On a year without Ponche

If I recall correctly, this is the first year of my life in which I've had no Ponche at all.

It's one of those strange epiphanies: you catch yourself thinking a small, unimportant thought, like a dead leaf. Then you wonder about it and the closer you look, the more you discover about it. You get to wonder how on earth you missed it this whole time.

Why is it that I didn't get any Ponche this year? It's usually served during the Posadas (the nine days before Christmas) and I didn't attend even one. Other years I celebrated them with my brothers in their respective schools, with my mom at her work, with my friends at their homes. Some years, when I was more religious, I spent several days on small comunities in a spiritual retreat of sorts, and they celebrated like no other.

That's not to say I was sad and curled up in my bed these days (well, some days I was). I wrote more than any other year during NaNoWriMo and planning the next one. I focused a lot on beginning a serious commonplace book and a personal quotebook. I was busy with the guys in the local Wikimedia chapter. I kept doing things. I just never tried going to a Posada this year, so it didn't happen out of the blue. Simple as that.

This small realization made me see how things really aren't the same anymore and even though I'd like to, a lot of these changes are a product of my choice. I chose to do what I did (and I chose not to do or not to choose some other things). Two and a half years living alone in this city and I'm still learning about it.

So I'm grateful for having learned a bit this year. I'm grateful that I'm still living and that I'm reasonably in good standing. 

So this is what I've done, e2-wise:

Happy New Year, e2!

The past is dead. Long live the future.

Truly, we live in an age of the miraculous, and I don't mean statues that weep milk or the steady march of progress, but I suppose there's been a fair amount of that too.

Yes, the new Pope is doing strange and holy things in faraway Rome; yes, self-stabilizing cutlery is helping sufferers from Parkinson's regain a sense of dignity by enabling them to feed themselves again.

Yes, the fucking wars may finally be over soon, or at least our parts in them; and St. Snowden finally had the fortitude and integrity to do what many have considered but never followed through with. The burning light and trumpets of Revelation are causing stars to fall in Washington, and the reflecting pool is turned to blood. Deep in the Earth, the Beast is stirring, and awaiting his parole.

But all of that pales in comparison to these hot dog flavored potato chips. For years they've been at work perfecting them. These are not the hot dog flavored potato chips of days gone by. That would be comparing the grainy, scratchy, slightly mis-tuned television of 1928 with the latest 4k laser projection IMAX.

Absolutely uncanny, you see. Definite, distinct flavors of hot dog meat warmed over charcoal starter fluid; cheap Fourth of July weekend ketchup; YELLOW-type mustard; oh, and the perfect amount of relish. The good relish. The kind you usually only get out of the filmy tubs fastened to the stainless steel side panels of a tired pushcart on the outskirts of Humboldt Park in Chicago. And all of that without being too salty.

Despite illness, unemployment, a general malaise with my country, and the occasional audible pop from the disintegration of another thread in the seams that hold my family together, I am enraptured by the prospect of a whole new year full of snack food discoveries.

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