I've been playing around on Spotify, using the Billboard charts to make playlists of different years. Here's one from one of my favorite years, 1999, when I was 23: http://open.spotify.com/user/hteysko/playlist/46OKyZBEVMvR3fY2QtBWX0
Let me tell you about the coolness of my life at 23.
First off, in the spring of that year, I broke up with my longtime boyfriend Mark. We wound up breaking up several times before it finally took. He was a good guy, I'm sure he still is. It's just that, you know, I was 23 and I'd known him since I was 19, and life is too short to not spend your 20's doing crazy stuff that will make your grandkids cringe someday.
So that summer I moved to LA and lived in Koreatown, at 426 S. New Hampshire Ave, in this cool art-deco building from the 20's. It's where I spent the year before moving to London when I was 24, and that year will always be one of my favorites. My apartment had a fold-in-the-wall murphy bed, big windows with bars on (I'd hang plants from them), and a tiny kitchen with a tall ceiling. I was too broke to have a mattress when I first moved there, but after I found a job at a headhunting firm in LA, I saved up, and around October I had enough for a mattress.
On the day it was delivered, I woke up early and rode the bus (oh yeah, I didn't have a car) to the kmart on third (where The Grove is now) and bought a full bed set with a comforter, that I still sleep with to this day. I waited in the lobby for the mattress because my building was so ghetto that none of the buzzers worked. And once it was delivered, I walked to the Chinese place on the corner and got dinner, made up the bed, and spent the evening watching football and eating dinner in bed. Life was blissful.
(Here's a funny story - in the summer of 2005, before I met J, I went on a blind date with a guy who lived in that same building. It was too random for words. There are thousands of apartment buildings in LA and I wind up on a blind date with a guy who lives in the one I lived in five years before? Too strange. It kind of creeped me out, but I still went upstairs to his apartment anyway because I just had to get inside the building and see whether they'd changed the carpet. Plus he had a cute cat and I'm a sucker for cute cats.)
So anyway, there I am in my little studio apartment (which I really adored. I've never had an apartment I loved as much as that place) with the fold in the wall bed, and a mini-refrigerator because the big one that came with the place didn't work, and the building management never fixed it. Since I didn't have a car, I walked around with a fold-up grandma cart and took the bus to Trader Joe's, and I learned how to cook chicken.
There was an earthquake that fall that was strong enough to wake me up in the middle of the night. I was dreaming that a monster was shaking the bars on my windows, and I was pissed off at him for that. Then I woke up and realized it was an earthquake and ran to the doorway, but by then it was over. I woke my parents in Pennsylvania up in the middle of the night, though, to tell them I was ok in case it was on the news or something. They weren't impressed.
Blink 182 got popular with What's My Age Again, which coincidentally had lyrics in it about being 23, which I took as some kind of sign. Of what, I'm not sure.
I went on a couple of Very Bad Dates. With one guy, we had a good first date, and then he wanted me to come out and see him the next night, but it was late, and I was going to have to take, like, four buses to get to the Valley, and I was lazy and didn't care that much, so I wound up not going and falling asleep without calling him instead. He freaked out and called the police, reporting me missing, and they came banging on my door at 4am. Listen, I'm sorry I stood you up, whatever your name was, and I guess it was sweet of you to not want me to be dead somewhere, but had the thought not occurred to you that I was standing you up? Really?
Speaking of dating, I was so bad at it, that when a guy didn't call me back after I'd left him like, five messages, I assumed that he must have lost my number and I called him at work to give it to him. Seriously. Such a bad move. I'm glad that somewhere along the line I finally learned how to play it cool and not wear my heart on my sleeve. So that six years later, when J and I were on our third or fourth date, he was talking to somebody else and referred to me as his girlfriend, and I completely ignored it. And then a couple of hours later, at the end of the date, I quickly said, "I'm glad you called me your girlfriend," and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, and then walked out the door. It was the smoothest move I've ever pulled off, and he said that it was one of the things that officially hooked him.
And now, just an hour ago, he burped in my ear. I asked him why he did something so gross, and he said, "so your brain could smell my dinner."
We sure know how to be classy.