Monday, June 26, 2006

Gone Missing

By Patricia Smiley

Lately things have gone missing.

Like digital photos…

Last Tuesday I spoke at the Rancho Park-Palms Library with Harley Jane Kozak. We shared a lot of laughs with a great group of mystery fans using a blend of information sharing and dog-and-pony show. The fabulous Maggie and Susan represented the library and our beloved Bobby from The Mystery Bookstore sold books.

I brought along my camera to capture the event for posterity. Tragically, the pictures went missing. Disappeared inside the computer, never to be found again.

On Saturday I realized that the nineties were missing, too…

The deadline for my third book is looming large. In the weeks before I turn in a manuscript I become obsessive, so for the past few weeks I’ve been writing like a mad woman, polishing, revising, and tweaking my prose.

I often write late at night at which time the gerbil on the wheel in my brain refuses to stop running even when my body says enough already. When this happens, I can’t sleep and random thoughts pop into my head. Brilliant thoughts. Useless thoughts. Funny thoughts. I always think I’ll remember the brilliant ones but I seldom do, so I’ve trained myself to write everything down on a tablet that I keep beside my bed. I have to admit that when I read my notes the next day, a large percentage of them lean toward useless, but occasionally one surprises me.

Saturday night the gerbil was working overtime. Brilliant, useless, funny thoughts were all swirling together in the vortex inside my head. Quite suddenly one muscled its way out of the pack and screamed, “Remember the 1990s?”

Huh? Actually, I didn’t. Prior decades were there, the early school years, high school, college, graduate school, the torrid love affairs of my twenties, the crappy jobs, turning twenty-six and feeling that the best part of life had passed me by. Events from 2000 on were pretty clear. But my 90s database was empty. I mean, nothing. Zip. Nada. A whole decade. Gone missing without a trace. I felt like Jason Bourne waking up one morning and finding that huge chunks of his past had disappeared.

Then I began to wonder. Does anybody remember the 90s? If you do, please clue me in. What happened and was I there?


  1. Patty, you were there. Otherwise you wouldn't be here...

    I remember the '90s. I got married (although I usually have to really think to remember which year because the brain cells are quickly disintegrating) and I became a parent of a beautiful little toddler in China (I do remember that year). The '80s are actually somewhat spotty for me. But I think that's more by choice.

  2. Ah Patty, I remember the 90's through a veil of equatorial rain and ferns as big as a car. The nineties began my "Years of Living Dangerously," when I moved to Asia (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Saigon, Sydney) and commuted to see my husband in San Francisco.

  3. Oh my gosh! The 90s rocked. You so remember them. I know you do.

    Grunge. Kurt Cobain. Garage bands. Lalapalooza. Lilith Fair. Doc Martens. (Gosh but I miss my Docs!) The explosion of Starbucks. (I'll have a tall iced latte with the shot on the side, please. Think about that.) Bra straps outside of shirts. Cars with rounded edges. Princess Di and conspiracy theories. Grilled ahi tuna. Sablefish. Pulp Fiction and, with it, the remergence of John Travolta and the emergence of the trunk cam.

    I'll stop now. I'm gettin' all nostalgic.

  4. The nineties... I've HEARD of those......

  5. Omigosh! It's all coming back to me like a bad trip. Thanks, guys!

  6. Debutante Cornelia said:

    "The nineties... I've HEARD of those......"

    No, darling. Never mind. We were not talking about a classic six in the high nineties. It's a whole different deal.

  7. Linda, I'm intrigued. A classic six in the high nineties? Is that deb patois? Like a secret handshake?

  8. Naw: New York speak, actually. (But it sounded fun in deb context, dontcha think?) A classic six is a six room apartment in post war building in the City. I'm not sure if they have them in the high nineties (Which is, what? Columbus Circle?) but, like I said: it sounded fun.

    And, Patty: I didn't tell you before, but I'm sorry you lost your photos. I hate it when stuff like that happens.

  9. Thanks for the photo sympathy, Linda. Sheesh! I'm going back to my old-fashioned camera that has real film.