Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

20 December 2020

Summing Up 2020

1. What did you do in 2020 that you'd never done before?
Stayed inside all fuckin' day for weeks on end.
Taught all of my classes remotely.
Planted a lime tree.
Went hiking on the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My resolution for last year was to brunch more, and I did have some excellent brunches: a couple with my housemate, Tate; an excellent brunch with Chris and Lukas in Chicago; and a good socially distanced brunch with Caleb and Diana and Caleb's parents. I just want to say that if there had been a safe way to brunch, I would have been brunching all the time. I feel like this should just be my resolution for the third year in a row. We're gonna have a vaccine for COVID-19, and I'm gonna brunch.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes. Early this year on January 10th, Michael and Brandee Steger added their son Mozart Lee to the family.
My friends Jill and Rick DiGiuseppe's daughter Ella was born on July 23.
And Catie and Graeme Humphreys welcomed little Fitzpatrick Wilde Keith into the world on 12 November. (They're British so I wrote the date the Anglo way.)

4. Did anyone close to you die?
We were not close, but my dear friend Jaime lost her mom, whom we affectionately called MoJo, this summer.

5. What countries did you visit?
Well I was supposed to go to Belize over Spring Break, but this was at the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Bostonians were being hit badly, and all of the people I was supposed to travel with were in Boston. We had to cancel our trip.
But, hey, I did visit an Ingles in North Georgia.

6. What would you like to have in 2021 that you lacked in 2020?
I'd like to throw a cocktail party at my house.

7. What dates from 2020 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Honestly everything runs together. Seriously. For me, and I mean this sincerely, that mostly since March every day has been pretty much like the last. Obviously, once the school year ended in May and the school year started back up in August my day-to-day life changed because I had lots of work to do, but mostly the days just feel the same, as if time is barely passing.
In fairness I should also say that two stretches of time in 2020 stick out in my mind. A former student of mine came to live with me just as the Spring term was ending, and she stayed for two months or so. She needed a place to stay, and I had a room free, so she joined me for several weeks of cocktails and movies and workouts.
The second stretch is from the beginning of November. My friends Katie and Chris called me on a fluke and invited me to go to a random cabin on a random Georgia mountain for a couple days to celebrate Chris's birthday. We had such a great time together.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I think the things I'm most proud of is the new piece I wrote for JDTC on the use of the word "performative" in theatre and performance studies. It'll be out next year. I had a really productive and fun last eight weeks or so of summer, and I proved to myself that I can actually get my own work done if I have the space to do it.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Work-life balance. I sort of joke about this, but working at home also means living at work, which is what I do. I need to spend my time working toward getting tenure – writing, publishing, editing, researching, planning new classes – and so that has just taken over my life. It's what I do most days. Weekends mean nothing to me. I wake up, and then I work on my to-do list. I have hope that this will change once I am not living under the constant threat/fear of not getting tenure, and I am sure it will change at least somewhat once we are not living with SARS-CoV-2 so unchecked.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope! Just plugging along.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Ok, so being home alone all the time meant sort of staring at things I live with everyday but that I don't like. Upgrades were necessary. The best one of these was that I bought a new sofa this year to replace my old one. I love it.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My former student Tommy, who is doing amazing activist work in New York City.
People marching in the streets in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
Brad Brock, who was my department chair for most of the year. I don't think I know anyone more hard working or selfless. I am so proud to have worked for him.
States passing laws that decriminalize marijuana and other drugs.
Everyone who made the very, very hard decision to leave New York City and move back in with their parents for a while. It's so rough for so many people who can't make a living right now the way they normally would, and the decision to leave the city is not an easy one.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I say this every year, but Mitch McConnell and most of the Republicans in Congress should be ashamed of themselves. Most of the Democrats in Congress should be ashamed of themselves, too, but Mitch McConnell belongs to a circle of shame on an entire other level. I can think of no worse person in this country.
Obviously the Trump administration's (along with the DeSantis administration here in Florida) handling of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. In addition to plain incompetence, it has just shown such an enormous lack of care for others.
People who say "trials and tribulations". Tribulations? Really? You must truly be in trouble.

14. Where did most of your money go?

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Winter break. I have never, ever in my life, been more happy to put a semester behind me. My poor students are beat down and sick of the pandemic; I'm sick of being in my house; and theatre students want to be making theatre. Some of them are doing that, but it's been very difficult.

16. What song will always remind you of 2020?
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP"
Leikeli47's "Wash & Set"

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner.
c) richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Gave more hugs. Donated more money to Black & Pink. Lifted more weights. Watched more movies. Danced in my living room more. Published more.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Zoom. Even hanging out with friends on zoom is drag, honestly, even friends I love a lot. Staring into this little screen does not make me feel more connected; for me it does precisely the opposite.
I also wish I had spent less time reading about Trump, and the election in general. If I'm honest, I find the conservativism of the Democratic party almost as exhausting as the much more blatant racism and big-government politics of the Republican party. I had to cut facebook out of my life for most of the time leading up to the election. I hated that, because I really just want to see photos of my friends and their kids.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
In Tallahassee and probably by myself. It is a weird time. It's too cold to do things outside, but maybe I'll see some local friends. Some of my friends here have COVID-19, so we're a little more on edge about transmission.

21. Did you fall in love in 2020?
Haha. No.

22. How many one-night stands?
Zero. I had a couple opportunities, but I was trying to be good about spreading SARS-CoV-2.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Team Chelseaboy
I only watched RuPaul's Drag Race season 12, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars season 5, Drag Race Canada, and Drag Race Holland. Last year, I thought three seasons of Drag Race was too much, but as it turns out, as long as the amount of RuPaul is limited, I'm having a great time watching these queens and their visions of genderfuckery.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
I keep track of this on GoodReads.
Marlon James's Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which is an extraordinary and pleasurable achievement that I'm recommending to everyone. It's a kind of West African fantasy novel that merges the Sunjata epic with The Lord of the Rings? I don't know how to describe it, but I loved it.
John Williams' Stoner.
I haven't truly loved any of the non-fiction I've been reading lately, but I did get re-excited about reading ancient Greek comic fragments by reading S. Douglas Olson's edition of the fragments of Aristophanes, Epicharmus, Menander, and other ancient comedians.
Otherwise I read a lot of plays. Reading Yukio Mishima (on the recommendation of Jessica Del Vecchio!) has been the most rewarding.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

27. What was the best piece of theatre you saw?
The Metropolitan Opera's production of Satyagraha. They opened the archives and there is good stuff to watch.

28. What did you want and get?

A Shoog McDaniel print.
A revised curriculum for FSU's PhD program in Theatre and Performance Research.
A new dishwasher.

29. What did you want and not get?
I am so grateful this year simply for what I have. There's a way to talk about things I didn't get this year, and I have had my share of disappointments, to be sure. But I am very, very thankful for my safety, my health, my employment, and my house. This year has been depressing, but I have benefited from enormous privilege and luck.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I still have many to see (a list of 54 movies at the moment), but so far it's Beanpole followed by Bacurau.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Rough stuff. This is probably the day I remember the clearest this year. I taught class on my birthday, and then I went to an emergency faculty meeting, where the chair updated us about the way that the semester was going to move to remote instruction. I then took my friends Elliott and Tate to the airport to catch their Spring Break flights back to their partners. Chari and I went to Chuy's (RIP) for margaritas. She was leaving the next day to visit her partner for Spring Break, so we didn't have dinner. I went home and had dinner by myself and watched George Roy Hill's A Little Romance. We didn't go back to in-person classes; Tate and Elliott didn't come back; and my own Spring Break plans remained canceled. I turned 39.

32. What new recipes did you make this year?
I made a blood-orange upside down cake that was amazing.
I made dan dan noodles a million times this year. I also made Jollof rice for the first time. Oh, and I got kind of obsessed with making that Jjapaguri dish from Parasite.

33. What were your cocktail obsessions?
This year it was a slightly modified Bourbon Shake.
2 ounces of bourbon, 1 ounce of lime juice, and 3/4 ounce of honey syrup. Shake the hell out of it and strain or serve it on ice.

34. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

35. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2020?
Shirt and tie... and shorts.

36. What kept you sane?
Meredith and Jason.
My friend Greg hosts this movie club where we watch a movie every week that none of us has seen before. This means we watch some really out there stuff. It's delightful.
Texts from friends checking in on me.
The Criterion Channel.
Jacob, Jessica, Kate, Lindsay, Michelle, Miriam, Noe, and Patrick.
Doing the Crossword remotely with Yasser.

37. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Gavin Leatherwood.

38. What political issue stirred you the most?
Defund the Police.

39. Whom did you miss?
Jason Tate, Wahima, Justin, Elizabeth, Ashley, Danny, John, Tom, J, Dayne, Jordan, Marko, Michael, Alexios, Nate Cook, Kody, Matt Silva. My family.

40. Who was the best new person you met?
Lilian Garcia-Roig

41. Tell us a valuable life-lesson you learned in 2020:
It's a lot less lonely to live with someone else. Of course, this means sacrificing a lot of time. This is an enormous trade off. As soon as my former student moved out in midsummer, I found that I had time to write again. My life has really lacked balance this year. I have not yet learned the lesson of how to balance the time I give to others and the time I keep for myself. I am working on this.

42. Share an important quotation from 2020:
"In a sense, people are our proper occupation. Our job is to do them good and put up with them. [...]
We can accomodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstavle to our acting.
The impediment to action advances action.
What stands in the way becomes the way.
—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 5.20

No comments:

Post a Comment