2013.1.1 – YOB


We are driving to Tampa. It’s Tuesday. It’s the first of the year. 2013. Ominous, I say to you. 2013 sounds ominous as a year.

We are in the driver’s and passenger’s seats of my mother’s Ford Freestyle. Mom and Olive are playing Free Cell in the back. Tonight, we stay at my grandparents’ house to cut the travel time to the airport in the pre-dawn. Tomorrow, we fly from TPA to DAL.

We have been in Florida for two weeks. Over the course of this period, Olive has turned six, caught her first fish, and gained two pounds. Our other roommate, Goose, has been offered a job with a work visa in another state. I’ve applied to ## schools. A relative of mine has been diagnosed with cancer a second time. Relatives of other relatives are coming down with similar maladies. You feel unwell. I have heard repeated–mostly by my grandmother, Gram (76), whose house we are in en route to–’no one gets out of this alive.’ It’s her running joke for the holidays.

We are driving. I am trying to adopt a new way of being. Sort of. I’m tired of being the heavy friend / person / relational noun, though I doubt whether it’s constitutionally possible to be otherwise. Still, I’m working on this personal motif that I keep calling, “Lightness and Laughter.” In my mind it looks like LOL, so there’s that.

So I say to you, to stave off the ominousness, that the year should have a theme. Let’s give it a theme, I say. And trying to be all LOL, I further indicate that it does not have to be a serious affair. I say, it can be arbitrary, something like “bananas.” Year of the Banana, or YOB. I say, Years should have theme songs, too. So like, it could be that one song with the line, “This shit is bananas / b-a-n-a-n-a-s.” I ask if you, fan of radio pop music, if you know it.

You look it up. We play it over the stereo system of the middle-aged Ford Freestyle. It’s Gwen Stefani.

We listen to about five versions of this, as you have also found many people covering the song on YouTube. We determine that the original is the best. This is our theme song. This is the year of the banana.

This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.