Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Decade According to Steph

So we're already a month and change into 2010 and I'm still trying to figure out what will culturally standout about the last decade. Some people are saying the last decade isn't over yet. I think those people need to form a math club for purists and just keep to themselves.

Event wise a lot happened: 9/11, devasating hurricanes, the first black president. But culturally? What will be our bellbottoms? Our Beatles? Our neon leg warmers and Madonnas? I still haven't quite figured out what we took out of the nineties. People keep saying grunge, but I think it's just because they don't know either. Kurt Cobain just cannot be the cultural lynchpin of an entire decade.

So in the absence of any insight on what was culturally important to the world in the last decade, I'm going to focus on a more important analysis. The decade according to Steph. Here are some random moments from my last ten years.

2000: 12:02 am, January 1st, Madrid. I am nearly crushed in a crowd of rowdy Spaniards shouting Ole! My feet leave the ground momentarily. My life passses before my eyes, and inexplicably, it's in Spanish, so I don't understand any of it.

2001: My boss calls me in the morning before I go in to work, asks if I've seen the news. I turn on the TV to silent journalists and two crumbling towers in New York. I start to cry uncontrollably.

2002: Danny reminds me to put on my "poker face" before we go look at houses, so we'll be able to negotiate a better price. It turns out I don't exactly have a poker face. The third house we walk into I gush, "Oh my god I love it!" The following month we're living in it.

2003: It is four days before my wedding and my mother-in-law has come up to visit. I've left my to-do list on the kitchen table. She takes one look at it and says, "If I had a to-do list that long I'd shoot myself."

2004: I am in a hospital room. Every surface is covered in paper and plastic. A nurse in gloves and a surgical mask takes a pill out of a lead box. The pill will fill me with a radioactive substance that will eat my cancer away. She watches me swallow it. Three days later she measures me with a Geiger counter and tells me I can go home.

2005: I'm sitting on freezing concrete with eight other women, blocking the entrance to the FDA headquarters. Officers from the Deparment of Homeland Security are standing behind us. Reporters in front of us. I've worn my favorite low-rise jeans. As the officers get ready to drag me to the armored truck, I can't stop wondering if my butt crack is showing.

2006: It is the sixth month in a row I think I am pregnant and the sixth month in a row I am not. I have memorized all the signs and symptoms of early pregancy, and I have all of them, every month. I take the little plastic EPT test and smash it under the heel of my shoe like the irritating vermin that it is.

2007: Danny and I are sitting on a sidewalk in Chelsea, sharing a burrito. We're waiting with a hundred other people to get into a tiny improv theater underneath Gristede's grocery store. When we get inside we see that the surprise special guests are Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers. We decide that having dinner on a surface that was likely peed on recently--was totally worth it.

2008: Alisa and I are in an apartment decorated by old superman sheets and cartoon character lunchboxes. We've responded to an ad that said, "Puppet Band needs members: Will train." We sit on a couch watching two men introduce us to various alien puppets. An IV bag filled with red liquid hangs on the wall behind us.

2009: I'm eating quesadillas in a Moscow restaurant, sitting underneath a large wagon wheel. The only words the server and I have in common are, "hello" and "thank you." My heart is broken into a thousand tiny pieces that sit uncomfortably in my chest. I am numb with loss, but I look up on the wall and see a framed picture of Donald Duck, and it makes me laugh.

All in all, it's been a good decade. Sure, I've had some radiation, some heartache, and been sliced open two or three times, but all that pales in comparison to the amount of living, loving and laughing I did in the past ten years.

Some predictions for the next decade. At some point I will:
-Have poop on my hands and not care
-Paint a room red
-Buy a strobe light
-love someone so much I can't see straight
-meet a C-list celebrity
-eat a kiwi
-star in an infomercial


MsLisaL said...

You made me cry, once again. Thank you for being such an amazing writer.

ContraWhit said...

I cried with you, Lisa and Steph.

Steph, you are an amazing person and have helped me so much this decade--and I only met you in 2007.

((((love you))))

Candi said...

Yep, tearing up myself, and at parts laughing out loud (it's still OK to actually spell things out in this decade right). You have an uncanny ability to bring a person right to a moment with all its awkward vulnerability, randomness, and hilarity. What an amazing writer you have become this decade! Let's not forget you have improved your craft immensely, among many other accomplishments and trials.

Alisa said...

Good beats, my friend, good beats...

Anonymous said...

Did you eat those burritos off the floor off of the sidewalk, because that might not make it worth it.

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Kornopolous said... can strike "meeting a C-list celebrity" off your list now!

I am that C-list celebrity; I was an extra in "On Deadly Ground" overacted, directed and under written, by Steven Segal

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