Normally this is the time of the year when we make messes in our checkbooks, writing in the old year, then wondering how long it’s going to take to key the brain to the proper date. Not so this year: 2012 is so rich a figure, we’ve been virtually clomped over the head with it.

And then there’s that whole mythological scare about the Mayan calendar running out on Dec. 21, 2012, so this first week of January could be the last first week of January we’ll ever enjoy on this planet.


It doesn’t hurt to live each first week of January as if it will be the last first week of January, so until we get word that 2012 isn’t, in fact, a deadline of sorts — perhaps the ancient Mayans were just messing with us, or maybe those pole-shifting natural disasters, as advertised, have been moved back a few decades — may I suggest some plans for this week to make use of this shortage of first weeks in January?

First and foremost, just for one Sunday, specifically Jan. 8, 2012, could the management of Reliable Market please keep the store open for one more measly hour? If Reliable has been in business for over 60 years, and if that Sunday closing at 1 p.m. has always been in effect, then that adds up to more than 3,100 Sundays when the good people of Oak Bluffs have found themselves floundering without carrots at 2:15 p.m. in the afternoon, just as they’re ready to put up a big pot of red lentils and carrots soup, and there’s nothing else to feed their families other than hot dogs and, moreover, they’re out of mustard! And buns!

Second, do we need to continue to be so quiet, so law-abiding, so New England-y in our demeanor? No one’s here to call in a disturbance of the peace, should we elect to disturb the peace. So let’s shout our hellos at our neighbors. Let’s break into arias or stop on street corners to do Elvis impressions. If you see someone suddenly wanging his hips and singing “hunka hunka burnin’ love,” join in! Form an impromptu barbershop quartet in Post Office Square. Blast your bicycle horn! (Not your car horn; that’s a no-no even on 12/21/2012, should that be the final day.)

Third and last, if you’re about to leave the Island for warmer climes, don’t go until you’ve made a life-sized cutout of yourself and you stand it up in front of your home or place of business. You have to start thinking about the effect of your absence, on the reality that it leaves a hole in your community. We’re gonna miss you, and it would help to see your smiling face (be sure to have the photo snapped on a day you’re feeling okay with the world, which you probably will be since you’ve got a tropical vacation ahead of you) on the other side of your picket fence or inside your storefront window behind the plastic elves you forgot to remove on 12/31/2011. An outdoor cutout of you will also provide, on our early morning walks, a lovely destination — one of many — for our dogs.

In closing, should this week really prove the last first week of January ever, I’d advise eating more chocolate but . . . since we can’t know for certain whether we’ll be around a lot longer, and because the sugar that generally accompanies chocolate is bad for you, well, eek! I need some spiritual guidance here . . .

Here’s another way to make the best of things: Once again, an amazing selection of courses, some of them college-accredited, are being rolled out by the Adult and Community Education Program. Go online to view the catalogue at acemv.org. You’ll find more than 60 classes in arts, music, dance, communications, business and computers, education, parenting, cooking, health, mind/body/spirit, history, Island land and sea, language and writing. Hey! They left out basket-weaving! Well, maybe next year. E-mail program director Lynn Ditchfield at lynn@acemv.org or phone her at 508-627-8373. Classes start on Jan. 21; you may register online, by mail, or in person on Jan. 17 and 18 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School lobby.

One more fun End-of-Days event: Through Jan. 15 from 10-ish to 6-ish daily, former supermodel Kim Nye is having a pop-up shop of designer clothing, both classic and funky, contemporary furniture, antiques, art and art books, and miscellaneous fun stuff such as throw pillows, a bike and skis at her gallery on Uncas avenue in Oak Bluffs. On her first day she sold a first edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls for $95. Eat your heart out, eBay!