Can I tell you something extremely personal? I'm on the Eastern Shore for a full week, and two days in, my pelvis is vibrating. Faintly, arrhythmically, sure, but as I sit here on a lawn chair in a garage, slapping December mosquitoes, the bones cradling my reproductive organs hum in a sort of downward fashion. When I was born, my hips were, medically speaking, all fudged out. According to everyone there who wasn't a tiny baby, the hospital squared up my spongy little haunches with a brace. Are my hips resettling, like a poorly laid foundation or an overbred yet elegant German shepherd? To distract myself from the sensation, I am trying to start a fire in the garage's wood-burning stove. I don't know if the stove isn't drawing enough, or these pine cones aren't powerful enough, but I just can't keep the flame going. It is well over 60 degrees out and a blue heron is doing a little spinning dance in the far corner of the yard, trying to keep an eye on the small pond and the creek at the same time. Giant flat planes crease the sky with deep tones, and I wonder if my IUD isn't responding to some military frequency emitted from the base nearby. The vibration returns: on off on on off on. Could be messages in semaphore about the upcoming year. I haven't been taking notes, and I haven't told any of the people I am staying in this house with that my root chakra is a hotline for the end times.
Maybe this mysterious fibrillation in my groin-pan has to do with thinking in reverse. 2015 is not an easy year to process all at once. To everyone who has ever been tasked with (or volunteered for) the compilation of a Top Anything List of Anythings, I salute you for your service, and I count myself among you. Only the bravest of scribes, key-stroking in the trenches, reminiscing like the wind, dare turn their attention to the thankless task of List-craft. At the end of the day, it is not for reward that we arrange our thoughts in consecutive order. No. We do it for America. We do it because somebody else out there might need the information. We have to show the world wikiHow to heal itself.
Let us not take this lightly. In penning A Top 10 List, one cements oneself in the milky firmament of opinion. I love me a good list, and I've inked my fair share. I like to make little lists around the house, just to keep in fighting shape. Top 10 Soaps I Haven't Finished Using Yet. Other Uses For Dryer Sheets: Number 6 Will Blow You Away. These are private lists, not yet ready for the prime-time glare where true click bait glimmers with confidence.
Making year-end lists in particular is like thinking about your ex: You tend to remember the good times, or, more likely, you remember the times you wish could be erased from the record. The rest you struggle to keep in perspective. What can we say about another year passing, each of us closer to death, some closer than others? What even is time? Isn't every moment simultaneous? The universe is infinite. Are lists our way of shaking our fists at the sky and saying World, Even Though I Understand I Am Infinite I Can Only Handle Knowing About No More Than Five Of The Best Comforters At Any Given Time! How lucky are we to exist in a time where there are things one can make lists of in the first place. We used to have only one or two things, cups or jugs or whatnot, and now we have so many things we practically have to arrange them hierarchically just to survive.
The sun is setting. Four of us drive a tank out across a damp Serengeti to the bay's craggy edge, enjoying the gradients, the fragrant splash of mud, the flotsam and driftwood. As dusk descends like a flag slowly falling to Earth, I feel the buzz inside my body again. Waves chew on the dense marshland, leaving behind reedy stumps and tussocks sprouting short grass. Like everywhere, the water is higher than it used to be.