In which time plays a sick joke on me.

Printed 13/08/09.

You may remember (perhaps too vividly) that last week I revealed one of my proudest achievements to date: not having been sick in ten years. During a moment of reflection on the subject the other day, my flatmate pointed out that if I can hold out for just four more months, I will have gone the whole of the noughties without puking. That’s the first decade of the new millennium, entirely without my vomit. Does it get much more exciting?

Actually, it does, because then that set me thinking about the passage of time, and all the mystical questions held therein - specifically, what are we going to call the next decade? Of course the obvious answer is “the tens”. But then the obvious answer for this decade was “the zeros”, and look how well that panned out.“ Noughties” was meant to be the joke option, the term Top Gear and Chris Moyles and Nuts magazine would use while everyone else talked properly. Then what happened? It got bandied about a bit too much, we all forgot it sounded inherently ridiculous, and because apparently the whole nation secretly just wants to live in a big long Carry On movie, it stuck.

So do we have a more exciting option to wheel out in 2010? There’s “the teens”, which would give the decade all the glossy promise of an episode of Skins (and probably deliver something more like The Inbetweeners). But teenagers have enough attention as it is, and personally I’d rather not be reminded of my own dwindling youth every time I have to read the term in a paper.*

Particularly as I’ll be feeling haggard anyway. By being born when I was, I am destined to be perpetually slightly older than the century is – in the 2020s, I’ll be in my 30s, in the 40s, I’ll be in my 50s. It’s just so cruel.


Having our own twenties, however, I am very excited about. But that’s largely because I’m picturing it exactly like the last twenties. I know I’m going to be severely disappointed when the clock strikes 12 at New Year 2019 and people don’t immediately start bobbing their hair and dancing a unison Charleston. We could recreate the whole thing, but take all the bad bits out - gin cocktails for everyone, and nobody needs to die of TB anymore! Then roll on the 40s without war, the 60s without Cliff Richard and the 70s without all the polyester.

And if I can even make it through bootleg vodka, powdered egg and fondue without throwing up, I reckon I should get some sort of medal.

* How the Edwardians handled it I don’t know, but they probably had enough of a time having gout and fighting for women’s votes to fret about what we’d call the coming decade in TV nostalgia shows ninety years later. As it happens they got lucky, and we call it the First World War.

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Bravo family holiday minus two weeks! De-mould the wetsuits, tape the atlas back together, BUY THE KELLOGS VARIETY PACK! Yes, for everyone who has ever uttered the hasty phrase “make the most of it, this will be my last holiday with you people”, why not share in my bowl of word soup (with a nice slice of hat pie on the side)? Because right now, nothing is more exciting to me than the knowledge that in a fortnight, I will be eating a slightly flat cheese and pickle sandwich, punching each brother in democratic turns, and gazing wistfully at a sea. A sea that, in all honesty, isn’t really distinguishable from the sea we left behind several hundred miles ago, but that isn’t the point. Seeing a new bit of sea is always exciting, as are family holidays, and even more so when you know you aren’t paying for it.

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This week, I had actually intended to unleash all my built-up anger over the tabloid’s ludicrous treatment of Harriet Harman, and give you all to 700 words of my finest feminist ranting. Instead, I rather ran away with myself on the vomit-decade-naming-charleston-dancing issue. This by no means reflects on my priorities regarding gender equality, but rather on which I can type more easily while watching Mock the Week. I hope Harriet understands.