Iím sure all of you remember the months leading up to Y2K. There was a certain panic in the air that lent a sense of urgency to everything.
I could definitely see this sense of urgency at work. CompuCom was working double-time to get everything ready for the big rollover. Global emails were being sent out almost every day asking people to make sure this was taken care of, or that whatever system was up-to-date. And besides the internal processes making themselves apparent, we also had every clientís process to worry about.
My favorite memo from this time period was one discussing the "skeleton crew" who would be present the night of the change. "If the buses are not running, arrange for alternative transportation and you will be compensated."
I can tell you right now, if the busses arenít running, Iíve got much bigger things to worry about than making it to work on time. But management was worried about the rollover.
I worry more about my odometer rolling over to 100K then I do about some computer knowing what year it is. It wasnít like planes were going to fall out of the sky or the water and power would suddenly stop. I knew the chip in my car didnít care what year it was, just how many months it had been since someone checked the engine. Water pumps donít count the year; they could how many gallons have gone by in how many seconds. I was reserving my worry for systems that did care what the year was. I worried more about my debt card not working, or my driverís license expiring.
A friend of ours actually set up an old 386 to run OS/2. His big plan was to have a live web-cast of the machine as it crashed. He set up a web-cam to watch the monitor and put up a cheap page with a countdown timer and a 32-point font invitation to "WATCH IT CRASH". He told me later it never crashed out. He did reboot it later and it reset to 1982 for whatever reason, but it never fully crashed.
Philís parentís had just moved back to Sherman at this time and hadnít sold their house in Richardson yet. Well, it was going through the process of changing hands, but there was like, three weeks to go before all the keys had to be handed over. Phil talked it over with his folks and they agreed that was a great place for a Y2K New Yearís Eve party.
Which meant we had to bring everything we were going to need: toilet paper, chairs, a cooler, a stereo, everything.
And we informed our friends of thisóbring whatever it is you need to be comfortable. Donít gripe about the lack of chairs if you didnít bring one. Bring an extra roll of TP while youíre at it. This is a potluck party.
Actually, the original idea for the party was to do everything in camo-webing and footlockers. Sort of a "Y2K bunker" party. I personally think themed get-togethers are lame and decorating sounded expensive. Anyway, if everything really did go belly-up, it wouldnít be so funny, would it? No! There we would be, in a big stupid house in Richardson, looking at our feet and wondering what anyone in Richardson would need with a footlocker. Kitty-bags would have made more sense.
AnywayÖwe had our party. Phil and I had claimed the master bedroom by hyenaís right and I had made up a bed in there with an inflatable air-mattress. I found out later the damn thing had a leak in it and we chucked it in a dumpster the next day. But for the mean time, it looked pretty good and seemed to be holding its own.
We managed to avoid most of the drama you get at these things. Trix cut his hand pretty fierce trying to open a beer bottle with a jack-knife. That wasnít too much drama. Raven and Brackman got is a shouting match (actually, Raven did all the shouting). Actually, Brakman had already gotten himself banned from three other houses before he crossed the line with me. I donít remember who had invited him. Raven was sort of a flake anywayÖ
We didnít really get into things until someone started a game of "I Can". Itís pretty simple in nature, you just name off the things you can do.
"I can keep bees."
"I can splint a broken leg."
"I can build a pump-less plumbing system."
So on and so forth. We were all waiting for the world to come to an end and were justifying our existence with each other. I donít know why I know as many carnivorous people as I do, but the game was really an excuse to explain why so-and-so should be eaten right away. "Thatís the only way he could really service the communityóproviding a good, protein-rich meal."
And then later it was "100 Years Ago" which is where you try to figure out what you would be like if it was 100 years ago. Where would you be? What would you do for a living? What would your relationship with your parents be like?
Well, my mom would die in childbirth, I wouldnít have a little sisteróor I would from when my dad remarried, weíd probably live in Galveston (because Dadís a news-man), and I would either have three kids by now or I would have died in the hurricane.
And thatís one of the things about that gameóyou have to be pretty honest with why you are the way you are. What experiences lead you to your present state of being? Would you be different without school? Without the net? Itís an awful game. I donít suggest playing it.
And as it is with all parties, thereís that wind-down period where everyone is just sitting on the floor talking about their childhood or something lame like that. Iíve seen this multiple times and I swear to god, itís not my fault. I didnít start the stupid "tell me your history" bullshit. And I may never be able to listen to anything by Enigma again. I swear. I am so sick of that CD. Iíve heard too many people just go on and on about it, but you try to stay awake in a candle-lit room where that CD is on endless repeat. I dare you. Meanwhile youíve got some chick going on about her outsider theories and how sheíd "always been sensitive to the spiritual world" and who is this chick anyway? Who invited her? Oh you did? Never bring her within 50 yards of me again.
And "someoneís sleeping in my bed" and could you remove her, please? And I donít care if she is tired. I told you to bring what you needed to make yourself comfortable and anyway thatís my bed and it will be much nicer if you wake her up than if I do.
On New Yearís Day, I walked down to the convenience store on the corner and bought a pack of cigarettes with a credit card.
The world was safe after all.
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