Back in the 20th century, decades were easy to name. “Eighties,” “Nineties,” etc. But what do you call the first decade of the century? The “Zeros”? And the upcoming decade…is that the “Teens”? At any rate, a decade is changing, and we need to give the one that is passing a name so we can make sweeping generalizations about it. One old-fashioned suggestion is the “Aughts.” Other folks have suggested the “Naughts.” But I like the guy who suggested the “Naughties.”
Now before I wax sentimental about what Life in the Naughties was for me, let me throw my two cents in on the issue of whether, in fact, the decade *is* actually changing. There is a contingent that thinks 2010 falls into the Naughties, and not the Teens. They’re the same group that thinks the 21st century started in 2001.
Any computer programmer will tell you, you don’t start counting at 1, you start counting at 0. When a child is born, we don’t instantly declare him or her one year old, we wait a year. For the first year of their life, they are 0 years old. Likewise, the first year of the century is 2000, and the first year of the upcoming decade is 2010.
So, about those Naughties. I don’t know what people will say about “America in the Naughties” or “the World in the Naughties,” but the Naughties for me began shortly after I left academia and moved to San Francisco. I lived in SF for another seven years, worked at the same job, moved a few times, bought my first home. Then, in 2007, I moved to Arizona and bought my second home.
In the Naughties, I entered my forties.
In the Naughties, my writing was hit and miss. I worked hard with a writing coach to finish the novel I started in 1993, then buried it away on a computer disc and spent the subsequent years writing and completing a “tour-de-force” website (not my words) and a couple fan fiction epics (my words, hee).
In the Naughties, there were dates and girlfriends, but no one really special, which was disappointing. I gained a sister-in-law, a nephew, a niece, a grandnephew, and lost an aunt, a cat I had for nearly two decades, and my father. My sister became estranged from the family.
And in the Naughties, I made a lot of friends. When I contemplate what was different about life before the year 2000 and life now, the one thing that seems to characterize this decade for me was ATPo. ATPo was officially born on Jan. 1st, 1999, but it sat on the interwebs for another year and a half before the discussion board was added (June, 2000). After that came the ATPo Posters, and then the Move to Live Journal, and then the Gatherings. There were kerfuffles and our patented Takeovers Of Threads Started By Trolls, essays on the shows that were actually (Long) when warned to be so, group fan fiction and Scythe-Murders to initiate new members.
When I think of the Naughties, I will think of spending entire weekends on ATPo episode analyses when I should have been dating, and wonderful spaghetti dinners cooked by midnightsjane and washed down with fresne‘s wine. I will think of atpotch skipping through Queens. I will think of the train ride I took one August to get from the ATPo gathering in Chicago to my brother’s wedding in Denver, with a stop-over to visit ann1962. I will think of friends on the internet wondering where I was–and how I was–the night “Origin” aired. I will think of a lo-tech website I created ending up on a cable television show.
When this decade started, there was no such thing as an ATPoer. In 2006, I was hanging out with “old friends I had met for the first time” in England and France (like londonkds, ninerva, and etrangere). Today, I am thinking about how life can take odd left turns that change everything.