Remember last year, when we were so hopeful, even optimistic that 2021 “had to be better” than 2020? Well, it wasn’t, at least not very much better and in some ways worse because our hopes kept getting dashed. By now, Ol’Pat doesn’t really remember what “normal” is like and can’t imagine anything called “normal” happening any time soon. However, we don’t have much choice, do we? I had a friend who was a pessimist because, as he said, he “was never disappointed”. We’re all going to forge ahead, hopeful if not optimistic.
In that vein of caution, I’m sharing this year’s set of New Year’s resolutions. I’ll probably not stop drinking lovely Portuguese wine (why would I?), but I am hoping to get into better shape. I also have plenty of suggestions for other people, who may or may not appreciate my help.
New Year’s Resolutions for 2022
■ Pat, the expat – In a recent column, I promised to “not be that person” who trolled folks on social media for spelling and grammar errors. Unfortunately, I relapsed and took somebody to task for apparently wearing boxing gloves while typing. An alert reader and Facebook friend immediately called me on it. Busted. While I was pleased to verify that I have at least one reader, who even recalls what I’ve written, I also hope to keep that promise during this upcoming year.
■ People who post on Facebook – Proofread. That would make it a whole lot easier for ol’Pat to keep his resolution. I realize it’s not that easy if you really don’t know which “there”, “their” or “they’re” or “to”, “too” or “two” to use and that Facebook doesn’t have Spellcheck, which is only so helpful (Oh, oh! I’m doing it again, aren’t I?). It’s difficult getting out from under a 50-year career of teaching English and Composition in high school and college and editing newspapers, but I’ll keep making the effort.
■ More people who post on Facebook – Think twice before you post those photos of smiling faces from your last party. It does seem great that all those happy people are having such a wonderful time. Except, what about some of your other Facebook “friends” who weren’t invited? Could they have been? Should they have been included? Does it matter? Something to think about.
■ Even more people who post on Facebook – avoid the political stuff. If one of our hopes for this new year is that we somehow learn to come together again, political attacks and grievances just put out there won’t help.
■ Newly arriving expats – Stop posting luggage shots. We all brought lots of stuff. Nobody moving from one continent to another only carries a backpack or a briefcase.
■ Boris Johnson – I bet you think I’m going to say “comb your hair”. But I’m not. It’s his trademark. Nobody would recognize him if he came out with a part in his hair and gel. Imagine him in a buzz cut or a flat-top. No, my suggested resolution for Boris is that he stops wearing costumes during his appearances. Every night, we see him on the ITV Evening News wearing a butcher’s apron if he’s visiting a market; or some sort of white lab coat complete with shower cap; or a hard hat and reflective vest (almost every other day); or a complete police uniform. One wonders what he’ll wear if he visits a circus.
■ Joe Biden – Stop even implying that you’ll run for a second term. You’re almost too old now. Currently, you’re three years older than ol’Pat. I’m already impressed. Heck, when I get home from going to the grocery store, I need to take a nap, not hold a press conference. In three more years, you’ll be 82.
■ The previous guy – Stop saying you’ll run in the next presidential election (it’s just a money-making scheme and you might not even be eligible). Also, you’re too old. In three more years, you’ll be 78. See above.
■ The United States Justice Department – indict somebody important. When I say “somebody”, whom do you think I mean?
■ The non-vaccinated – Don’t worry, be happy.
■ The anti-mask protesters – Stop shouting. My mask is protecting my nose and mouth. It is not covering my ears. That’s where it’s hooked on.
■ Airline passengers – Understand that it’s not going to be a positive or pleasant experience and don’t blame the flight attendants.
■ Cruise passengers – Stay in your tiny cabin and don’t go ashore.
■ British tourists in Albufeira – No thongs. Please!
■ Restaurant patrons – Leave a tip in cash, even if you pay by card. This ensures that the server actually gets the money. Tips are appreciated and appropriate.
■ Dog owners – Pick up the poop and if your dog keeps barking, bring it in the house or get a hearing aid.
■ Expats in general – Try to learn Portuguese. I say “try” because it’s not easy. I, for one, still can’t remember the days of the week (by the way, speaking Spanish is not a big help and frowned upon.)
■ Tailgaters – Please don’t. I often can see the whites of your eyes. I understand that you want to pass, but I really think you need to wait until a straightaway or at least until cars aren’t coming in the other direction.
■ Smokers – Don’t bother quitting. You’re doomed in so many other ways that it doesn’t matter anymore (Ol’Pat is a smoker and I find I meet the nicest people out in the back parking lot).
■ Non-Smokers – You’re right, even when it’s not raining outside. Don’t start.
■ Government officials in charge of tolls – Keep the A22 tolls or maybe even raise them. This way the average people of the Algarve will never be able to afford getting anywhere quickly.
■ Drinkers – Do “Dry January” in February. It’s a shorter month.
■ Readers of this column (you know who you are. You’ve gotten this far…) – Let the Patster know what you’re thinking. Subject and story ideas are also always very welcome. Send your emails to email@example.com
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By Pat, the expat
For the previous 10 years, Pat lived in Panama which used to be rated above Portugal as a top retirement destination (but not any more), where he wrote a column for a tourist publication.