On 2009: Any Last Words?

Public-art collective Illegal Art asks, "What did you leave unsaid this year? A goodbye? A comeback? A revelatory thought?"

Some examples left by passersby at Illegal Art's installations around New York City include, "I forgive you" and "Grandpa, sorry I put ink in your coffee." I'm kind of impressed by weaknesses, and it's actually pretty hard to think of final thoughts for an entire year. Looking back, I kind of wish I had told that cop back in May that my grandmother had just died — then maybe I wouldn't have gotten a speeding ticket for going 41 mph. More importantly, I wish I had told my grandmother before she died that I loved playing "Paris" with her as a kid (this involved us pretending to be in Paris by sitting on the couch and talking about Parisian things). But then again, this memory didn't really come back to me until after she was gone.

I looked back at my draft emails to see if there were any I wished I'd sent, but most were either inconsequential or very deservedly stifled. I did find one to my mom, asking, "Was I a 'reactive' baby? Did I get upset about new situations?" The question was apropos of this post, and I kept wondering about it long after I decided not to send the email, so much so that I finally asked Mom on the phone. Answer: yes. That and a message reading, "your windshield cover froze solid to my windshield, requiring an hour of scraping in subzero weather, and I would like my $15 back," are pretty much the sum-total of unsent mail that actually should've been sent. Often there's a good reason why words languish in an inbox — or on a sheet of paper at an art collective's installation.

Maybe you can do better, but I had a tough time thinking up anything truly "revelatory" to sum up the year. At this point I'm ready for '09 to be over, and I'm already thinking about things I want to do in '10 (buy a suit, go to the Museum of Natural History, relax). In the words of Eels frontman Mark Everett: "I'm tired of the old shit. Let the new shit begin."

A Final Word [NYT]