The year ended in a flurry, much like other years. I had a brief moment of confusion a week before December 31 when, while talking to a friend, I realized that I had no recollection of what I was doing on New Years’ Eve last year. I remembered 2013 (Rob Delaney at the Improv), and 2012 (insert snort of laughter here, pun intended), but 2014 was a chunk of white noise that refuses to budge from its position of stubborn opacity.
That made me realize the virtues of regular blogging. Even Facebooking, for that matter, but I locked that gate months ago. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the key, but it’s not a garden I want to visit any time soon. The only positive thing that came out of Facebook this year was a message from my English professor in college. We switched to email like civilized people, and hopefully our conversation will continue with minimal distraction from shiny New Yorker links and week-old reddit images. But regular blogging, ah. That feels like the kind of ramshackle garden that Enid Blyton protagonists wander into when they are off visiting their grandmother for their summer vacation. I am bemused about this blog, to be honest. There is a lady that reads it regularly, and then began emailing me with alarming regularity, referring to incidents and books and pop culture shit that I mention. That in itself is not bad – but then the tone of her emails got weird, like crazy-bat-shit weird, and I learnt that she was sending similar emails to friends I know.
What I did was what social media allows all of us to do: I put all her emails up on a different (public) blog without her identifying details, sent her the link, and said that any new emails she sends will go up on that blog with her personal details intact. That stopped her – for a time. She is now sending me mails to my alternate account, from a different mail ID. What am I doing about it? Nothing, because I am lazy. But I will soon.
What I am trying to get at is – there has always been a filter on my blog-writing, where I am consciously avoiding personal details – what I do, the things that really matter – in the favor of a more generic Rave/Rant/Boast template with occasional bits of eyeroll-worthy talk of the 80s and 90s thrown in. This particular person’s deranged attempts to insinuate herself into my life through scattered bits of information on this blog makes it even harder for me to project any form of myself online. It is not like there is much meaning or substance in these digital detritus that we leave behind, but it is hard even to take a dump when you are making my skin crawl. Do you get it, S?
Coming back to my lack of any recollection of New Year’s Eve 2014. It was probably no mere coincidence that my favorite episode of the six-episode Brit series Black Mirror was ‘The Entire History of You’, which like the rest of the series, talks about a future that feels disconcertingly close, like it may happen next year, or in the next five years. In this particular episode, everybody has an implant that allows them to record every second of their lives, and replay it anytime they feel like it. What sells the sci-fi is not just the attention to detail – like the peculiar terminology that seems to be ingrained (pun sort of intended) into the culture, or the way users interface with the product. What really sells it is the story that the writers of the show weave around this device – a night and a morning in the life of a couple who are visiting old friends. It would be a pity to give anything more away, but ‘The Entire History Of You’ got me into thinking more about memories and nostalgia and what we really remember. Then I saw the trailer to Still Alice, and that made me wonder morbidly about Alzheimer’s and early onset.
For the record, I could not remember the name Still Alice, and it took me a few seconds to remember that it was not Susan Sarandon in it, but Julianne Moore.
But New Years’ Eve 2015 should be easy to remember. I stayed home, and ran a few miles in the evening, and the air felt crisp and New Yearsy, and the lights shimmered around the Marina in time with the dance beats that were echoing from the boats. I went further than I ever had, and found a new route back home. Then I made myself some popcorn and watched Love Actually, and nearly stopped watching it when I realized that Hugh Grant was the British Prime Minister and the guy from the Walking Dead (Andrew Lincoln, which I remembered) had a British accent. But I did not, partly because the movie was going away from Netflix today and I had already passed my good-movie quota of the day by watching Populaire that afternoon to celebrate the New Year on Greenwich Mean Time.
And then I fell asleep.