I am not good at platitudes. In grade school, the annual mid-November “What I Am Thankful For” essay exercise struck me as disingenuous and irritatingly ended in a preposition. I’m terrible about remembering to commemorate occasions with pictures for future happy reminiscing. When my niece suggests going to major festivals, I have to gently remind her that I “don’t like fun.” Hell, I don’t even like The Sound of Music. (Whiskers on kittens are okay, though.) I’m a happy enough person. I just don’t need to go overboard with it.
But that’s fine. We, the undemonstrative, the not-quite-so-joyful, still have plenty to celebrate. 2020 was a perfect year for it. When else can your heart soar over negativity? Covid negativity, that is. That’s right, I’ve been referred for and completed four Covid-19 tests since June. All of them negative. I may have been sick as a dog, but it wasn’t that. Yay, me! As a bonus I got to know the Balloon Fiesta Field parking lot really, really, well.
That seems wrong, you might say. But that’s all right, too. In fact, being wrong is fantastic! I’ve gotten a lot wrong this year. One of my wrongest predictions was in this very column. In September, I opined that billions of dollars were going to produce a vaccine that no one wanted. I. Am. So. Wrong. Polls conducted this week show that 70 percent of Americans now want to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. I absolutely love being wrong about pessimistic predictions; it almost always results in being pleasantly surprised.
Here are some other things I have gotten terrifically wrong this year:
I thought no one would ever pay attention to rural broadband issues in New Mexico. There have been two large grants to New Mexico from the federal government in just the past few weeks: $21 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and over $165 million from the Federal Communications Commission. It’s time to step up and let this be the educational and economic multiplier for our state we know it can be.
I thought that Virgin Galactic would never move forward at the Spaceport in 2020 because, you know, 2020. VSS Unity launched a test flight, recovered and landed perfectly last Saturday. The ship did not reach space, but test flights will continue with every intention of reaching space with each flight. This is a multi-billion-dollar industry in New Mexico and every test flight brings us closer to commercial space flight.
I similarly thought that Netflix’s expansion into Albuquerque would flatline in 2020. Not only did it continue, it accelerated. Two films are currently in production, and Netflix plans a massive billion-dollar infrastructure expansion to its existing facility at Albuquerque Studios.
I thought tech growth in SE Albuquerque was dead with the departure of Schott Solar and stagnation of Mesa Del Sol. Enter Group Orion and their plan for a 100+ acre campus, including a two million square foot manufacturing facility, south of Gibson Boulevard.
I thought after four rounds of oral steroids in three months to treat my non-Covid crud I would get fat and become mentally unstable. I haven’t gained any weight!
This, dear readers, is the power of negative thinking. 2021 looms ahead with a bad unemployment forecast and a La Niña weather pattern. But I have been wrong before. I’m sure I will be wrong again.
Merritt Hamilton Allen is a PR executive and a former Navy officer. She lives amicably with her Democratic husband and Republican mother north of I-40 where they run two head of dog, and two of cat. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.