The First of the Year

We adjust. We make last-minute plans. We move on.

My husband Tony and I spent New Year’s Day in New Orleans; work aside, we hadn’t traveled beyond New York in nearly two years, and the idea of discovering a different city — one where it was warm enough to eat and drink outside; one that seemed like it was taking vaccination and testing and mask-wearing seriously — sounded both appealing and unsettling, a fitting coda for this provisional year.

We do something just to have done it.

Throughout the week, we hung out with an old friend, Parker, who moved back home to Louisiana 10 years ago. We hadn’t quite lost touch, but we also weren’t really in touch.

One night, as my favorite song from “Dreamgirls” played on a gay-bar television, we met a group of guys who were also visiting from Brooklyn. They all live a few blocks from us, and we passed hours roaming around town, an adopted local acting as a tour guide of sorts. Who knows if I’ll see them back in the city we share, but I hope so. Who knows if I’ll stay in regular contact with Parker once I’m back home, but I hope so, too. That’s my resolution this year: to recognize that friendships — new ones, old ones — can be one constant amid the chaos, and to nurture and deepen them even when it feels impossible.

In New Orleans and elsewhere in the American South, there’s a tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s Day. It’s meant to encourage luck and money in the coming year, Parker’s friend Marc explained. I didn’t end up eating any — I’m not one for ritual. But maybe I’ll come back next year. Until then, I guess I’ll just try to stay in touch. — Kurt Soller


When the new year finally rolled around this week I would, I knew, greet it as I had most days of last year and the one before: by powering up my phone and tumbling into Instagram. Infested with ads, governed by sinister algorithms and prone to micromanaged censorship, the social media app is anything but a neutral force. And yet I wonder how else I would have made it through the temporal slog of an era when neologisms like Blursday entered the language with good reason.

Source link