Have dumpster fires always been a thing? Prior to 2016, I’d never heard the term. That year’s celebrity deaths, natural disasters, and an election result that made many Americans feel vulnerable simply for existing apparently produced perfect dumpster fire conditions; because it became a vocabulary staple within my social circles. And, four plus years later, it continues to be a term I hear frequently.
I don’t claim to fully understand it. I mean, fire’s generally bad. I get it. But, wouldn’t a fire in a dumpster be a somewhat contained event? Wouldn’t a dumpster fire be preferable to a house fire or a forest fire or an explosion at a refinery? I dunno.
At any rate, back in 2016, we thought things were bad. And they were. Four years after aforementioned election, we can safely say all the tears shed in November of that year were 1000% justified. The answer to the question, “how much damage can one person really do to a country?” has been made quite clear. And, at least in Minnesota, we still mourn Prince. And during the holiday season, I’ve admittedly felt a wee bit melancholy every time George Michael crooned Last Christmas from my spotify account. And seeing Alan Rickman during the annual holiday viewing(s) of Love Actually brought a sad smile to my face. But I remember thinking at the time: we think it’s bad now, but in 2017 we’re going to have a new president who lost the popular vote, and while all these celebrity deaths are sad, they really don’t make a bit of difference in my day to day existence; and I wish people would shut the hell up about how bad this year is.
Since this dialog only took place between me and myself, you’re just going to have to believe me when I tell you it happened. Believe it or not, though, I think we can now safely say that 2016 was the stuff dreams are made of. School was in session-in the actual school buildings. Restaurants were open. We were all living our happy, albeit hyper-scheduled lives and taking like toilet paper and travel for granted.
So, earlier in the year, I attempted to refrain from the oft heard refrain of 2020 is THE WORST. Because I’d heard it before. And vividly remembered the days when I thought George W. Bush was THE WORST. In short, I’ve made enough trips around the sun to be wary of saying we’ve reached rock bottom.
As the year has progressed though, I’ve conceded and taken to declaring things that are shit to be very 2020.
Whatever 2021 is going to bring, it is upon us. I have a lot of feelings. Hope (keep posting those vaccination photos, because I seriously cannot get enough), irritation (how can we possibly be so bad at this), sadness (how many more lasts is my high school senior going to be denied), and longing (to simply be with other people and not worry). I like to think it’s going to be better than 2020, but I know there are no guarantees.
So, Happy New Year? May all your dumpster fires be contained, I guess.