Hi, there, Dear Reader. On this lovely, cool – for the subtropics, anyway – midday on Sunday, January 8, 2022, I find myself reflecting that 2023 marks a plethora of significant anniversary dates.
Some, like my birthday – March 5, for those of you who want to pencil it in their social calendars – are significant perhaps just to me and people who care about me to some degree or other. Barring an unexpected eventuality, I will be 60 years old in 56 days.
I have mixed feelings about the occasion. On the one hand, I am thrilled that – again, knock on wood! – I have lived to see the Big Six-Oh, which is something that I can’t say about my father (who died only a few months after his 45th birthday), my first cousin Mauricio, who was in his late 20s when he died in Bogota almost 50 years ago from a heart condition, and many of my friends from elementary, junior high, and even high school. And as uncertain – and even depressing – as my immediate near-future seems, what with my move to Brandon and all, I often say that living to see 60 in relatively good physical health beats being dead.
On the other hand, I am not thrilled about seeing my 60th birthday on the horizon and knowing that I don’t have a girlfriend or even a “friend with benefits” to spend time and make special memories with. I might not be the world’s most gregarious person – one reason why I think writing is the profession that suits me best is that I don’t mind solitude for reasonable amounts of time – but I am a social animal. At least, in my old life back in Miami I felt comfortable walking around East Wind Lake Village and connecting with my neighbors.
The Trouble with Socializing
In the brief time that I lived semi-independently at my old house after Mom’s death (roughly eight months and three weeks), I didn’t make a pest of myself by visiting anyone in the complex every single day just to stave off loneliness, but I still went for my daily walks, and I still dropped in occasionally to see the friends in East Wind Lake Village who had no connection to my older half-sister Vicky, from who I am estranged.
A Blue Dot in the Red Sea
Here, because I live in a politically deep-red segment of the otherwise blue Hillsborough County, I have been reluctant to mingle with the neighbors. During my first three election cycles as a registered voter in my new home county, I noted that most of the folks here tend to be conservatives who voted for Trump twice and elected wealthy businessman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) to Congress three times in a row.
As I may or may not have said in previous posts about Fish Hawk Ranch, many residents here are either active-duty military personnel assigned to the various posts (MacDill Air Force Base, Central Command, Joint Special Operations Command, and the Coast Guard station in St. Petersburg) in the Tampa Bay area, members of various law enforcement agencies or are retired LEOs and/or veterans. And even though there are liberals in both the military and law enforcement, conservatives tend to dominate the ranks of those professions.
And because conservatives tend to support either Trump or Vern Buchanan (who, by the way, is among the top 10 richest members of the U.S. House of Representatives), I think it’s prudent to avoid interacting with folks who fly Trump 2024 flags on their front porch or wear red (and “made in China”) baseball-style caps with the Make America Great Again logo.
So, yeah. I have more obstacles to socializing here than I used to have in Miami. And even though quite a few are by choice – I mean, it is possible to be sociable with people without injecting politics, right? – I think the United States is so fucking polarized over politics and social change that I’d rather not try to meet people. At least not here in Fish Hawk.
Anyway, enough about that stuff.
As I was saying, this year will see quite a few anniversaries aside from my 60th birthday, including:
- The 50th Anniversary of the end of the U.S. combat role in the Vietnam War
- The 50th Anniversary of the Yom Kippur War
- The 50th Anniversary of American Graffiti, The Sting, and Live and Let Die (which I own on Blu-ray)
- The 40th Anniversary of the M*A*S*H series finale (Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen)
- The 40th Anniversary of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, which was the first of the live-action Star Wars films that I saw on Opening Day
- The 40th Anniversary of my high school graduation
- The 40th Anniversary of the Soviet Union’s shootdown of Korean Airlines Flight 007
- The 40th Anniversary of The Day After
- The 35th Anniversary of my Semester in Spain study-abroad college experience in Sevilla, Spain
- The 30th Anniversary (in December) of my last trip overseas – to visit family in Bogota, Colombia. It was also the last overseas trip I went on with Mom
- The 20th Anniversary of the death of my beloved Labrador retriever, Mary Joe Cacao
- The 20th Anniversary (in December again) of my joining Epinions, the now-defunct review website where I wrote over 1,000 reviews for over a decade (eBay, Epinions’ corporate owner, closed the site down in February of 2014.)
I don’t have much in the way of personal news, so I will close for now. Until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.