Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Looking at this giant NYT "Documenting the Decade" slide show prompted me to jot down a few things I remember about the last ten years. For what it's worth, here goes...

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge at 2 AM and convincing my friend K to take a chance on R, who we'd just met on an icy pitched (!) Brooklyn rooftop while watching fireworks greet the decade, even though he was drunk. "A lot of people drink too much on New Years," I told her. "It doesn't necessarily mean he's got a problem. Go on one date." They're married now.

Sitting there, stupefied, as the clerk read the Supreme Court verdict in Bush v. Gore and thinking we'd entered some sort of Banana-Republicanesque territory (as we had).

Getting laid off.

Listening to my colleague E shriek, "Washington is in flames!" outside the West 50th Street lobby of our borg on 9/11, but thinking that there were probably a lot of rumors and suggesting that we find a TV or radio to see what was what. Not being quite able to grasp that one of the buildings had collapsed and blurting out the words, "Son of a bitch!" when I finally did. Comforting some of the young women with whom I worked and telling them to walk home together to Astoria over the 59th Street bridge. Experiencing my only moment of real fear that day on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, outside Carnegie Hall, when I heard (very loud) planes (F-15s? F-16s?) overhead followed by a Con Ed guy saying, "Don't worry. Those are ours. Go home," which I did. Worrying about my childhood friend D and his wife R, who lived across the street from the WTC until I heard from him at about 5 PM that day. Receiving dozens of emails from fellow New Yorkers with the subject line, "Okay?" or "Alright?" that afternoon and evening. Hearing from people from disparate parts of my life (and the planet) who came out of the woodwork to check up on me over the course of the next few days.

Watching HAZMAT units roll up to NBC from my borg window. Hearing the breaking news -- and being scared out of my wits -- about anthrax.

Attending a Howard Dean "Sleepless Summer" rally in Bryant Park with my friend J.

Knowing the blackout was big because of the way the power went down/out (out for a second and straining several times to power back up as the system tried to draw power from other parts of the grid), only to go completely out a few seconds later). Walking around my neighborhood, experiencing the party in the streets. Buying my first $0.25 ice cream cone. Feeling my way up the stairs after dark. Listening to the quiet and realizing that when a dog in one building would bark, dogs all over the neighborhood would bark in response.

Thinking that the 2004 GOP convention was a slap in the face to New Yorkers (which it was) and giving the finger and silently mouthing the words "Fuck you" to a couple of attendees in full Bush regalia on the subway. Hoping they'd dine out on the story back in Texas for the rest of their lives. Getting the hell out of Union Square because NYPD looked as though it was poised to start rounding up people. Nodding my head, years later, when reading about the damages the city was forced to pay to people held illegally round up and detained during the convention.

Discovering Left Blogistan.

Sharing disbelief and despair with fellow New Yorkers on the subway the day after Kerry conceded.

Feeling conflicted when John Paul II died.

Spending the day Republican operative Jeff Gannon was unmasked as a prostitute by John Aravosis in the comments section at Eschaton. Still the funniest day I've ever spent in Left Blogistan.

Reading the exhilarating prologue to Don DeLillo's Underworld on the boardwalk at Brighton Beach while sipping gin and tonic from a Thermos.

Skipping law school commencement in order to avoid the the pro-Iraq war wingnut speaker, and listening to my Arab classmate, in tears, tell me how his talk hurt her parents.

Reading about Mikhail Khodorovsky.

Screaming, "Drop them some fucking water!" at my television as I watched Katrina-desperate New Orleanians on their rooftops hold signs asking for help.

Standing under an umbrella in Madison Square Park, drinking vanilla milkshakes with friends R and J, just after being sworn to the New York bar.

Visiting the North American Pontifical College in Rome.

Reading about Anna Politkovskaya.

Seeing the Tribute in Light.

Watching the 2006 midterm returns. Hope ...

Seeing and hearing a Stealth Bomber fly above my building.

Being invited to blog at Rising Hegemon.

Seeing "There Will Be Blood" three times in a movie theater.

Going on an incredibly fun string of dates in September, October, and November of 2007.

Telling a stereotypical loony New York mom who was harassing employees at my local bagel place that the only thing her poor kid was allergic to was her.

Getting an ambush makeover courtesy of a lovely drag queen on New Year's eve.

Hearing Joe Scarborough react to news of Benazir Bhutto's assassination by saying, "This plays well for Rudy Giuliani".

Canceling cable TV.

Visiting old and making new friends in Chicago.

Tiring of the 2008 (and still ongoing in some respects) Democratic primary wars.

Shaking hands with and saying, "Best of luck, Senator" to Barack Obama at a rally in a union hall in New York as women squealed for kisses. (Thanks, CoT!)

Standing outside the New York governor's office on the cold day he resigned and feeling absolutely snookered and genuinely let down by Eliot Spitzer.

Watching Lehman employees remove boxes of personal effects from their offices with my siblings from a Utah hotel room.

Being momentarily frightened at my first glimpse of Sarah Palin ... and feeling enormous relief in the days thereafter as she opened her mouth again and again and again.

Driving up Amsterdam Avenue minutes after the networks called it for Obama and watching people spill out of bars, cheering and chanting "Yes We Can!", hugging and high-fiving strangers, beaming and crying.

Watching the Obama family take the stage and finally losing it myself as I thought, "They're such a good-looking couple and the kids are so cute and it's finally over!"

Hearing celebratory chants outside my apartment until 2 AM.

Being blown away by the transformation of my father's childhood home, Williamsburg.

Seeing the revival of "Hair" with watertiger and her lovely mum.

Clapping and cheering with my colleagues as Obama was inaugurated.

Attending the ordination (and attendant celebrations) of a Catholic priest.

Driving cross-country from Seattle to New York by way of Vancouver, Banff, Glacier National Park, Bozeman, Rapid City, Milwaukee, Ontario, and Niagara Falls (among other stops).

Shedding tears for Ted Kennedy, who'd felt a part of my life since childhood.

Trying to maintain hope ...

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