I’ve been thinking a lot about 1999 lately, I’m not sure why. Something about that moment in time resonates with our current one.
In 99 we thought it was end of an era, the first move to a new century any of us under 100 had experienced, and the first into a new millennium in many a generation. But of course there was no big sudden change — the exciting chaos we’d been expecting never materialized, and we woke up on the first day of the “new era” a day older but the same as ever.
The real new era — for Americans at least — arrived a year, nine months, and ten days later. In some ways I feel like this country has never fully processed the trauma of 9/11. We had always felt invulnerable before that — we had lost in Vietnam, but that happened far away. You can trace a direct if somewhat blurry line between the wave of paranoia and finger-pointing that followed to our current hate-filled political condition. In that sense, the terrorists won.
Again, I’m not sure why I feel like we’re on the cusp of something similar. I’m no psychic or pundit. It would be nice to think some kind of positive change is the offing, though there’s little reason to think so. But hope springs eternal.
Anyway… you need to live your life one day at a time, don’t you? Tonight I will not be partying like it’s 1999. Back then I was in Seattle with some friends. We ate special brownies and watched fireworks while waiting for the great blackout to never happen. At one point I remember AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock’n’Roll” came blasting over the hill and I decided that it was the greatest song ever written. Later my friends wanted to go to bed but I was all amped up and wandered the neighborhood looking for parties to crash. I think I found a few but the whole thing is pretty vague. At some point I ambled back to Sky Command, my friend James’s redoubt at the top of Queen Anne Hill, and fell into a deep and I think peaceful slumber.
Tonight my beloved and I will be supping on a five-course tasting menu at the Carter House’s restaurant in Eureka, then ambling slowly to our room at the Inn. May even make it to midnight, who knows.
While we’re on the subject of 1999, here’s a song from that year that popped into my head for some reason. It’s a good one. Happy New Year, everybody!