Kage Baker had an enormous sympathy for Queen Elizabeth II, and her 40th anniversary speech of 1992, in which the royal lady lamented her just-past Annus Horribilis: The Horrible Year.
In 1992, there was a dreadful fire at Windsor Castle, caused by a light in the Queen’s Chapel igniting a curtain. The Royal family was featured in some memorable scandals – Prince Charles was taped talking smut to Camilla Parker-Bowles while still married to the doomed Princess Diana; the Queen’s sister Anne was both divorced and re-married, becoming the first Royal to do so since Henry VIII. Elizabeth’s son Andrew, the Duke of York, had to fight an accusation of sleeping with an underage girl. His estranged and soon-to-be-ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, was caught in some poolside foot fetishism with an American businessman. And Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Consort Philip, declined to pet a koala on a state visit to Australia, in case it should give him “some ghastly disease”. He also commented, when asked what he thought looking back over his life, that he wished he’d stayed in the Navy …
Queen Elizabeth must have wished, in 1992, that she could still import French swordsmen for some relative pruning.
Oh, and Pakistan beat the UK in the World Soccer Championship, too.
For Kage, too, 1992 was the Annus Horribilis. It was the year of the Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles, which were rotten for everyone. The riots destroyed several landmarks of Kage’s life, and so terrified the insurance company we both worked for that they left California for South Carolina.
That was also the year Momma died. We both lost our jobs, we lost our house, and we ended up fleeing Los Angeles with everything we could fit in my van. And Kage never, ever came back.
I didn’t much cherish 1992 myself. However, it lost out for the No. 1 spot on my fecal roster in 2010, when Kage died. However, for sheer continuous low scale pain and frustration, 2015 is doing its very best to qualify for the top 10.
I caught shingles. I think; whatever it was, it was ugly and it hurt. My flu shot was reported to be only 25% effective, and I caught 3 of the 4 flu strains it was meant to prevent; I had the flu for most of January and February, and it felt like I hacked out a lobe of each lung. My agents had various breakdowns and had to be talked down out of the trees. My travelling computer croaked it, my Kindle croaked it also, and I had to spend money I didn’t have to restore at least part of my electronic safety net. Two of my 1099’s never arrived, making tax season even more exciting for a self-and-barely employed writer.
These are all small things. Their main poison is that they have never stopped – the year so far keeps tripping and falling into yet another pool of crap. This week, my poor sister Kimberly has developed appalling pain and inflammation in her hip – and since she pretty much runs this household, and can barely walk, sleep or drive … well, it’s been a frantic time. Michael and I are filling in as much as we can, but Kimberly hates to relinquish some of the reins she so expertly manages – and some things, like finding a comfortable way to sleep on a bum hip, are not things some one else can do for you.
And to top it all off, last night at the grocery store, I backed into a little old man in a wheelchair. He was leaning over behind my car (according to a witness) and was essentially invisible. And I barely nudged him. He wasn’t knocked over or anything. Still: I backed into a little old man in a wheelchair.
No, he was not hurt. No, I did not run away. No, the police did not blame me. I called 911 and waited for the police and the paramedics; the paramedics pronounced him just fine, and I was courteously told I was free to go. We exchanged what information we could – he spoke only Armenian, and didn’t want to talk to me at all – and I reported it all to my insurance company.
Now I just wait to see what happens. Best scenario is that his family lawyer calls me up and yells at me. Worst scenario, I get sued. Ha ha ha, in that event – I am a dry well.
A sad, scared, depressed dry well. Having a low-level shit storm breaking on my unhappy head yet again. I have taken desperate refuge in my new Kindle, and am spending an inordinate amount of time reading. So sorry, Dear Readers, but it’s my tried-and-true safety zone in times like these.
Next week, though, I am going to BayCon: Women of Wonder! in Santa Clara – May 21st through 25th, I shall be swanning around the Hyatt at the Convention Center, in the hands of my entourage – Neassa and Michael, who are excellent me-wranglers. I shall write from there, and people-watch (“The things are also people …” ) and have a wonderful time pontificating from the several soap-boxes the nice Con staff has assigned to me.
In the meantime, I shall try to rise – again – above this unending tide of crummitude and woe. And if there isn’t a word like crummitude, there bloody well ought to be.
Annus horribilis, indeed. You know, a 9.8 earthquake is predicted for the 29th of May – something to do with planetary alignments (the perennial excuse) and that dear old mountebank, Nostradamus.
It’d almost be a relief …