Towards the end of every year, and ever since I was a teenager, I become madly possessed with the need to clean, arrange, re-arrange, organize and de-clutter every nook and cranny in my home. I have done that everywhere that I have lived: my room when I was still a young girl living with my parents, my first home after getting married, rented apartments, my own townhome, condo, and now the in-law suite in my daughter’s home where I live. I begin with my files and paperwork; review my will and medical directives, insurances, as well as my phone numbers, addresses and all such related matters. Ach, how good it feels to complete this task!
After the paperwork, I attack all drawers, closets and shelves. What happens in these places is that first of all, dust needs to be Swiffer-ed out. And the second thing that happens is that someone gives me, let’s say, a scented candle in a lovely ceramic votive. I light the candle a few times and then stash the gift on a shelf, or in a drawer. I don’t have the heart to discard it because it is from a good friend. A year passes and it sits there. Then, a second year and then a third and then finally I say: this has to go because it is simply occupying an available space and doing nothing else. So, what for? How many such items are in every home? How much do we want to, or need to, accumulate and hoard? I commence to de-clutter all such items, all books that I don’t really want to hold onto forever because they don’t mean that much to me. I do the same with my clothes and any expired medicines, creams or cosmetics. Yalla! Yalla! Out!
The last stop is my kitchen where after discarding all the useless utensils and containers, I go over the pantry: Are there any cans that have expired; any food items that I once bought thinking that I will use them and never did? Yalla! Yalla! Out! And then the piece de résistance: the refrigerator!!! What can I tell you about the many refrigerators that I have come across in my life, such as when I was going around with the real estate agent to view a potential home. She would open all the closets: we have to check for rot or mildew. Then she would tell me to open the fridge, which I was really reluctant to do feeling that I was prying into someone’s privacy. You must, she would say, you’re going to put your food in there! Oh, my! Not one fridge amongst the many was clean or organized, as if they were simply a food dumpster!! Why? It seems as if people just throw things in there: a half lemon, obviously older than a few days; Chinese take-out containers; pizza boxes with probably a dehydrated slice or two left in them; plastic bags with carrots, or other veggies that are way past their freshness; leftover cake and bottles upon bottles of ketchup etc.; sodas and juices in quantities that no family could go through within any reasonable time. What for? I also really think that some fridges are health hazards due to old foodstuffs lying around in them and contaminating the fresher stuff. Ugh!
Frankly, and not to brag, you will not find that in my always clean and organized fridge. The only thing I check for in my end-of-year frenzy is the expiration date on my condiments and freezer stuff. Really, what does it take to spend ten or fifteen minutes a week going through a fridge and organizing it? Seriously, people! Anyway, I know what some of you might be saying: Well, she’s just an old, retired woman and has all the time in the world to do this, I don’t. My response to that is what I said at the beginning of this post: I have Always done this: when my four kids were at home, when I was working and Always! Because, when you require that of yourself it will get done.
Once I’m finished and feeling elated, I pour myself a glass of wine, put my feet up and turn on my favorite music with the expectation that I can now look forward to a fresh New Year in harmony with my immediate surroundings and at peace with my belongings. Ka-ching!
However, reality comes knocking pretty quickly to remind me that while I may have created peace and harmony within my surroundings, the world outside is going to need much more than a Swiffer to clean it up and my good intentions to organize it!
As I contemplate 2015 though, I wonder about that wine I’m sipping, and the one that you might be drinking as you celebrate New Year’s Eve? They could be replicas. Did you know that? Chinese and others have become such experts at “copying” that nothing is too hard for them. Forty years ago, when I was working with my brother who imported leather goods from Florence, Italy where he went to university and where he fell in love with Italian leather products, he came in one day absolutely crestfallen and showed me a leather wallet and briefcase that were made in China and that no one but a specialist could detect were black market reproductions expertly made. That was my first experience with contraband. Since then, we have heard of everything from CDs to books, from money to medicines, and from paintings to the most expensive Swiss wrist-watches, including the possibility of that sulfite-aged wine that I’m sipping!
It’s been quite a rough year that we have all lived through, hasn’t it?
We have all those horrific wars and their consequences, the dramas in Paris, San Bernardino and similar past events, as well as warnings of future comparable actions. My, oh my! Moreover, we now have what is being called the worst refugee crisis since WWII. Migrants, refugees, what the hell do we call them anyway? Seriously though, they are just brown and black people. I mean, if they were Jews being annihilated by Hitler – especially white blue-eyed ones, although how swarthy Semites became fair once they crossed the Mediterranean beats me – the world would still be paying them back in actual money and reparations, in over-indulgence and in guilt. Anyway, now that Europe is going to adopt half a million of those uprooted Syrian and other hapless migrants, or refugees, or whatever you want to call them, as a boon to their aging population and a gift to their tax base, it’s not so bad after all, is it? Since they are only non-white “others,” we don’t really need to twist our knickers too much about their predicament, do we now? And do most people even fathom the catastrophes going on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and poor Yemen amongst others? I sincerely doubt it!
Moreover, some of those refugees might be terrorists – although the chances for that are about 0.0000000001 – or some negligible amount like that! At this point, and as many have done throughout this past year especially, you might be wondering how to define terrorist. Palestinians: are they freedom fighters, or terrorists? I mean, really, after decades of a ruthless Israeli occupation they seem to maniacally erupt every now and then sometimes with pebbles, stones, sling-shots, and recently with knives demanding Justice and Freedom. They are kids who have lost their faith in their own institutions and have not seen any good faith measures from Israel. They are harming Israelis in order to make a statement and willing to die in that process. How much more despairing can any human get? How much louder can a kid scream that he/she is in so much pain? It is tragically immoral!
2015! What a year!
And now the United States Military is allowing Women in the trenches, in Combat positions. Maybe some women consider this another victory for the gender? Feminist though I am, I consider this a huge, huge loss not a victory! Not enough that we have male-armies all over the globe, militias, pirates and renegades, as well as little children committing such heinous acts? Women should be the Peacemakers, not the War-mongers! Frankly, I am speechless!
What a year!
The Global Climate Conference was such a great photo-op! The inept Ban Ki-Moon sounded more ridiculous that he usually does! And poor Al Gore, I mean he was big-time dissed, ignored! Was he the first guy ever to play Casanova? Didn’t his boss at the time . . . OK, never mind! Or was it because he said that he had invented the Internet? Goodness! But on the climate, he was spot on, so why this very obvious dis by the inane mainstream media? In any case, the result of the Conference is that not enough has been decided to reverse the dire consequences of our rampage of the earth, and, the poor, brown and indigenous people of the world will pay the heaviest price. But, who cares? Who gives a damn as long as the millionaires, billionaires, multi-national corporations and special interests can continue depleting our air and resources for their unconscionable profits?
Well, anyway! The US Election Season also began in 2015. It is the longest running election campaign in the universe. That aside, it is also the most bizarre and ridiculous. All I want to say in this regard, and at this point, is: America, I hope you choose well, otherwise you might be paying heavily for your ignorance, lethargy and apathy! Mighty heavily! Voila! You have been forewarned!
2015 has also been the year in which nations shoot each other’s planes down, or planes simply vanish? out of the sky. As for the human Collateral Damage, don’t sweat about it, because they tell us that more people die in car accidents every year, so why should we be getting bent all out of shape about an airplane? Murdering politicians and journalists; killing rebellious people and whistle-blowers; torture, incarcerations, capital punishments and all such horrible and savage behavior have long become accepted and acceptable, worse than it was in the Middle Ages. Hearing of things like that in 2015 doesn’t even surprise people any more. Pray tell me, what could be more Civilized than such indifferent behavior?
Then there were the many political scandals; the billions in “disappeared” dollars from America’s coffers; the wasted projects in Iraq and Afghanistan; the stories of political and corporate corruption; sex scandals and Tinderellas – seriously now, social media? What the hell is this world coming to that we have trivialized making love to this vulgar degree? The sale, abuse and rape of young girls and women continue unabated. And is the minimum wage truly acceptable when CEOs are making about $3265 per hour compared to a hefty pay of $11 per hour for the average worker? Does this make any sense at all? Some Policemen killing without probable cause, lying and covering it up while Black Lives Matter to very few politicians; dangerous pathogens gone missing from our federal labs; media personalities, pundits and journalists who have sold their integrity and honesty to the highest bidder; millions of assault weapons, guns and ammo available to anyone and daily shootings killing innocent citizens while greed rules over human decency; Guantanamo and many like it across the world still open for business etcetera, etcetera!
So, continue sipping your celebratory New Year’s wine – adulterated as it may be – those humongous and tragic problems are too complicated to dwell upon. And just like that proverbial frog sitting in hot water, we might wake up one morning only to find out that it is too late to even voice our opposition! Meanwhile, our Corporate bosses, Corrupt politicians and Inane Media tell us to: Live for Today! Go shop, buy, concern yourself with your immediate world and do anything and everything but Think! For now, I sadly return my Swiffer to the closet realizing that there is still no majority expressing enough of its outrage to clean up that corrupt and disgusting rot at the very top that is oozing its way into every aspect of our societies and lives, and that is slowly and painfully destroying our woeful, miserable world. One day, one day . . . one day! As for the moment, Sayonara 2015!
Happy New Year Everyone!
4 thoughts on “2016”
Thanks again for a wonderful piece. I have come to look forward to reading your latest blogs. It reminds me how similar our views although I could never express mine so elegantly, compassionately and straightforwardly. Have a happy new year, my dearest Hala.
Wonderful post! You are like the opposite of a hoarder 🙂 I wish you could clean up this wretched planet in the same way so that humanity might have a chance at a brighter future.
Enjoy your clear space and your wine! Hope to see you soon and maybe share some of it….xo
Happy New Year to you too Hala…
I loved reading your article….I can’t agree more…..It is sort of entertaining yet, you hit the nail on the head on so many issues that you talked about…Keep on writing..thank you dear Hala
Happy New Year to you too Hala..
I loved reading your article….It is so entertaining yet, you hit the nail on the head while talking about all the other issues. I can’t agree with you more…Keep on writing dear Hala..