Well, for better or for worse, the world didn’t end. I was in New York, where I had been told to expect terrorist attacks, power and water failures and delays in getting cabs. But no, the transition from 12-31-1999 to 1-1-2000 seemed like a relatively calm affair, at least for a thousand-years-in-the-waiting event. And who was surprised, really? Nothing can quite ruin the anticipated as much as media hype, and Y2K had as much publicity as anything this side of, what was the name of that film, Godzilla?
But the turning of the calendar and its inevitable “not with a bang but a whimper” denouement did get me thinking. Ten centuries ago a Saxon canoness who called herself Hrotsvit the Strong Voice of Gandersheim was writing the first plays in the Christian tradition. In one, an evil pagan named Dulcitius locks three pious virgins in a pantry. When he comes to molest them, Dulcitius is miraculously deceived, and ends up kissing and groping a bunch of soot-stained pots and pans.
As a parable of bad ideas badly executed, Dulcitius’ “Go for booty, Wind up sooty” evening was probably akin to the experience of many on New Year’s Eve. Partying like it’s 1999 is a lot harder when it actually is 1999. So, as a gesture to human failings, and to various millennium-inspired themes much anticipated plans, the promise of technology, the future of sex this week’s selection is from Charles Bukowski, recounting his tryst with a virtual lover. In the story, Bukowski’s expectations, like a lot of people’s over the weekend, were, in a word, inflated.