Friday, December 04, 2009

The Most EVIL Decade in American History = My Twenties.

Have y'all seen this Time article?

So Time magazine has called the 2000s out as a chump. "Decade from hell," they cry.

I was perusing the article the other day, and I wondered if history would judge these last ten years the same. Then I pictured myself as a refreshingly young-looking octogenerian, at which time my grown grandkids would inquire: "Mom-Mom: what was it like to come of age in that hellacious period in America? Lo, how did you ever survive the plummeting home values?!?"

And I will sign wearily, sit back in my rocker, and tell them a story.

*Cue sunny bustling city scene, upbeat chipper score*

The decade began with an air of impending doom. All of the computers were going to explode, kids, as the date was moving from 9s? To zeroes. We seriously thought the world would end.

But then? It didn't. And I rang in the new year with wonderful friends at a dilapidated West Philly university house that was infested with mice, yet still was one of my favorite places to be in those days. It was magical, kiddies, with Steel Reserve bottles adorning the walls and a pool table. Snoop Dogg was often playing in the background. Just glorious.

Of course, your grandmother was also living in the most fabulous city in the world in those days. Did you know that? Still, there is no place like New York City. I was doing well in college; had a great job, and also an upcoming internship at a news station. Yes, kids, things were looking up.

But then of course, there was that day in September. You've studied it in your history classes. It shocked America to its core. Your old grandmother also had a hard time coming to terms with what she witnessed that morning. But the attacks also united Americans in a way that I'd never known before. We learned many lessons, from that day. In some ways, I think we're still learning, and perhaps always will be. Such is life.

And then, after that? Well, the economy dipped, just a bit, just in time for me to find my first job out of college. I made very little, but I still managed to rent my own apartment, and buy a charming little Hyundai named Emma. Of course, by this time, I'd moved back to Pennsylvania. I wasn't completely happy there. I had some unfinished business in a town 90 miles north of Philadelphia.

So I moved to Queens. And I can tell you, loves, it was one of the happiest times of my life. It's where your grandma's blog was started! You know, the one I still maintain today? Sure, I've still got only eight Google followers, but writing gives me great pleasure. Well, you know. You were there when I accepted that fourth Pulitzer. You heard my speech.

Oops - I digress! Where was I? Ah, Queens. Kids, have I told you about the Bohemian Beer Hall? I don't know how any decade can be described as hell when you've got Czech beers and brats in a European-style garden. But why I am telling you? You were at Grandpa's and my 50th anniversary celebration. It is a magical place, no?

It was when I was living in Queens that I feel in love with your grandfather. We'd only been dating a few weeks when he jetted off to Spain and Portugal. He was away when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It certainly was an awful natural disaster. Thankfully, we've not experienced anything like it since.

And what else happened that decade? Why, Grandpa and I saw the world. We visited places we'd only ever dreamed of: the Acropolis in Athens; the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We rode in tuk-tuks in Chiang Mai, and we explored ancient temples in Siem Reap. We beheld the pyramids at Giza, and the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. We snorkled in the Red Sea, and paid homage at Eva Peron's tomb at the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. We tried never to lose sight of how lucky we were in those days. We loved traveling so much, we never stopped. Why, when your mom was still very young, we took her to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. And when your father was just a boy, we climbed Kilimanjaro. People thought we were mad, but we know these trips are what helped your parents become the people they are today: Supreme Court justice and world-renowned archaeologist, respectively.

Amidst all of the traveling, your grandfather and I wed on a gorgeous beach in Punta Cana. Sure, we didn't speak Spanish, or understand the translator very well, but we laughed through the whole endeavor. And we honestly believe our marriage was legal. We've got the Spanish docs to prove it.

We spent time with wonderful friends and family in the 2000s. We were truly blessed to have so many people around who loved us, and whom we loved. Many traveled all the way to the Dominican to attend our wedding! It really was a lovely time.

Unfortunately, by the end of the decade, the economy tanked again. Health care reform was badly needed, and your granddad and I decided there was only one man for the job. The night President Barack Obama was elected was one of the happiest of my life. I had never felt so proud to be an American. Oh, to be sure, there was much work to be done, but your grandma is nothing if not optimistic. That man gave us hope: hope that we didn't need to accept the status quo; hope that we could effect change. I am proud to say, I never lost that feeling. Even the littlest acts can make a huge difference in this world. Remember that.

Oh! And then, in the twilight of my twenties, I learned I was pregnant. And that was equal parts horrendous, humbling, and awe-inspiring. But, you know how that turned out...

To sum up: suck it, Time. It's all about perspective.


Natasha said...

Hi there!
If Queens is the New Manhattan, Buenos Aires is the new Paris of South America! :)
I spent a great time last month in Buenos Aires. I found an apartment rental Buenos aires and stayed there for a month with my family.

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