A Nomad’s Notes: A look back at the hand 2018 has dealt

If my math is correct — and knowing my poor math skills it probably isn’t — this is to be my last column of 2018. So as is typically the case, one tends to go back and reflect on how that year treated a person. As I look back over each year, I find odd-numbered years are the ones that are usually a bit kinder to me: in 2003 I discovered some of the best music of my life, in 2007 I was probably the most spiritual and at peace I’ve ever been, in 2009 I discovered Star Trek, in 2017 I discovered new fandoms and newfound energy and hobbies, to reflect on a few of the odd-numbered years.
On the opposite end, 2004 was just … weird; 2006 I spent pining after a guy who was taken, and feeling heartbroken at every turn, 2008 was a bit tough at home, 2016 was just one of the worst, with professional struggles, adjustments and lots of death.
But 2018 sort of steers clear of the bad even-numbered year tradition. It’s absolutely a mixed bag.
I want to reflect on the specific highlights of 2018, although some of them aren’t the highest points in my life, per se. When I talked with my mom on the phone earlier about this column, she said, “It’s the holiday time; you can’t have a negative column. It has to have hope!”
I’m nothing if not hopeful, even when things feel dangerously dire. So even in the harder moments of this year, I’ll point out some positives.
Probably the main highlight of this year, and the earliest one, was getting to meet my niece in April when I went for a visit home. I’ll never forget going into my stepsister’s apartment and coming over to the couch where my stepsister (who’s also named Lindsey, so you can imagine growing up confused about who was in trouble when our names were called) was attempting to burp her daughter, Marley (not named after Bob, but I told my stepsister I would nickname her Bob when she’s older. “No you will not,” was her response).
I know newborn babies are tiny. But somehow I didn’t realize she was this tiny. She was barely bigger than a gallon of milk, if that, and her little tongue stuck out, her eyes still unfocused and dark. I either wanted to shed tears or thought about it, and I can’t remember how many times I said “she’s perfect,” but it was a lot. I can’t ever keep cool around cute things anymore, and I blame my friend Leah. Somehow she opened this door into being absolutely passionate about adorable things and not remaining quiet about it, so it took everything in me to coo quietly as Marley napped. Now that she’s nearly 9 months old, she’s at least saying “daddy,” and attempting to roll over. And she always has her tongue out. It’s her signature look. I love her so much and am so ready for her first Christmas, and I told my family the minute she says her first complete sentence I’ll burst into tears immediately.
The second highlight of my year that was indeed an actual highlight was getting to see “The Boys in the Band” on Broadway in May. Honestly, the first half of this year moved so slowly compared with the time between seeing the play at the end of May and now.
Getting to hang with old friends I hadn’t seen in years was one of the best parts of the whole trip for me, but I gotta say the two main highlights of that highlight were almost running into my favorite actor’s boyfriend twice and seeing my two favorite actors in the show go to Starbucks right before I had to head to dinner. As I told my mom after the fact, any of the two million actors in the play could’ve showed up right when I was by the Starbucks, but it was them. Thanks, universe.
The next highlight is probably the lowest point of 2018 so far (and hopefully stays that way, considering the year is almost over). It was back on July 8 when my wallet was stolen from inside a courtroom at the courthouse. I told everyone afterward, “You have to almost WANT to be arrested to steal a wallet in such an obvious place with cameras everywhere.”
But thanks to Ed Carter, other Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office and courthouse staff, the guy who did it was caught on camera and charged with felonies.
I would never compare my situation to those who have been physically violated in anyway, but I can tell you the feeling of having your privacy invaded is unsettling. When my house in Kentucky got burgled and we saw the burglar running down our stairs, we all let out blood-curdling screams and none of us slept well that night.
Hearing my bank representative ask me on the phone if I’d tried to use my credit cards at a Shell station in Wilmington, knowing I hadn’t been to Wilmington in weeks, caused me to sob over the phone for about a minute, apologizing profusely to the guy on the other end who gave me nothing but kindness in return. It turns out the wallet itself was a re-gift from a friend and the cards in it (only one of which I’ve found since) were replaceable. But every once in a while I still reflect on the jewelry that was in that wallet that’s probably sitting in a landfill somewhere. The necklace I got in Egypt is one piece that’s gone; now this theft gives me all the more reason to return to Egypt and get another necklace.
At the end of August my best friend drove down with her family from Kentucky to Garden City, S.C., just south of Myrtle Beach. I drove down to see her as many days that week as I could, and on her last full day of the trip we got friendship tattoos that I wrote about in a previous column. I still laugh thinking about the design Leah drew up for me that the tattoo shop refused to do because they didn’t know what it was. I told her next time I’m in Kentucky, we can get that tattoo done, too.
To end this reflection, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the big event for me and all of southeastern North Carolina this year: Hurricane Florence. I can’t remember when I first took Hurricane Florence as a real threat to our area. I don’t even remember when I first heard about it. I just remember being on the phone with Leah one night, taking a walk and telling her about the preparations I was making that Sunday night. By Tuesday night, my bird, my fish and I were on the road heading to Fayetteville, which is the place mom found a hotel for me.
Prepping for the hurricane was so slow and exhausting, because as someone said, it was like waiting for a sloth to come kill you. In addition to making a last final mad dash to Wal-Mart (where armed police were handing out cases of water), I decided explore the city before Florence took over. While there, I found miracle of miracles: the only Fazoli’s restaurant in the entire state was just a mile down the road from my hotel.
Fazoli’s is the greatest (and really only one I know of) fast food Italian chain there is. Back in Kentucky they were everywhere, because that’s where the company is based. I miss O’Charley’s, I miss Cheddar’s and I miss being able to buy beer cheese at the grocery store, but what I miss the most is Fazoli’s by far. Some people talk about Olive Garden breadsticks like they’re addictive, but those are people who’ve never had a Fazoli’s breadstick. So before and after the storm I made as many trips to the restaurant as I could. Once the storm had passed I was still trapped because of the road conditions, so I went to the local mall and found two other food places I didn’t realized I missed so much: Great American Cookie and Pretzel Twister, both of which had a home in Fayette Mall in Lexington, Ky.
The hurricane was devastating, there’s no doubt about it. But I met some interesting people, have some interesting stories to tell and have the privilege of eating some of the best foods I’ve eaten this year.
I’m afraid I’ll jinx my 2019 by saying my odd-numbered years are usually better, but I’ve read in a book that it’s best to have a positive attitude that can help shape a situation rather than having your attitude determined by the situation itself. So no matter what happens next year, I’m just excited I’ll have more highlights to share.
Lindsay Kriz is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or lkriz@brunswickbeacon.com.