Zebras And Pigheaded Optimism

Photo by Redcharlie on unsplash.com

Happy three days into the brand new year! I think we can all agree that last year was a horrible mistake that we should never, ever repeat. Also, if I may offer a suggestion? It should be the year we never speak of again. We went from 2019 right into 2021. Call it a leap year! Because that’s how that thing works. We leaped right over it because it never happened.

What didn’t happen? Exactly! Hush-hush. Wink wink. Nudge nudge. Oh, what a relief it is.

Okay, you’re right! Why are you always right? Fine, we can’t pretend it didn’t happen anymore than our bad decisions will stay in Vegas. The redeye home isn’t a magic eraser that makes it all go away. Somethings just stick with you until you seek medical attention. No, that’s not a personal anecdote. I’ve never been to Vegas. I don’t do well in the heat despite being born in Africa. Go figure. But I know people who were not able to pretend IT didn’t happen. Not talking about it didn’t make it any better, and nine months later, the secret was out.

Whoops. Awkward. But precious. Aw. And now I’ll go back to using complete sentences.

I know I’m not the only one who’s happy to see the last year of our lives wither and dissolve into the dust whence it came. As the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2021, there was the usual chorus of celebratory cheer but, people also screamed, “Thank God that’s over!”

Yeah, good riddance and never show your face around here ever again you no good, dirty rotten, scoundrel. Your time is up, and we’re free!

Uh, so um, here’s where I throw a wet blanket on a nice moment. I’m smothering the fiery joy we’re all trying to feel for the first time in months. Why? What is wrong with me? Damn you, logic! Why did you have to show up so soon? I was hoping for a solid week of delusional bliss before I have to face reality. Was that too much to ask for? No, no, it was not.

Fine, here I go, ruining a perfectly decent fantasy with logic and sound reasoning skills. I said this in my last post, but I’m not Cinderella, and everything didn’t go back to normal at midnight. There’s still a microscopic bastard floating around out there, and we still have to take uncomfortable, emotionally draining precautions. I despise everything about it, but if we hold on, despite how much it sucks, we’ll get through this situation together.

Wow, it feels like I just let the air out of the room so, let’s welcome back a bit of delusion, shall we? For this moment, in an ever so brief respite, I am going to feel incredibly thrilled that 2020 is over and embrace this emotion that could, quite possibly, be hope. 

It really felt like we were universally cursed from the start of last year, but we’re done with that. This year can be a completely different animal that resembles a unicorn and not a three-headed beast with an extreme case of the hangries. (Hungry plus angry equals Hangry, if you didn’t know. You’re welcome.)

Maybe we can move on to… Uh, you know what? I’m a bit nervous about the future and what surprises it holds. Last year, all of the surprises were horrible, no good, unmitigated disasters. This year? No! Let’s be hopeful and focus on the mere possibility that at least one thing will turn out alright. Not great, I’m not greedy, but if it’s okay with the entity in charge of such things, I’ll be grateful for half-baked.

It would also be a big step up, and I’m just hoping for a mild to moderate improvement. Is that too much to ask for? I don’t think it is, but I’ve been wrong before.

Just to be safe, I checked the news, and at least there was nothing overtly disastrous that happened. Well, not at the time that these words were typed onto this page. Could things have changed? Sure, but if I don’t look then, my pigheaded optimism can continue for a little while longer.

The good news is, we didn’t see carnivorous grasshoppers spring out of a toxic transatlantic fog, so yay us. I’m not saying that could’ve happened, but I’m not ruling anything out. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw a kangaroo directing traffic or a zebra chilling on a farm with all the other horse type mammals.

In Canada?

Actually, I did see a zebra grazing in a field and almost drove off the road. Literally! I gawked, my eyes performed a smashing impression of a rascally rabbit, and then I swerved to avoid a ditch. Did I just see a Zebra? No, it couldn’t be, not here in the great wet and chilly Pacific Northwest. Sure, we’re known for our wildlife. Bears, moose and, of course, the proud and noble beaver. An African safari animal? Nope, that’s a new one for me in this country.

In my previous country of habitation? I lived in Cape Town, so no, I don’t remember seeing a zebra. Snakes, sharks, a tortoise and rock rabbits (aka rock hyrax. Look them up. They’re so cute). I don’t think I ever saw a zebra walking down the beach in a swimsuit and rocking a straw hat. That would’ve been shocking, and I should stop watching silly movies at 2 AM. 

I should see someone about my insomnia, that’s what I should do. Will I? Well, I saw a zebra in Canada so, anything is possible. Unlikely, but possible. Oh, and I survived the year that shall not be named. Do you think I should test my luck and see a doctor? Nah, whenever I do that, they find something wrong. If I don’t let them take a look, then they can’t find anything.

That, my friend, is called logic! Horrible logic, but it still counts. For what? Oh, shush, I’m trying to be happy here. 

Clearly, I’m not willing to abandon this state of mild delusion. It’s supposed to be temporary, but I’m not giving it up without a fight or, at least a struggle. It was brought on by a need to find hope in this new start. And I NEED to find something hopeful. I don’t care that life isn’t like a fairytale, and clocks don’t rearrange the time-space continuum. The realities we face moving forward can wait for one minute. In this minute, this brief period of transition, I want to believe that 2021 is overflowing with so many good things. Amazing things. Sparkly, shiny, and pretty things.

It will take its time unpacking its delights, but as it does, we’ll experience its many surprises. I don’t know what those surprises will be because, clearly, I’m not clairvoyant. I can’t remember where I put my glasses or my car keys. The number of times I’ve nearly walked out my front door without pants on is embarrassing. No one should trust my predictions of the future.

But I have plenty of hopes! So, many dreams and wishes. Prayers too! 

I want to hug my people and have dinner at the same table without the help of technology. I can’t wait to go to a grocery store without a mask and an overwhelming sense of fear. I’m looking forward to a time when I don’t have to be afraid of that microscopic bastard and wonder if it will kill me or someone I love. Oh, that would be so nice!

There are so many things I’m hoping, wishing, praying for as this new year gets started. The things I just mentioned are at the forefront of my mind, and they’ve been playing on repeat for several months. There are secret dreams, ones I don’t dare voice because I don’t want to jinx them, and I’m scared to hope too much. As long as these things stay tucked away in my dreams, then there’s a chance they could become a reality.

How’s that for logic?

I haven’t gotten much sleep lately because, well, the whole insomnia thing, but I’m also feeling so many conflicting emotions. This new year feels different than all the other new beginnings I’ve experienced. It feels heavier in a way because I have all of these things I’m hoping for, and fear is making me doubt the incredible possibilities. It’s a programmed response, but it’s being rewritten by that one for letter word.

These last three days have felt like a week because, despite the weight of it all, the new year brings hope, and that hope is stopping time. Or it’s putting life on pause so I can take a deep breath for the first time in almost a year. The precious few days of limited expectations and sheltered living have hidden reality from me. It’s given me a chance to sit with this sense of — Well, hope and optimism.

I’m feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time, and it’s a nice change. Will it last? Wow, no, don’t ask that question. Why did I ask that question? Why do I always look for zebras in Canada when I could enjoy the proud and noble beaver?

Will this hope and pigheaded optimism last? I’m feeling it now, and that’s enough. After the year that was, hope is like that zebra that nearly drove me off the road. It doesn’t seem like it belongs in this part of the world, and it’s of place. But there it is! Grazing in a field and looking quite content. 

That’s what I’m feeling right now. I’m a little out of place, but I feel like I’m in the right space. Hope, you silly little zebra in a swimsuit and straw hat. Funny seeing you around these parts. I would question your presence but, you know what? It doesn’t matter how you got here or why you’re here at all. I’m feeling it, and it’s a nice change. It’s a welcome change.


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