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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.