Tue, Dec
20
2011

The Insensitivity of Numbers

I don’t know if it’s because my friends and I are rapidly approaching (or have passed) that landmark age of 40, but the talk around here has been about anniversaries, and how suddenly younger a lot of adults are these days. Earlier this week, Erin encountered a barista who said that she missed “innocence of the 90s” and that “now the future is upon us, and it kinda sucks.”

Our friend Cameron Dixon was over on the weekend and we got to talking about this subject, especially with Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary looming in the wings. And he said the problem was a matter of math. The numbers increase when we aren’t looking. Days go by and, all of a sudden, that big event that you remember as if it was yesterday is suddenly five years ago or more.

And, he’s right. I remember the first time that I officially felt old. I was working at the University of Waterloo — had been for a few months — and the admin assistant in our department announced to our co-workers that she was getting married. Now, she was a few years younger than me, and younger than many people get married these days, but still, she was twenty-one. That wasn’t what made me feel old.

No. What made me feel old was the fact that she’d been born in 1980. I remembered 1980. I remembered people who had been born in 1980 being born in 1980. How was it that somebody born in 1980 was now old enough to get married?

The really scary thing is? For those of you doing the math, that little memory occurred ten years ago.

God, I’m getting old.


On This Day

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