Shredding the Past

I’ve been sorting through some old tax files, trying to clear some space in my life. I expected it to be a tedious job, full of boring old tax forms and cheque stubs. What I wasn’t expecting was the life review that would take place. A lot has happened in the last dozen years. Many jobs. Bits and pieces of my personal history. I found a cheque stub from Organic Gardening magazine for an article I was commissioned to write for them. The first one I wrote, called Oh Shit, was rejected (because they had rules about the word shit) and I had to write another one. I sold the Oh Shit one to the Vancouver Sun for their Mix section. I had a cheque stub for that one too. Both of those articles were the start of my book on composting.

I was also very struck by the changes in my service providers, both for advances in technology and fees. In 1999, my monthly phone rental to BC Tel (yes, not yet Telus) was $34.81. Rogers Cable was $20.35. But get this, my internet server (UBC) cost me $12 a month! I now pay $112 for cable/phone and internet from a sole provider. BC Medical was $36 a month (now $57). BC Hydro was $28.57, now it’s almost $40. My courier charged $4 a delivery. Now it’s nearly $10. A postage stamp was 46 cents (now .59). My rent was $800 for a one bedroom corner suite with a view on the 10th floor of a Kitsilano high rise. Now similar units run around $1500. It cost $2.25 to ride the bus two zones, now it’s $2.50 for one zone. Translink used strips of paper that the drivers tore off at the time it would expire.

There were some other surprises. I still used a film camera and had my photos developed the old fashioned way! Booked my travel through a travel agent and paid with an enRoute card. Had bottled water delivered (tap water is now de rigeur in environmental circles). Shopped at Eaton’s downtown (before it became eatons, then Sears). I ate regularly at Picholine on Burrard (a great mom and pop lunch stop) and Ecco Il Pane on Broadway. All of these bits and pieces of my life are gone now, without a shred.


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