IT HAS, ALAS, BEEN THE worst year ever in my adult earning
career. I was forced to total up my receipts for the year as of November
for one of my creditors, and produced a number in the low -- very low --
five figures. I knew things had been tight, but this was a cudgel blow
to my morale. A quick glance over previous years (all totalled up and stowed
in a folding file; the paper trail of the freelancer) revealed a precipitous
fall in income that looked something like this:
It's about on par with the something Nortel, or Compaq,
or the music
division of Vivendi might produce these days, but that isn't, for some
reason, a comfort.
The good thing is that I'm uniquely prepared to weather
the current recession -- it's been so long since I've had any real discretionary income that I don't feel the desperate decline in quality of life. The bad thing is that I'm a married man approaching middle age and this all seems somehow inappropriate. It's not like I feel the want of toys -- I
collected enough of those in the flush years -- but that I'm ill-prepared
for any of the real, serious stuff (mortgage, kids, medical emergencies)
that life might have in store for me in the next decade or so.
And that, respected shareholders, is the dismal state
of our year-end report. Here's hoping that the next quarter sees some improvement.
IT'S GOING TO BE a quiet enough Christmas. We'll have
our traditional Italian Xmas Eve dinner -- fish, probably calamari -- and
head off to midnight mass. (I've made the basic promise to attend the "big
two" every year with K. -- Easter and Christmas. Anything else -- vespers,
etc., is purely voluntary.) A quiet morning under the tree opening presents,
and then off to K.'s sister's place for dinner.
The frantic bits start the following day, with a series
of parties and get-togethers, lunch here and there and visits with the
family. For some reason, this is the season of reunions: two old friends,
whose company I've rather missed in a few years of dropped contact, have
dropped back into my life just recently, after lurking around this diary
for far too many months. I suppose that's why I do this thing -- one reason,
in any case -- and I'm glad it's served it's function. I've missed Robin
and Judy for too long, now; I don't make friends easily anymore, and an
absence is sorely felt. Now, if only I could hear from David S. over in
England again, and maybe my friend Caroline wherever she is these days,
I'd feel the strands of my life knit together even more tightly. It's been
that kind of year -- more drawing together than forging ahead; newly consolidated, let's hope next year propels itself from the starting gate with a bit more verve.