Someday, 2020 will make sense. As the year draws to a close, there are a few pre-pandemic “lasts” to remember.
- Last movie at a movie theater: “1917” on Feb. 2 — Glad I saw it in a theater on a big screen. At the theater I often go to, there is rarely a big crowd for the movies I want to see (and by then “1917” had been out for a while).
- Last meal in a restaurant: Le Colonne Restaurant at the Hilton Hotel at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport on March 11 — The food was fine — I can’t remember what we had, but tables had been spread apart for social distancing, and there were diners at only about four other tables. We were only there to be sure to get our morning flight out of Rome, leaving the country early as more and more flights were being canceled, including our flights out of Genoa.
- Last workout at the gym: Feb. 29 — I did some warmups and cooldowns, with a 5K run on the indoor track in between at a time of 33 minutes and 22 seconds
- Last day working in person at the office: Tuesday, March 3.
- Last time I had a cold: Maybe sometime in 2019
Though I didn’t didn’t read as many books, watch as many movies, visit as many galleries and museums as I usually would, there were still plenty of highlights in my cultural consumption of 2020.
- Most memorable novel: Sarah Pinkster’s “A Song for a New Day.” This novel is a wonderful achievement on its own. The author is a writer and musician, and her speculative novel is all about the power of live music. It is years into a post-apocalyptic time in which nearly everyone is working from home, exisiting in virtual worlds, and live music events have been replaced with virtual events. Centered around a woman who becomes a scout for the next big act to perform virtual concerts, and musicians who rail against this new system, it is an engaging story, very well told. The pandemic had people saying the novel has moved from fiction to non-fiction.
- Top TV: “Watchmen” on HBO and “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix. I’ve been thinking a lot about why these two very different shows have resonated with me this year more than any other, considering they are so different: masked vigilantes in an alternative America in one; an orphaned girl turned chess master in the other. Part of it is that both of these are complete stories. In the past, they’d be called mini-series, though they might be called “limited series” now. The both felt refreshing because they moved through a story and had satisfying endings. Other similarities: both are led by strong female characters; in both, those characters rely on their wits, even though they are often the underdog; and both rely on fashion and costumes to help show the characters and reveal the settings. I should also say that Stephen Colbert’s “A Late Show” monologues were must-watch TV for me, though, of course, I never watched them broadcast, but later on YouTube.
- Top song: According to Spotify, my top song of 2020 was The Talking Head’s “Once in a Lifetime,” a song that’s almost 40 years old, and yet whose lyrics remain relevant today … Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
- More fun Spotify facts: I listend to 922 artists, but the ones I listened to the most were The Clash, New Order, and The Smiths
- Most popular blog post: “Figgis’s DNA results are in …” Yes, we were among the many people who adopted dogs this year. Figgis came to us from Texas as an eight-month-old pub. We gave him a genetic test to find out how much of a mutt he is.
- Most popular Instagram post: A photo from the Mary Weatherford exhibition at work, taken January 31 (the day before the opening)
- Top Tweet: It’s a retween from August, and still amazing.
There was also a notable first for me in 2020 — first time I’ve won a prize for poetry. I won third prize in the 2020 Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Awards for poetry written by military family members in a contest sponsored by Line of Advance literary journal. The poem, called “An Offering,” can be read online.
Here’s looking forward to a better 2021!