TWO BOTTLES EACH OF RED WINE and champagne later -- not
including martinis -- we woke up and greeted 2000 A.D. a bit wobbly on
our pegs, but happy. Once the dishes were done, it really started to look
like a bright new year. Looking out the window, the landscape distinctly
lacked hovercars or geodesic domes, but there was a brief flash of sun
and the cold, crisp air at least made things seem clean.
Later, while walking around the neighbourhood, I felt
the first sharp pang of time shifting forward, when I found myself talking
about "the last century" while trying to make some vague historical/sociological point. The last century, I was suddenly aware, was the 20th -- I was referring to the Nineteenth. This was, clearly, going to take some getting used to. For thirty-five years, I'd felt like I had a stake in a time that included the Somme, Lindbergh, bread lines, Hiroshima, Elvis, Woodstock, herpes, wine bars and chat rooms, even if I only had tactile experience with the last three or so.
Now, suddenly, Herbert Hoover and Benito Mussolini and
Marilyn Monroe had slipped into the same grainy, sepia past as Gladstone
and Louis Napoleon and Sarah Bernhardt. I was sure of only two things --
that Kubrick probably died to spare himself the humiliation of having 2001:
A Space Odyssey archly ridiculed as "optimistic", and that antique
dealers were going to make more off the millenium in the long run than
Y2K consultants. The future sure didn't look like we thought it would,
but the past had suddenly leapfrogged a few more decades closer, and there
were an awful lot more antiques out there today than yesterday.
No -- there are no jet packs or moon spas or robot kitchens,
but we have left one arbitrary hundred year set behind for another, and
it's going to take some time before I have the knack of remembering that
it's now a neat century since Queen Victoria and the Boer War and the Boxer
Rebellion. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was living in the
future, and it was fucking with my head.