Something I’ve noticed about the years: each one has a number, and the numbers are consecutive. It’s a reasonable enough system, I guess, but it has its drawbacks. When you’re keeping count, every new year marches in with an aura of grim inevitability. Hardly anyone was surprised when 2017 came along. We’d suspected it would show up eventually—very likely after 2016.
It’s a fact that some years are just catchier than others. Like brand-name drugs, their numbers vibrate with potential energy, the hale assurance that big things are in store. Think of 2020: what a sleek, hard oval of a year, summoning perfect vision, effortless duplication. You can chant 2020. You could found a religion around it. Or 2000, the perennial favorite—always and forever the year of the future, of slimming jumpsuits in flame-retardant synthetic fibers. Read More