Wednesday, January 04, 2017

slippery years

Years seem to slip by these days.

That is not the complaint of an old man. Well, it is. But not for the reason you think.

A friend of mine who lived in Minnesota once told me people in California looked so young because there are no seasons there. Days and months simply flow along with no differentiation in weather.

At least, that was his opinion. I now think he was on to something.

Take our lives in tropical coastal Mexico. Sure, there are some variations in the weather. Our mornings in January have a crispness to them that September mornings lack. But, other than that, our days tend to be rather similar with temperatures that match the percentage of votes the Democratic machine bosses in Chicago can produce.

Even the temporal milestones that once marked our lives have changed. I read my newspaper each morning on my Kindle. But the date at the top does not even register. What does it matter here whether it is Tuesday or Saturday? Or even January or July?

That thought struck me when I saw the sign at the top of this essay. 2017. What should I make of that? For all practical purposes, there is no difference between 2017 and 2009 for me. Denominating a year means next to nothing to me these days.

It once did. From a practical standpoint, the shift to a new year always presented me with a problem -- check-writing. For at least a month, I would use the dead year on my checks. At least once, a very dead year. In January 2005, I wrote a check for my lunch and slapped 1976 in the date line.

But that is no longer a problem. The concept of writing a check for lunch sounds about as arcane as asking a liveried footman to deliver my essays to your front door each morning.

There was a time when I would write four or five checks each day. No more. Other than the checks I once wrote to cover my rent in Villa Obreg
ón, I have not written a check in years. And I see no reason why I would write one in the future. At least, I hope that is the case. I have no idea if I even have a checkbook any more.

What once took a check is either paid in cash or electronically from my bank. That is one of the advantages of this computer age. And, with Quicken, I can tell you to the centavo how much it costs me to live in the house with no name.

A friend of mine, who writes a blog about her life in Barra de Navidad, is not a fan of electronics. She does have a certain sense of irony to use a computer to do so.

Her position is that electronic devices get in the way of relationships. That people are abandoning their face-to-face contacts in favor of some virtual chimera of "friendship." She contends the cost of lost experiences is far too high for the few benefits electronics afford.

She does have a point. In a way. But part of that is simply railing against inevitable change. Communications are always evolving. And they are just a tool. We use the tools to create our own destiny. Well, at least, the minuscule portion of our destinies over which we have some impact.

But I am happy to not worry any more about the changes of our day. The similarity of winter to summer does not bother me.

And I am more than content to never worry about what year it may be.

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