I Keep Forgetting What Year It Is

Arjun Basu
3 min readJun 24, 2021
Photo by Yung Chang on Unsplash

This is, quite obviously, a pandemic-related problem. Plus due to the fact I haven’t worked a “real” 9–5 type job since March 2020. And then due to the fact that days just melted into each other, weekends stopped making sense, the news was similar almost every day. I met the announcement of every day, every month, with surprise. When the calendar changed to 2021, I met the announcement of that with surprise as well. With wonder almost.

It used to be that you’d write a few cheques with the previous year on it, your bank would tell you, and the idea implanted itself. The resistance to the change in year was just a matter of muscle memory. But who writes cheques anymore? Everything’s online. What is a day on the internet? How does it look any different from any other day? And really, we’re not online so much as on our phones. And the phone never changes. It’s an eternal black box (well, my iPhone’s white and the case is black but you understand what I mean, and if you don’t you’re being difficult), unchanging (another thing: cell phones used to look different; it was part of the branding. Now? Not so much.). I have a calendar, and I use it — I’m a busy guy! — but the calendar is flat, unchanging; the calendar on my phone does not yield to the passage of time, nor does it acknowledge the seasons. It is a form into which to input data.

Today is a holiday in Quebec, the biggest one on the calendar, its unofficial birthday. A celebration of its difference and culture. Of itself. My beloved hockey team is playing upstart in these playoffs (here’s another thing — it’s the end of June and we’re playing hockey because of the late start to the season and this, too, is fucking up my internal clock) and can book a trip to the Stanley Cup finals tonight and the city is both in shock and loving every minute of it. On the other hand, there’s more news about the amazingly abhorrent discoveries of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at old residential schools. We’ve only “discovered” two of these graves and before long I fear these “discoveries” will be a daily occurrence. I’m not going to get into the residential schools here, but they were, quite openly, tools of genocide. Not just cultural genocide, but out and out genocide. This is Canada’s history. Its truth. Its foundation. The policies of Canada’s past and the reality of the school system have been…

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Arjun Basu

Writer. Complainer. I drink bourbon. I work in content, branding and strategy. Next novel, The Reeds, out in 2024. @arjunbasu in many places.