All in the same boat—for a day anyway

There’s something that always takes me by surprise each New Year’s Eve—and that’s the fact that I really like New Year’s Eve.  

As much as I adhere to various annual traditions on other holidays—Friendsgiving in addition to Thanksgiving; a steak dinner picnic on Peavine Peak on our wedding anniversary—there’s no particular expectation for the way I spend Dec. 31. I’ve enjoyed past New Year’s Eves in every which way I can think of—intimate but lavish dinner parties I’d host with my brother eons ago when we both lived in Boston; house parties at my place or yours; festivals in whatever city square I may have been near; camping in coastal California; watching the ball drop on TV; assembling Legos with kids; or—one of my personal favorites—being in bed by 11.  

This is the day when, I’m pretty sure, the most people in the world are the closest to being on the same page about something. While most holidays we celebrate in the U.S. come with reasons to gather with friends and community and celebrate some sort of togetherness—whether those reasons be religious, patriotic, amorous, what have you—New Year’s Eve is when we basically just mark the passing of time. If there’s anything that humans worldwide come close to agreeing upon, it’s that time is indeed passing. 

The thoughts that often follow this annual realization are:  

1) While we’re acknowledging the passing of time, we can’t help but notice our mortality (and that one is actually universal). 

2) We might as well make the best of what we have now and what we have left, in that case, and: 

3) For the moment, let’s enjoy the heck out of lighting some fireworks, raising a glass of good riddance to the past year’s problems, snapping some Legos together, relishing an early turndown time, or whatever may be going on that particular night. 

Of course, there are other calendars people adhere to in addition to the Gregorian one that’s been popular in much of the world for the last few centuries. And rest assured that I was not making a starry-eyed suggestion that everything will suddenly be fine in Israel, Gaza and Ukraine as the new year arrives. 

You may be thinking by this point, “Hold on, did a newspaper editor actually just go on for a while about something other than the power of local journalism?”  

Nope. Busted. That is exactly where I’m going. When you work in this business, pretty much all thoughts on all topics lead you back to the power of local journalism. 

When I wake up on Jan. 1 with sweet memories of whatever merriment or sentimental joys may have gone down the night before (as of this writing, with our press date just after Christmas, I don’t even have a plan yet), I’ll think about the longer-term implications of what we should do in the face of time passing and mortality looming. We all need something to keep us going, right? For me, it’s the thoughtful and creative things the members of our community are doing, and the hard work and integrity that RN&R writers put into keeping us informed about them. 

In this issue’s cover story, Delaney Uronen will get you up to speed on how local right-wing groups, in keeping with a national trend, have been gaining representation on the Washoe County Library Board, opposing LGBTQ+ materials and programming—and calling for the removal of the library director. In the music pages, I’ll introduce you to Ford Goodman, a man who retired from the tech industry, moved to Reno, and brought along an idea to help musicians make a better wage. Cocktail scribe Michael Moberly marked the new year by asking local bartenders to share advice they’d give their younger selves. 

Realistically, in a lot of ways, we’re not all in it together. We all know polarization runs deep these days. But I sure am proud of our contributors for their commitment to building bridges by telling our community’s stories, shedding light on the issues that matter, and keeping us informed about Northern Nevada culture. If you have ideas for more people, issues or cultural goings-on you think we should cover, drop me a line at [email protected]

Meanwhile, happy 2024, everyone!