Are you thinking of taking a year-end holiday? It's a good thought. We don't take nearly enough holidays, according to the holiday industry, and not enough of them are year-end holidays, according to the year-end holiday industry. Even without their encouragement we might find reasons, even good reasons, to take one. It's been a long year, and next year looks to be even longer. We've been through multiple holidays devoted to families, and eating, and eating with families, and after a while you get tired of quite so much family, of finding oddly-shaped patterns in resolidified butter in the fridge, of wondering whether the six law firms that mailed solicitations for business to you today know something you should be worrying about.
While staring at the four avocado spears that went uneaten Christmas Day yet were saved on the theory someone would finally feel a longing for the spears that overcame their reasonable confidence that it's asparagus that comes in spears, and pondering the rhombic icosahedron that the white unsalted butter now rolls out of the egg compartment in, thoughts turn naturally to those of year-end holidays.
The challenge is picking which one. We can consider the advice of the year-end holiday industry, which is to take all of them. Of course, if you try seeing what they do and follow them home to watch, it turns out *they* spend their holidays pointing out the window at people in the bushes and phoning police. You don't need that kind of fun. Let's review destinations.
1939. This is a popular year for politicians who're earnestly concerned that their countries aren't at war with hardly anyone. The politicians come away disillusioned not often enough. It's the promise of action, probably, and a lot of otherwise smart people being sure they could handle the year a lot better than the folks actually from then. Definitely not for a first-time vacation. Besides, all the big decisions were made by December anyway.
2116. This year is noted for making of prefabricated tunnels, allowing one to burrow from one spot to another much more swiftly than might otherwise be possible, so you've been warned. People skilled at the listening arts might be interested in the music bucket, just the thing for hauling masses of tunes around without their slopping over. Souvenir music buckets can be bought from the music capital of 2116, Damp Quito, or you can take the ones the government gives out just in case. In this year, genetic engineering has dramatically increased the number of people who can reverse the directions of their ankle bones, which has affected dance styles by five percent less than you would think.
1978. This started as a hip, ironic destination for connoisseurs of faulty fuel injection systems and Tampa Bay Buccaneers team colors. Then the ironic appreciation gave way to sincerity as people noticed unexpected luxuries like actual original TV shows on the broadcast networks on the weekends. Gentrification soon set in, and soon there were boutiques from month to shining month. You can go there if you like, but it's going to be all touristy stuff or the locals angry about rising prices throwing something datedly 1978 at you.
1544. This peppy fixer-upper saves you from staring at odd-shaped butter pats in the refrigerator by predating the invention of the rhombic icosahedron. Also there's no refrigeration except for being too cold. Worth appreciating is the local custom of extreme milk, gotten from cows with a capital moo. That sounds like a marketing slogan got mixed in by mistake. My apologies.
9999. Another tourist trap based on watching the odometer roll over to 0000. It's a mess, with everyone trying to get everything fixed before the warranty runs out. If you like listening to people yelling at customer service representatives, go wild, I guess.
Once you've picked the year for your vacation determine whether it is in the past or future. If it's in the future, sit tight and wait for it. You might need a second book. If it's in the past, sit tight and wait for it to catch up, facing the opposite direction.
Trivia: The reproductive organs of the eel were not found by humans until the 1920s. Source: The Basque History of the World, Mark Kurlansky.
Currently Reading: Analog Science Fiction And Fact, January/February 2012, Editor Stanley Schmidt.