To everyone else, it's the year 2010 in America. To me, American time stops abruptly on August 1, 2004 when I boarded a plane for Shanghai and passed into a parallel universe for six years. This time warp is one of a million things that makes moving back home so bewildering. When I came back here, I subconsciously expected everything to be the same, but alas time marches on (even if does march a bit slower here in Cleveland).
If I seem a bit out-of-it, consider that in 2004:
- Bush was still sitting on his stolen throne, searching high and low for his weapons of mass-destruction. For me, there's been no temporarily-validating second term.
- Al Gore and John Edwards were worshipped as men of the highest character. I was crushing severely on both of them. Oh, how the mighty do fall.
- The only cell phone I used back then was an ancient Nokia roughly the size of a footlong Subway sandwich, and only then when on call for work. The iPhone was still three years away.
- We were all still waiting impatiently for the fifth Harry Potter book. Twilight and its ilk were yet unborn.
- A relative of mine whose car had been recently repossessed wowed the family when she obtained a mortgage to buy a house--sans downpayment.
- No one had ever heard of Sarah Palin or Barack O'Bama or Miley Cyrus.
- There had never been a Hurricane Katrina, a Boxing Day Tsunami, a Virginia Tech Massacre or a Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
- Gas prices in Cleveland were $1.69 per gallon.
- Saddam Hussain, Yasser Arafat, Christopher Reeve, Steve Irwin, Kenneth Lay, Peter Jennings, Anna Nicole Smith, Boris Yeltsin, Jerry Falwell, Benazir Bhutto, Charlton Heston, Dith Pran (of The Killing Fields fame), Heath Ledger, Sir Edmund Hillary, Patrick Swayze, Michael Jackson and Dennis Hopper were alive and well.
- Pluto was still a planet.
So you can see that's a load of cognitive dissonance to deal with. Don't worry, I'll get around to processing it all one of these days. Except for Pluto, which will always be a planet to me.