January is drawing to a close now. So much for more writing this year. I think I’ve found the solution, but there’ll be more on that story later. Now that it’s nearly the end of the month, I find I’m getting used to the idea of it being 2008. I suppose it helps that my current day job requires my constantly writing the date on forms. It’s odd how much we construct psychologically around mere numbers. Even in December, this year seemed an impossibly long way away. In fact, the part of me that’s still a child is wondering how the hell it got to be 2008 at all. Back when I was a kid (and probably back when you were one, I’ll warrant) the next century seemed like the distant future. It was the nineties, it had been the eighties and those two digits denoting the century seemed like a constant. Then, all of a sudden, those numbers changed.

We’d been imagining the future for a while in comics and films and it’s hard not to feel cheated at the absence of flying cars. Instead, things carry on as normal or just get odd. Doctor Who is back on the TV and is as popular as it was in the sixties and seventies, if not more. In the video format war, the son of the LaserDisc has pulled a bizarre surprise victory while VHS was still celebrating kicking Betamax’s ass. The end of the Cold War and the demise of the IRA looked like peace for a while, yet now world policy is being dictated by a war against Islamic terrorism and religious extremism on all sides. Even atheism is becoming more aggressive as a school of religious thought. It feels like the world’s turned upside-down; I don’t think anyone predicted this future.

On the other hand, we’re living in a fairly logical continuation of the twentieth century. Even the world-changing event that was 9/11 is only the flash-point of a war that Al-Qaeda declared on the West in 1998. It’s just that number, 2000, and the hopeful future it represented that makes modern life seem so strange and bleak.

Back in the early middle ages, we didn’t count the years like this. Only the nobility really counted at all and Bede was the first to count from the birth of Christ. Before his system took root, we counted from the reign of the current monarch. I know that’s a bit difficult for democracies like America, but for me there’s something compelling about thinking of this year as being 56. Or maybe I should join the peasantry and only think of the flow of seasons and perhaps, occasionally, the number of winters I’ve lived through. Numbers are silly anyway…


~ by Scary Rob on 28 January, 2008.

One Response to “2008”

  1. I still write 2006 sometimes, I was only just getting used to 2007, and then 2008 showed up. Time is flying !!

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