Our lockdown lifestyle means Kristen, the kids and I spend some evenings playing Among Us, a quirky, online video game we can enjoy as a group from our individual phones. That’s 2020 for you! The characters look like Teletubby astronauts and it is set in some sort of nuclear reactor map. Each round there is one Impostor who pretends to be a common taskmaster whilst killing off his fellow contestants. The rest of the crewmates do, in fact, complete the tasks while they try to collectively out the Impostor.
Honestly, I have next to zero idea what is happening but the kids get a kick out of my naivete and that alone is entertaining. To make up for a lack of skill or strategy I offer up an evil sounding heh-heh-hehhh at the onset of each round so they always think I’m the Impostor. Mostly I’m just pretending to be the Impostor. An impostor impostor. So yeah, the social life is really great these days.
I drove through downtown Decatur after the news outlets declared Joe Biden the winner of the Presidential Election. It had been so long since I’ve seen genuine joy and happiness in the face of strangers it was well worth inserting myself into a traffic jam. Once home, I needed to post a video and gleefully report to Facebook that people were partying like it was Subaru Freaknik. That’s a pretty good quip right? Worth repeating? I mean, it’s 2020 – cut me some slack!
After the Election of 2016, I wrote right in this space that I worried we would be shielding our kids from something awful in the coming years – that Kristen and I and parents all over the country would be absorbing a lot of worry. I didn’t know if it would be a deep recession or an erosion civil and social progress. Or if it could be something even more dire with the wrong people at the helm to handle it. Turns out it was all three. Not that I want a prize for the prognostication or to strain the purview of this column with political punditry. But man, it’s been a tough haul, so outing the biggest impostor of our time sure feels good. (And I do understand that 72 million of my readers might disagree…)
That same night I had a rare function to attend. It was a birthday gathering for my buddy Mike that was planned well in advance of the election announcement although it ended up serving as a dual celebration. The invite came with strict enough CDC guidelines that I know better than to call it a “party.” It was more a Friends-of-Mike awareness congregation.
It was outside, a short time frame, masks and social distancing required. This year has conditioned me to feel like if I’m not in my pajamas by 7 p.m. then I’m doing something naughty but everyone was so conscientious that I didn’t fear for a second about contracting coronavirus. And it sure was heartwarming to see some familiar, smiling eyes at least. I miss seeing their whole faces but in their eyes I saw a sense of relief and a sparkle of hope. It was a reminder that mostly, there are good people among us.
I started writing this column a decade ago because life with kids can get blurry. The days, months, and years clip off all too quickly and I wanted to document some anecdotes before they slipped away. But this year it seems simply turning another page on the calendar is something of an accomplishment and hopefully bringing us closer to some semblance of normalcy. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my crewmates soon, however remotely that needs to be. There are more tasks to be done, more impostors to be outed and there is more joy to be had. I’m ready to bring on 2021. How about you?
Tim Sullivan grew up in a large family in the Northeast and now lives with his small family in Oakhurst. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.