It’s a new year, but I’m in my old apartment, looking out over an abandoned health club and its weedy parking lot, still waiting for a Starbucks to open nearby and validate my six-year-old bet hunch this would become a thriving neighborhood. There is already something new about 2014: Marty Walsh is now the mayor of Boston, and I share Scot Lehigh’s hope that he’ll end the “big chill” that silenced civic debate under the thin-skinned Tom Menino. (Disclosure: I live 3.2 miles from the city line, so I don’t vote in Boston elections, but Walsh is my mayor to a greater degree than Barack Obama is the president of Puerto Rico.)
As a Boston-area resident, I’m looking forward to the MBTA running trains until 3 a.m. on weekends, and I hope that the late-night service doesn’t become known as the Puke Line. I hope that Walsh doesn’t spend all of the city’s discretionary funds replacing Menino’s name on countless signs all over Boston. (City Hall refuses to give an estimate on how many signs, Hubway stations, and trash bins give thanks to the mayor.) I hope that Boston’s population continues to grow, and the NIMBYists realize that none of the city’s problems — including high housing costs, deteriorating public transit, and empty downtown storefronts — can be solved by keeping people out.
Personally, I hope I have a better-than-average 2014. (My apologies to half of you.) My only new year’s resolution to find someone to kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve so I can go a full 365 days before breaking it.
For all my readers, I hope that each one of you gets the chance to experience schadenfreude in 2014. (You might have to take turns.)
And for everyone who follows me on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, or any other kind of asocial media, my resolution is not to post anything that you’ll regret sharing with others. No hoaxes, no stories that are too good to be true, and no dubious quotations. If it’s not confirmed by someone whose full-time job is reporting news within a few minutes of surfacing on Facebook, I don’t believe it. (And I wanted to believe that Kim Jung-un executed his uncle by feeding him to wild dogs.) I promise to take to heart Luke O’Neil’s “The Year We Broke the Internet,” in which he writes, “This conflation of newsiness with news, share-worthiness with importance, has wreaked havoc on the media’s skepticism immune systems.”
Happy 2014, and remember to get your flu shots, everyone.