No one could have predicted some of the big moments of 2022.
How did an airline that once stood for efficient, inexpensive service become the symbol of all that has gone wrong with holiday travel this year? How did a guy whose mom lives in Pasadena become our next governor?
You never know what’s going to happen in a given year, so if you’re smart, you make private resolutions for the New Year and not public predictions.
Trying to foretell the future and sharing it with thousands of readers opens you to well-deserved mockery on Instagram and potential burning at the Twitter stake every time a prognostication proves wrong.
Failing to keep your resolutions past February, by comparison, just makes you human.
Being a columnist, though, carries certain risks that I am willing to take. So with no further ado, here are my 2023 predictions for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. They are unscientific, unsupported by anything other than wild guesses and, in all but one case, remarkably unlikely to come true.
That way, you can’t really come after me if I’m wrong.
Southwest Airlines, waking up with a massive hangover on New Year’s Day, will realize that lots of people are still mad about those thousands and thousands of flight cancellations in December. Some customers may not even be home yet.
What to do, what to do CEO Bob Jordan will ask himself. His public apology only seemed to make people angrier, including members of Congress (hearings planned) and particularly those still stuck in the airports.
In a stroke of insane genius, the airline will change its name to South by Southwest, hoping to pick up some goodwill from the hip music and cultural festival in Texas. In an unexpected twist, half the daily flights from BWI to Austin will be canceled because of confusion about where all the airplanes should be but are not.
Maryland Gov.-elect Wes Moore takes the oath of office on the grounds of the State House in Annapolis.
He’s a guy from Baltimore who was raised in New York and wrote a book about another guy from Baltimore. He moved back to Baltimore, but his mother decided to live in Pasadena — where she is one of about 53 people who voted for her son.
Eager to make ties to his new adoptive hometown of Annapolis, Moore will agree to stop wearing socks between March and September. The move will be immediately taken by bored television journalists that Moore is considering a run for the presidency. This makes him more relatable to people whose feet get hot.
The Baltimore Ravens will beat the Washington Commanders in Super Bowl LVII with a 60-yard overtime field goal kick by Rihanna. Kicker Justin Tucker will announce a move to Annapolis, where he’ll play striker for the Annapolis Blues.
Fans will wake up from this dream in time to hear the singer finish performing “Pon de Replay” during halftime in Scottsdale, and reach for another helping of wings and Old Bay-flavored Fiddle Faddle. The Bills and the Eagles will then retake the field with the score tied at 13-13.
The Anne Arundel County school board will see Superintendent Mark Bedell’s 6% increase in spending and raise it to 7% before sending it to County Executive Steuart Pittman for consideration.
Closet Republicans on the nonpartisan board, who still want to say the school board is a springboard to higher political office despite decades of evidence to the contrary, will tell Republicans on the County Council that the Democrats did it.
The Democrats will agree.
There will be a St. Patrick’s Parade in Annapolis. People will insist on calling it the St. Patrick’s Day parade even though it will take place two weeks before the holiday. No one will complain as long as the beer holds out.
Maryland lawmakers acknowledge that a new governor who ran on a big agenda changes things a bit. The General Assembly will set aside years of tradition against passing tough legislation in the first session of a four-year term.
Most notable of the accomplishments will be a commission to study selecting a new state song now that “Maryland, My Maryland” is no more. Most people in the state never noticed except for a strange sense of loss every time they heard “O Christmas Tree” between Sept. 30 and Dec. 25.
Lawmakers, sympathetic to this, suggest local songwriters build on the theme: “All I want for Maryland is you.”
Steuart Pittman, still pumped from his win of a second term as county executive, will use a state-granted loophole in the voter-imposed property tax revenue cap and raise the tax rate above the limit for spending on county schools.
The budget will include across-the-board pay raises and signing bonuses for teachers and others. Motivated by a recent ranking of Maryland schools that put Anne Arundel at 11th out of 24, Pittman will suggest a new school system recruiting slogan: “More than mediocre.”
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley announces 1980s Scottish-Australian rocker Colin Hay from Men at Work will serve as the next Annapolis Poet Laureate. “Living in a land down under / Where women glow and men plunder (yeah).”
Buckley will explain the choice by saying he’s tired of being the only one with an Aussie accent.
Hay will decline the offer musically by singing, “Who can it be now?”
The Annapolis Blues Soccer Club, a National Premier Soccer League expansion team, will play its first game at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.
Five fans in the crowd for the game will understand the offsides rule.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation announces it has selected a new steward for its Holly Beach Farm Preserve near Annapolis, the Naval Academy Athletic Association.
Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuck, still stinging from response to his efforts to save Greenbury Point across Whitehall Bay for retired admirals working on their putting, announces plans for a really cool Frisbee golf course.
“Steward” Pittman says he’d prefer a county park on the site.
Sailor Oyster Bar reopens after the devastating fire in 2022. No joke. The owners hope that’s the date. No word on how long the beloved baloney sandwich will last on the first night back in business.
Addressing a continuing shortage of school bus drivers, Anne Arundel County Public Schools announces it will check out Bird scooters for all students in Annapolis who live less than five miles from their schools.
Fleets of students will immediately accept the offer, and every morning and afternoon they will flock down Forest Drive, West Street and Bay Ridge Drive on the way to class.
Neighbors will complain about all the scooters left on the ground while students are conjugating verbs using their grammar apps.
The Annapolis Blue Grass Festival and Annapolis Songwriter Festival return with a mission to write a new state song for Maryland.
Promoters end the events by jointly announcing plans for the 2024 Annapolis Sing Along for easily distracted people who can’t carry a tune.
The Annapolis fall boatshows (it’s one word in Annapolis) return to City Dock like the swans to Capistrano (just go with it).
The biggest draw this year will be The Ark, a giant, luxury pontoon boat capable of holding two of each species considered cute enough to rescue from climate change-driven floods and extinctions.
Mayor Buckley will announce plans to buy the boat for his latest idea, a ferry to the Italian restaurant on West Street — Carpaccio— because of the similarity in names.
Gov. Wes Moore announces he will step back from his predecessor’s commitment to a third Chesapeake Bay Bridge at Sandy Point.
After seeing the success of the Anne Arundel schools Bird scooter loan program, he names Davidsonville stunt driver Travis Pastrana his new secretary of transportation.
As Thanksgiving nears, Annapolis will announce plans for a swan festival to promote the replacement of traditional turkey with its waterfowl equivalent, mute swans.
No comment from the swans.
The Midshipmen will beat Army at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, taking the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 2019.
Naval Academy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuck will announce his retirement in the locker room immediately after the game.
That’s it. It will be quiet the next 12 months.
You never know what will happen, but it probably won’t be most of these predictions.
Happy New Year.