Five years ago, my friend Paul showed me a great little video, a foreign-language short film about a woman who gets trapped in a time loop. It’s like Groundhog Day, if Groundhog Day were ten minutes long and featured gangsters, gun battles, and a young Greek woman replacing Bill Murray.
Fast-forward three or four years. I want to show someone the video, but I can’t find it. I haven’t saved it anywhere, I don’t remember the name, and I don’t know enough details to search for it successfully.
So I ask Paul.
He knows exactly the video I mean, but he can’t remember the title either, nor does he have it saved anywhere. So we both get to work interrogating Google.
Bear in mind, we both are (or were) professional computer programmers, both reasonably resourceful and creative, both highly motivated to find this little movie we both loved. We spent hours on this. I hunted through giant lists of media featuring time loops. I even posted to a subreddit dedicated to finding things whose name you can’t remember. No luck.
Fast-forward to yesterday. For whatever reason, I had the idea of hunting through my diary for this thing. (I’ve kept a journal more or less consistently, although not daily, since 2003.) I just searched for “Paul.” After sifting through hundreds of results, I finally came across this:
Friday, June 24, 2011
Also watched the short film Paul sent me about the girl who gets shot over and over – very cool. I mean, when I say it like that it doesn’t sound cool, but the actual film is cool.
No helpful details about the movie itself, but at least now I have a date, which is something. Maybe it was released in 2011. Armed with this possibility, I come back to Google, freshly determined to investigate every possible angle.
That’s when I realize I’ve missed the most important detail from my journal entry: Paul sent me. I’d been sure we watched it together in person, but sent suggests he emailed or IMed it to me. Fervently hoping for the former, I open my inbox (which I swear I had already tried) and go to that date…
Sure enough, there’s the link.
I went over to Paul’s house yesterday and we watched it again, for the first time in almost five years. It’s called “Dead on Time.”
And here it is:
Another story? For years – maybe a decade – I had this quote in my head. Something like: “It is said that humans are never satisfied. And this is said disparagingly, whereas it is one of our greatest strengths.”
I really wanted to find the actual quote, and the source, but here too Google came up empty. The fragments I remembered were just too vague, and the quote itself too obscure. (It probably didn’t help that I’d somehow gotten the erroneous notion it was from Arthur C. Clarke.)
And then, a few months ago, I was going through some of my grandma’s old stuff, including books. I picked up her old copy of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, flipped through it at random, and stumbled across this quote like thunder from the blue:
For it is said that humans are never satisfied, that you give them one thing and they want something more. And this is said in disparagement, whereas it is one of the greatest talents the species has and one that has made it superior to animals that are satisfied with what they have.
I had read The Pearl in high school, or thereabouts. Lost and found.
In an age of instant access to all information, it’s curiously frustrating to be unable to find something when you have enough information to describe it, and you know you’d recognize it. Somehow it feels like a cheat when the information exists and is available to the public, but you can’t have it.
And it’s that much sweeter when you finally find it again.