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New Years, 2000



It might seem like ancient history now but the Y2K phenomenon was alive and well, pre-new years, 2000. It was discussed and pondered day and night, and this increased in volume as we approached the first of the year.


Y2K, for those of you not familiar, was a great consternation regarding how computers worldwide that run so many essential services would adapt to changing numerically from 1999 to 2000 in their computational systems. Would their systems be able to handle this?! I recall vaguely, it did seem to inspire survivalist instincts in some - perhaps many - meaning a hoarding of the necessities; water, food, etc. It was a pretty wild time. Of course, we are well use to very unusual times these days…


In any event, I paid scant attention to all this. I was very busy with my two young boys; Paul - a one-year-old, and Joseph - age five. We were somewhat recent arrivals to St. Augustine, Florida; a darling town that became our new home after our foray overseas where we resided for a few years in the French West Indies on the gorgeous island of Guadeloupe. (I learned French there - at least I became conversationally adept and could understand it readily - and for that and other things I am very grateful!)


One evening, a few days before this crossing over into a whole new century, I was driving to a local grocery store to do the necessary shopping, and not all in response to some of the gloom and doom talk prevalent at that time. I was just doing my usual…


The kids were ensconced safely in the car’s back seat and all was well. As I drove, I turned on the car radio and, of course, the topic of the day was being discussed. A local personage who had really made this her main theme was nattering on about all the possible outcomes, and it did not paint a pretty picture.


Suddenly, I found myself paying much more attention to this broadcast and started feeling a growing concern. I had not bought nary an extra bottle of water or loaf of bread in honor of this frankly scary possibility.


You see, all along I did have this feeling all would be well regarding Y2K and I trusted largely this inner navigation. But, on this particular evening, I found myself straying from this sense of things and becoming increasingly concerned. “Gosh, maybe I should buy some water and extra provisions,” I thought.


As I was thinking these various thoughts - as I allowing myself to be pulled toward this new perception - I entered the grocery store parking lot and pulled in behind a car. The headlights were still on and, in that dark night, the beams revealed a bumper stinker right in front of me in clear sight.


“No fear,” it read. Nothing else.


My growing concern, in that moment, dissolved. It simply went away. Message received.


I turned off the car and proceeded into the grocery store with the kids to do my normal shopping.




Addendum: I am sure that Y2K happened seamlessly because many people worked hard to make it so. Thus, this concern served the purpose of inspiring the proper preparation so that all would go well. I am, in no way inferring that it was not something serious and substantial to be dealt with thoroughly. But, I guess I did sense beforehand everything would be fine. And, as far as I know, it was.


And, as New Years 2000 approached those far away lands (Australia, for instance) from us, we watched the coverage on CNN. It all progressed as it normally does. It was beautiful to behold.




Annie Kiyonaga


December 30, 2021


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