball pre-season predictions, except much more vague. And as we all know from newspaper horoscopes, fortune cookies etc., the more vague a prediction is, the more likely it is to seem accurate!

2008 was the Year of Great Change. I'd been hoping for the "good" kind of great, rather than the "your father dies and your life is altered irrevocably" kind. Still, it's important to have lots of ways in which to appreciate the irony of life when life is difficult. So that counted as a plus, to me, for the "name the years" idea, which is why I decided to keep doing it.

2009 is the Year Without Disaster. At the beginning of this year I was unemployed, living with Dave in the West Loop in an apartment too rich for my unemployment checks to cover. And, having gotten all the mileage I could out of the painful irony of 2008's name, I felt a strong desire to pick a more hopeful name, even at the expense of vagueness, because the facts on the ground were pretty grim.

As it turns out, Year Without Disaster was a fairly decent name for the year I've experienced. The closest call was when Dave and I had to move out of our place. However, thanks to Mom's help getting movers, Mom, Amber, Pearl and Paula helping us pack, and the surprising fact that I found a good housemate on Craigslist on short notice, it wasn't actually a disaster - just very, very difficult.

Rather than terrible events, my Year Without Disaster was instead characterized by things that were good, but still less than ideal. Getting free state-sponsored psychiatric care--for a few months. Getting a permanent job--at a grocery store. Writing better songs--less often, and with fewer opportunities to play them. Deepening my relationship with Dave--because he had to move back to his mom's and we both have to work harder at staying close. Oh, also things that were unpleasant but could have been much, much worse, though I won't enumerate those. That would be a bummer, and is beside the point.

So to come up with a name, a theme for myself for 2010, I've got to put my thinkin' hat on, step back, and ponder the current situation. It's impossible to know exact events ahead of time, of course. (At least, not without losing all touch with the context of the present, without which that information is meaningless.) The best insight you can hope for is something like the way a master chess player has a vague, intuitive hunch how the board will look twenty or twenty-five moves from now. You can, at most, find yourself a reference framework, a set of mental filters, a way of looking at what's around you that is likely to be useful in the times ahead.

So I will name 2010 the Year of the Cheese Procedure.

Oh, that would make so much more sense if I'd made a few "tales from the deli counter" posts. Maybe I will; I've got a little time off next week, though I'll be doing a cheese procedure (a sampling--excuse me, "dynamic selling"--event) till we close at 6 on Christmas Eve. However, it's late, I'm on the morning shift tomorrow, and I promised Dave and myself I'd get good sleep tonight. So a full contextual description will have to wait.

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, joyous Eid (okay, okay, Eid was back in September, bu I don't think Islam has a December holiday), blessed Solstice, and wonderful winter family togetherness time to all. And to all a good night.


The Woeful Budgie said...

Hey, it's you!

The Cheese Procedure. I'm certainly intrigued.

jhedeen said...

2010: A Cheese Odyssey (accompanied by orchestra)
What do you think?
Now I have to name my year. I like that idea.

Fiat Lex said...


Thanks, ladies! Yeah, year-naming is fun, and neither expensive nor fattening. Unlike cheese...

So for the cheese procedure, we set up a table across from the deli counter. On it are several platters. For a couple of them I or one of my fellow deli ladies will cube up some cheese, and maybe steal some grapes from produce to eat with the cubes. Extra aged gouda, maybe, or goat cheese. Or my personal favorite, Satori Gold, a specialty Wisconsin white cheddar that has delicate bursts of parmesan flavor. I'll open up something spreadable, like say a garlic & herb cream cheese. Center and top, we'll put an oven-baked brie fresh out of the oven.

Then the store manager gives me his portable phone with which I can make announcements. Since they let me sing as long as the words are about the specials, I sing my announcements most of the time. For new year's I often do Old Lang Syne with words like,

If you plan to host a party
on this new year's eve
Come sample great cheese appetizers
which are sure to please
Right across from the deli counter
you can try a taste
And I will help you choose which cheese
to bring back to your place

If other departments are also doing specials, or if we've got another sale going on, I'll try to work that into the song too. I'm probably the only person you know who's sung about flu shots to a live audience. :D