Let's get on with it. Good riddance to 1992 -- a miserable, mean-spirited, tantrum-thrower of a year. Good-bye to all that. We begin 1993 with spirit, with confidence, with optimism.
"I hope it's better than last year, in every way," says Morris Martick, owner of Martick's Restaurant in Baltimore. "Last year was a disaster. I'm looking forward to an improving disaster."
Of course, many wonderful things happened to many people in 1992. They fell in love. They watched their children grow. They worked. They reached their goals.
But unlike years with sweeter personalities -- say, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War ended in euphoria -- 1992 was tough. Higher taxes. A homicide record. Carjackings. Unemployment. Starvation in Somalia. A siege in Sarajevo.
"One hell of a year," says Baltimore Police Sgt. Jay Landsman, su
pervisor in the city homicide unit. "I've learned a lot this year. I learned not to open a hot dog stand at Gold and Etting," one of the most violent drug corners in the city.
"The main thing I hope is that things don't get any worse," says Madison Smartt Bell, novelist and writing professor at Goucher College. "An old Irish toast says: 'May the best of this year be the worst of the next.' Other than that, I hope that [deposed Haitian president] Aristide goes back to Haiti and is restored to power so I can do the research for my novel. I have a personal interest in that."
For some of us, the turn of the year prompts spiritual reflections. The rest of us think more practical thoughts.
Take Connie Parker, who sells appliances for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. She resolves to meet and marry the Eastern Shoreman who won the $10 million el Gordo lottery.
Or Baltimore County Sen. Nancy Murphy, who is thinking of her health: "I know I will stop smoking and lose weight." This, she acknowledges, is the same resolution she had last year, "but not with such strength and enthusiasm.
"You're going to love me when I'm not smoking and I'm a size 12. I have to go now. I have to light up."
Then there is Frank Jones, who, while dressed as a cave man, attempted to sit on Santa's knee at Golden Ring Mall in December.
"I resolve to prove that I had the right to be there," he says. His trial on charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace (when he allegedly refused to leave the mall) comes up April 8. "The law is on my side."
Resolutions in a feminist spirit come from Westminster City Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein:
"I'm going to Vinnie's Tattoo Parlor on Main Street and have Eleanor Roosevelt's quote, 'Women in public life must develop skins as tough as rhinoceros hides,' tattooed in a private place.
"And I'm going to encourage women in Westminster to run for office in the May 1993 city election."
In Riderwood, Tony "Sonny" Puleo, prize-fighter-turned-cab-driver, says he intends to keep on "just doing the things I do best, giving my riders the best ride possible in my cab. I'd rather see a laughing face than eat. And . . . hopefully make a few dollars."
John Ziemann wants the same thing in 1993 he's wanted since Robert Irsay hijacked the Colts in March 1984: football in Baltimore. "With a football team, this city will go nuts," says Mr. Ziemann, president of the Baltimore Colts Band, -- 120 intrepid musicians and flag-bearers who have been marching for nine years without a football team to call their own.
Alisa Kotmair, a waitress at Henry & Jeff's, wonders why she's waiting tables with a brand-new degree in German studies from Brown University class of 1992.
"I think the coming year will hopefully be a time when young people can dream of a nation with good health benefits. I'd really like to see my generation not feel defeated by the recession backlash."
L Virginia Baker is thinking about children who have no shoes.
Miss Baker, who befriended thousands of youngsters as she ran Baltimore's office of Adventures in Fun, intends to spend the year raising money to buy shoes for needy kids. "That's my wish for 1993: That every kid I run into everywhere who needs shoes will have a pair. When I thought of it my heart was jumping and tap-dancing."
At Hippodrome Hatters, the company that made all of the Bush/Quayle caps for the 1992 Republican National Convention, Lou Boulmetis looks at 1993 with hope.
"I think we're going to have a more peaceful world," he says. "I think the economy is going to improve. Wishful thinking, my dream list: I think there's going to be fewer regional wars and an emphasis on peaceful negotiations. I think there's going to be a recovery in world markets, nothing robust, but modest. For myself I wish health, wealth, knowledge and virtue."
And Patty Aburn of Towson is seven months pregnant and has great expectations for the new year. "It doesn't matter if my child is a boy or girl," she says, "as long as it's happy and healthy."