Friday, April 19, 2024

(Photo:Nasrul Ekram)

Cambridge Day is part of a project called Voices of MainStreet — a weekly, nationwide Q&A in which editors at the money and lifestyle site ask questions and bloggers answer them. For this entry, I was asked to make resolutions for myself and Cambridge.

Announcing New Year’s resolutions is always a bit embarrassing, thrusting failures and flaws into the spotlight as it does, and the whole undertaking moves into dangerously humiliating territory if you make the same resolution two years in a row in front of people who can catch you at it. Vow to lose the same 10 pounds you couldn’t in the past dozen months and you might sense a little skepticism, if not outright scorn.

That can lead to cheating by resolving trivial things, like “do one pushup a day” or “plan to think about considering sweeping the hallway once a week.” The result can be either unimpressive success or guiltless surrender, but either way it’s worth resolving not to do it anymore.

Making resolutions for others has dangers of its own. There’s a risk of pettiness, of course (“Why don’t you resolve not to snack from my box of Wheat Thins?”), and insult (“Why don’t you resolve to lose about 10 pounds?”), but the real risk is that you wind up revealing more about yourself than you do the resolvee.

It also sounds like a script idea that didn’t make it to a table read at “Seinfeld” because someone realized it had been done at “Laverne & Shirley.”

But, in the spirit of the season — a cultural perpetual motion machine designed by M.C. Escher that is powered by us because we’re trapped inside it — I will bow to inevitability and resolve some things for myself and my community.

First, one for my community: Don’t ever change. I love living in a place that loves learning and creativity and difference and rewards the weird and challenging. I love that our burlesque “Slutcracker” packs in audiences week after week, that my coffee shop has Bible readers and professors of porn sharing booths, that the ice cream shop has more networking and deal-making going on than the average Manhattan club bar. I love that here the homophobes and racists are outnumbered to a ludicrous degree, and even that Christmas decorations are handled with taste and dignity.

Second, one for the nitpickers: I offer a preemptive resolution that you knock it off. I get that nothing I can write is 100% true for everyone. In fact, everyone gets it. So don’t waste time finding holes in arguments that are nakedly subjective. (You can, however, call me on this if you catch me doing it.)

Third, one for myself: Think more about timing things for maximum impact. You don’t want to, oh, write about something before it’s time.

Fourth, one for the elected officials of Cambridge: Think more about what people might, oh, write about your performance as November comes closer, and what voters might think as they prepare to color in those little ovals on the ballot.

Fifth, another one for me: You’ve been out of college for almost two decades, and you should plan to think about considering living more like an adult. Should you still be sleeping on a mattress on the ground? Should you give up the shower caddy and actually move your toothbrush and stuff into the bathroom instead of carrying it in and out every morning? I mean, what’s that about? You live alone. You might also want to think about finally putting something — anything — up on your walls.

Hunh! Interesting. I made that same resolution last year.