Nineteen Ninety Nine 12.08.19
‘Forget gelato, donuts, boiled lollies, bread—even bread Ned!’
Dorcas’ alarm wasn’t helping Ned’s paralysing fear of living out the rest of his life on a sugar restricted diet; he’d only spent the past 47 years perfecting his gelato recipe, having picked up secrets on the Mediterranean trade route with the Merchant Navy in the 1940s. He didn’t know what was worse— giving up his one pleasure in life or warnings about the Millennium Bug that could impact his sales and inventory software, threatening absolute chaos to his careful stocktake of flavours for his sweet enterprise.
Dorcas maintained less than six degrees of separation from people who had died from any condition you could think of, and she felt it was her civic duty to raise alarm for the sake of good health. She worked part time at Pleasant Gardens, a semi-assisted retirement village and absorbed second and third hand medical knowledge from snippets of conversation between patients and their occasional medical staff. At the gelataria, her job was to keep the books, nothing spectacularly different to her services elsewhere, but Ned also gave her the bonus responsibility to name new flavours.
were some favourites, but with the countdown to year end (calendar, not financial) at the forefront of her mind, she’d fallen into a negative slump and lost the knack for three syllable promises that could roll off customers’ salivating tongues. The only three syllables behind anything she muttered were ‘we are doomed’, adding the challenge of ‘low-sugar’ to their preparation of a makeshift millennium bunker in the basement of the gelataria. The time she’d spent writing out potential gelato flavour names on her black board were now invested in compiling a list of suitable tinned foods and other non-perishables that didn’t require the addition of energy or water, or result in the dispensation of excess sugar. There would only be so long they could survive on gelato, pragmatically because it would all melt and go rancid quickly without power, and pathologically because Ned wouldn’t be able to eat enough of it to sustain him AND maintain his blood sugar levels well below 5 mmol/L, taking Dorcas back to her school days of titration and pipettes before Sister Patricia insisted a life of office administration was more suitable. Tuna, small packets of shelf-stable milk, water crackers, kidney beans. That was what they would live on once the clock hit midnight in 176 days, 4 hours, 22 minutes, ringing in the chaos of the year 2000.
This was a fun one to write and edit. If you would like to see the accompanying sketch, check out my Instagram @10000hoursleft – connect for occasional insta-only posts and stories of life, meals and observed oddities and the like. How did you see in the year 2000? Did you or your employer go to any extreme lenghts to ensure you weren’t defeated by the dreaded Y2K?