We’re just about halfway through the last year of this decade, if’n you can believe it, which means we’ll soon be bombarded with TV specials and Web articles called “The Aughts: Was it Worth It?” and “2000-2010: The More Things Changed, the More They Stayed the Same”. In these articles, you will hear/read thousands of words dedicated to empty topics like “The Web Came of Age” and “Apocalypse Believed”.
None of these pieces, however, will do what it most important for the decade, which is to embody the feel of the time. The unspoken flavor, the ambient mood, the ineffable color that will come to mind years from now when our memory cooks it to its inevitable reduction. You can see this sort of thinking all the time when someone asks how a party was, and the reply was “god, it was so eighties.”
I’ve got a few working descriptions of America in the aughts (if that’s even what we’re calling it), but it has way too many swear words, and I need to cool down a bit. But I thought I’d dash off some Rorschach-esque, top-of-my-head descriptions of the decades I’ve experienced, just so I can understand how reductive my own memory has been.
dirty toenails, dandruff, long straight hair
analog, record needles, apple trees, red, brown, yellow
“Seasons in the Sun”, “Right Down the Line”, “Magnet and Steel”
diving boards, humidity, brown leather, mattresses, candles
vertical hold, static, windshield wipers, Orange Push-Ups
macramé, hanging plants, Butterick sewing patterns, cinnamon.
dark black plastic, pink lettering, overexposed days, infrared night
sharp crisp curls, burgundy, chartreuse and Chartreuse
eyeliner, inverted triangles, OP shorts, oversized buttondowns
thighs, shoulder blades, chin, breasts
“I Can Dream About You”, “Driven to Tears”, “Tell It To My Heart”, “This Charming Man”
Coke, Millipede, Walkman, movie theater butter, distraction.
coats with shorts, snow, mist, flannel tied around waist
beige, metal, industry, rings, confusion, loud choruses
layers, forbidden areas, failure, bleakness, hyperventilating laughter
organic, musty, electronic, medicated, lost, digital, restless
“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”, “Plush”, “Connected”, “Say No Go”, “Six Underground”
connection, frustration, redemption, modem squeal.
Anybody else want to try?