In the so-so Clive Barker novel Imajica the character John Furie Zacharias, also known as Gentle, has been alive for over 200 years but without realising it, as his memories fade after ten years.
On discovering this fact and asked why he never realised his memory was incomplete he responds along the lines that firstly, no one can actually remember when things actually occurred – was a particular event five years ago or fifteen? – and secondly that no one really recalls memories older than ten years on a daily basis.
Today is my ten years working for the same employer. Besides 88 days half-pay long service leave, a crappy corporate token and a new lanyard I do get the odd situation of knowing exactly what I was like, doing and thinking in April 2000AD.
I had a crush on a girl called Megan. She worked in the IKEA cash office and twentieth-century-style-pirate that she was, once lent me the complete series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer recorded off the TV onto 4 hour VHS tapes (ads paused out) so I could watch it during the week after I got run over by a car. She was considered skittish around IKEA so I tried to think of a non-confrontational way to ask her out which ended up as “Would you mind if I asked you out to the movies and dinner sometime?”. Everyone thought that was pretty good but her answer was “Yes, I’d mind”. Pwn.
I didn’t own a mobile phone. I wouldn’t for another six months. I owned one phone for five years (Nokia 3210). Now I have a new phone every year and can’t walk from one room to the next without it. As a side effect of this condition, clothing without pockets annoys me.
I didn’t own a car and wouldn’t for another seven years.
I didn’t own a ukulele and wouldn’t for another nine years. I would have been hard pressed to tell you what a ukulele was or to spell it.
Apple products, especially their computers shat me. Mostly due to an “Apple bore” (more commonly known as Apple fanboys these days) who used to annoy me at work so I went out and purchased a computer off Gateway (fail) with a $2000 huge 19″ CRT monitor which would obviously last me ten years (fail, thanks LCD) on Windows Millennium Edition (fail). To reinstall Windows ME takes slightly longer than it takes to watch Titanic on VHS, which I did every six months for three years until I gave up and bought a dome-shaped swivel monitor iMac (win).
I remember for almost a year being stunned by my new job and new employer. Phone rep, no responsibility, more pay than IKEA plus a yearly bonus and instead of the ten to fourteen hour days that were the norm at IKEA, my employer made you log off and go home at the end of your shift. If you didn’t, it could throw the call routing off.
This led me to understand that, most of the time, working long hours was actually bullshit and started me on the long path towards realising my idle philosophy of life.
I weighed forty kilos less ten years ago than I do now. That means I’m 50% heavier than I was then (go on maths geniuses, you know you want to work it out). I guess spending half your day running around giant IKEA warehouses was actually good for you.
I was dreading the Sydney Olympics. It seemed to be a waste of time, money, completely corrupt (Kevan Gosper, I’m looking at you) and going to cause chaos. Until I caught the Olympic bug two weeks before and desperately purchased tickets… to the placing rounds of… handball. As it turns out I got to watch Argentina (qualified by being the South American champions 1999) and Australia (qualified by being… the host nation) battle it out for 15th and 16th, out of sixteen competitors. Argentina won big time.
I used a LOT of speed, about a gram a week. This it turns out is a beneficial parenting thing to have done, because now I’ll know in seconds if my daughters ever use coke, speed, pot or e’s. Really, ’twas all research.
That said, I had decided to give up all of the above. Sitting around a restaurant table at my 25th birthday, I looked around at everyone getting drunk and thought “Is this it?” I realised I really, really wanted to be a Dad and to start looking for a wife. Call centres are fun and after an especially fun 2000 in late 2001 I dated the almost-was Michelle, then a crazy person who shall remain nameless but now I kinda feel sorry for, then in early 2002 I met a cute girl I was supposed to coach to higher things at work named Kat.
Her first words to me were “You are doing that all wrong”. I just knew.
And of course, it led to my favourite video in the universe.