When it comes down to it, it always turns out that no one is in charge of the things that really matter.

In this quote, at the beginning of the story, Nathaniel is imagining what he will tell his grandchildren about the potential disaster y2k presented when many thought that the world’s computers would malfunction at the dawning of the new millennium. Nathaniel remembers the anxiety surrounding y2k because it seems pointless after the actual disaster of September 11, 2001. On the eve of the new millennium, nothing significant happened--airplanes didn't fall from the skies, stock markets didn't crash, and life continued on as normal. Even though comparing y2k and 9/11 is futile for Nathaniel, they are inexorably tied in his mind. The fact that “we humans cannot actually think ahead” encapsulates his greatest fear in his own life. Nathaniel, in the story, is trapped in a suspended state of passivity. He is unsure of his career, unable to connect with the girl he desires, and doesn't know what he'll do without his closest friends. Anxiety about the future pervades his perspective on the world and the futility of national and political predictions bothers his already aggravated sense of self.