Sarah O'Connor

Writer – Playwright – Cannot Save You From The Robot Apocalypse

I still have my New Year’s jar from 2019 filled and unopened on the shelf by my bed. I was too lazy to open it on New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t nostalgic enough to want to look back at the past year. But quarantine has made me nostalgic for the stupidest things: for grocery shopping without arrows telling me which aisles to go down and full shelves in every aisle, for making lame small talk with my customers and inside jokes with my co-workers, to seeing and laughing with my friends and doing nothing but watching a move in a full theatre, to a time when I could walk by a stranger without either of us shrinking away in fear.

There’s lots to be nostalgic about, so why not look back at the last year, at the things that were fun, the things I took for granted, the things I’ve already forgotten about:

  1. The tiniest shot glass I’ve ever seen and an even tinier jar of white glitter: from a surprise birthday party my friend’s threw for my sister and I in December. I never though anyone would throw me a surprise party, I never knew how many people cared about me. I am still surprised by this love; I try to hold onto it in isolation.
  2. A large silver hooped earring: I found it on the floor of a club during the Harry Potter Pub Crawl. Earlier in the night I’d realized I’d lost my own earring, a deep-blue rose stud. My friend joked that I now had a replacement.
  3. A broken spatula: I can’t fully remember the night only that it was at my friend’s house and I was helping her girlfriend make a vegan cheese dip. I used my friend’s spatula to take the cream cheese out and the spatula snapped in my hand. They all laughed at the calm way I talked about the break, how I kept the broken piece for my jar.
  4. A yellow sticky note with a birthday message: “Happy Birthday Sarah! Hope you feel loved and celebrated today! You’re so great! <3” From my co-worker, left on her computer monitor as her shift ended and mine began. She gave me a hug and decorated the sticky note with a pink, green, and yellow highlighter flagged banner. It made me feel so loved, and I’m so awkward when people show me love that I didn’t know what to say only that I felt like I would burst, that I might cry with how happy I was. I kept the sticky note on my monitor for my entire shift and kept it stuck to my notebook even longer before filling that up and folding up the note and putting it in my jar.
  5. A small clear stick: ???
  6. A decorated flamingo topper: from an event I attended at my work just as I was being trained. It was themed for the book that was chosen to read that year, I think the flamingo used to be attached to the clear plastic stick mentioned above.
  7. An empty bag of Oreo thin bites, mint flavoured: One of the customers I’ve helped on the phone came to visit me at work and gave me a treat. It made me feel so happy and blessed, plus they were so good! It still smells like mint. I need to buy more.
  8. A red D20 dice: I got it from one of those dollar machines at Storm Crow Manor after Fan Expo, I didn’t go to the actual Con but I did bus down to the restaurant after. It was so cool inside, every nerds dream. I hope they remain open after all this.
  9. Zombieland 2 movie ticket: I saw more movies than that in 2019 but this might be the only ticket I have.
  10. A crumpled napkin that smells like lemon: Your guess is as good as mine.
  11. A small piece of red tissue paper: ???
  12. Pop’s Turkey Point Miniature Golf (18 Holes) Score card: Went to Turkey Point in the summer and as well as swimming and getting burnt bright red also played mini golf with friends (I placed 3rd out of 4).
  13. Tim Hortons Caffeine Free Peppermint Tea tag: During some of our meetings in my playwriting unit some of the group members bought everyone tea.
  14. Booksmart movie ticket: Nevermind I put more movie tickets in here. Also, Booksmart is amazing!
  15. Envelope that once had tickets to a book event I attended: Where I got the flamingo and clear stick from, I won the tickets in a Facebook Giveaway.
  16. Yesterday movie ticket: Self-explanatory, not a big fan of the movie.
  17. Isn’t It Romantic? movie ticket: I was DD and we couldn’t fit all my friends in the car so one of my friends hid in the trunk under a blanket. It’s not as bad as it sounds, I have a hatchback.
  18. Captain Marvel move ticket: Look at all these movie tickets!
  19. A long green streamer from Little Shop of Horrors in Stratford: Saw Little Shop of Horrors in Stratford and it was amazing! At the end green streamers shot out into the audience to symbolize the plants taking over the room, my sister and I each took one.
  20. Pussy willow fuzz: When I worked at the farm, one of the fuzzes fell off and I took it. It’s still soft and grey.
  21. GritLit volunteer name tag: Pretty self explanatory, I was going to volunteer again this year but it was postponed online so volunteers aren’t really needed.
  22. A notecard from last year’s HamilTEN: “Sarah, I am so proud of you for getting into HamilTEN twice! I am honoured to be apart of this play. Mom would be so proud!” “You have done such an admirable tribute to mom and to us. Brava, Sarah. – Dad” Two notes from my family about my show Beep in HamilTEN.

Things not in the jar that I remember:

  1. Went to IKEA with a friend for the first time since I was like 3, worth the trip, I want everything in IKEA with extra meatballs please.
  2. Saw Cats the movie with a large group of friends and got yelled at by other people watching (maybe 4, it wasn’t a full theatre) for talking before the movie started and after it ended even though we were silent while the actual movie was playing.

It’s a good pile of memories. I’ve started filling the jar with memories from this year, though I know it will be pretty empty. But I have a few things from before all this happened, a cookie wrapper when my friend gave me a surprise visit at work and got me a snack, a bag that was filled with cookies as an Easter surprise during quarantine, an envelope from when another one of my friend’s sent me a letter, a sticky note with the date of when social distancing began.

It will be an interesting year, one we’ll all remember whether I put little bits of junk in a jar or not, and I’m curious where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing when I open this jar and look back.


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