Today I will have lived on earth 26,567 days, at some point 637,608 hours will have passed, that’s over 2 billion seconds, and for the seventy-three March the thirds I have experienced, with all those, I can only remember a few events.
On this day last year, my daughter and her family were returning from a skiing holiday in Finland, when the plane encountered severe weather conditions. After a very tricky landing at Gatwick, the pilot received a spontaneous ovation.
My diary informs me that 5 years ago on 3 March I had Oat Crisps for breakfast, a marmalade sandwich with my grandson at the local play centre, and enjoyed a king prawn alfredo for my dinner. I drunk one cup of coffee along with my usual intake of tea.
I can predict with reasonable certainty just what I ate on Tuesday 3 March 1981 as it was Shrove Tuesday, or for the young Pancake Day.
Perusing the internet I discovered that the next year, on 3 March 1982, the Queen opened the ‘wonder of the modern world’, at the Barbican Centre’s inauguration, and given its controversial Brutalist architecture the centre’s administrator was the appropriately named Henry Wrong. The Barbican Centre replaced the 40 acre World War II bomb site of Cripplegate, which had destroyed the thriving rag trade, leaving only 48 persons still living in the area. It was this huge desolate area that I first witnessed when starting work some 20 years previously running errands for my employer.
But one event which occurred on 3 March I can recall with clarity. I know with certainty just where I was during the first six hours of 3 March 1972. It would be the birth of my first child, and just before the main event I had been rather roughly evicted from the ward as two doctors were summoned to extract my reluctant infant who had refused to come into this world via the usual channel.
That night, being the 1970s when industrial action was the default position of British industry, there was an overtime ban. No, I cannot remember the reason for the lack of cooperation, although if you had asked me at the time I doubt that I would have known then. It was Friday evening and my regular shift, and so I reported for a night’s work, much to the surprise of the works manager.
We go through life with the odd highlight or tragedy to remember, but one day you won’t need to keep a diary. One day you’ll be able to take pictures of everything, all the time, everywhere you go. One day scientists will be able to shrink a cheap digital camera small enough to be something you can wear, permanently and nigh invisibly.
Maybe it’ll be part of your clothes, like a lapel badge or something. Or something that hangs out of your ear like a Bluetooth headset or an earring. Or even part of a pair of glasses. It’ll be inexpensive, and affordable, and acceptable. And it’ll see everything you see, and record it all.
One day you’ll be able to record your entire life on video. The price of memory will come down so low that it’ll be feasible to keep a realtime lifelong video stream in the cloud, to refer back to whenever you like.
Imagine the convenience of being able to rewind to any point in your life and remind yourself of what you were doing. What was that website password you’ve suddenly forgotten? One day you’ll be able to go back and watch yourself typing it in. Hell, why blog? Your entire life and thoughts will be out there for everyone to peruse to their heart’s content. Why spend time watching cute kittens, when you could watch your work colleague or neighbour?
That impromptu sexist remark you made at work will get you the sack because everybody else will have recorded it. If you witness a crime, the police will summon you to court to send the guilty bastard down. Even now when any newsworthy or not newsworthy event happens everybody in the vicinity has captured it on their smart camera.
Just like now, and the minute you leave your London home everything being recorded by CCTV, one day the government will demand that everybody films their own lives and records the results on a biometric chip. The system will be introduced for ‘security reasons’, a secret police department will have the job of downloading the nation’s optical experiences and reviewing them for security transgressions.
If you’ve not done anything wrong, you’ll have nothing to fear. Honest. One day Big Brother will be watching what you see and seeing what you watch.