The 90s was
the last decade that felt kind of chill. Back then "chill" and
"laid back” were still acceptable default speeds. Even the most manic of us then would fit right in today.
The 90s had the internet, sure, but only for a little bit and only at
dial-up speeds. During that decade you were still really excited about getting
some email (any email!) in your inbox (AOL or Hotmail, of course). Spam came
through your front door, not through your cable modem.
Our entertainment was chill, too. We calmly expected at least one
"A very special episode of…" each season for each show, and we swallowed quite a few perfectly-timed sweeps of sappy piano background music during the those very special
moments ("I miss mom, too, Steph").
We were OK
with laugh tracks reminding us that stuff was funny. We were OK with our TV
stars wearing denim on top of denim ("Woa!").
We didn't have The Sopranos, or Breaking
Bad. We had NYPD Blue, which
gave us the most grotesque flesh we had seen on TV up until then: some chubby
guy's butt flaps in the shower. Ricky Martin's "Living the Vida Loca"
music video came out with a blurry silhoutte of a (maybe) naked woman in the
background, and that had to be edited out due to it being too scandalous–save for MTV, but they always played by their own rules.
We owned Tamagotchis, or at least we did for a few days until we couldn’t
stop killing them due to our neglect. (I got one just to impress the girl down the
street. My heart was obviously in the wrong place, Tamagotchi. Rest in peace,
The notion of being an Undecided voter or politically moderate was still generally a accepted thing. Vanilla was a good ice cream choice, as well as a good political philosophy.
Our President was so laid back that he went by fun nicknames like
"Bubba," and always kind of reminded us of Matthew Mcconaughey’s
character in Dazzed and Confused. “I tell ya, man, I
get older and they keep…”
We had Nirvana, Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, Fat Boy Slim, N'Sync,
98 Degrees, Eminem, and Moby all co-existing (save for the latter two) in
We had the Macarena, which, after we had fallen out of love with it, brought us all together in our collective shame and self-hatred.
You could still do stupid stuff with your friends and not fear
that one them had taken a picture/video/Vine'd it for future blackmail.
We used Walkmans, which meant we had to carry a separate briefcase
for all of our CDs. But we were cool with this, because that meant we had jams
for hours, or at least until the AAs crapped out.
Our Happy Meals during Halloween came in those orange plastic
buckets that were possibly made out of poisonous materials. We didn't care about that, though, while we scarfed down a 20-piece McNuggets.
The thing I miss the most about this decade is directly tied to this notion of being
calm, laid back, and going with the flow. It’s the loss of being lost. In the
90s you could still get lost, tell people that you were going somewhere for a
while and that you probably couldn’t be reached during that time, and people were
OK with that. No cell phones, no tablets, no mobile computers that were light
enough to carry for a prolonged period of time. You could be chill and not have
to worry about checking in, or feeling like you were missing out on something
simply because you were off the grid. Everything that mattered was right there
with you. The 90s was the last chance we had to live at this pace and not be pressured to crank up the speed or volume. You, me, and everybody have completely lost that sense of chill.
What about you? Any particular 90s memories/trends/shows that you