90s flashback – Jamaica and now

I drove a little van just like this when I lived in Jamaica. I was like a mad hatter on the road. I stretched this little van to its limits.

I guess I’ve been spoiled from the days back in Jamaica  when I would drive myself to a party no matter where it is without batting an eyelid.

Now living in NYC and acclimatized to using the subway system, I have not set foot to a gas pedal in about 10-11 years.  For my friends back in Jamaica who knew me as the person zipping between Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Negril or Kingston in TEEs3, a suzuki super carry, you would think this totally out of character– and I quite understand–because I feel the same way too!

Partying in Jamaica back then was about doing the macarena, the bogle, and “cent-5-cent-10-cent-dollar” dances all in one night while gulping down multiples of appleton and coke, heinekin, long island iced-tea or a screw-driver. It was a sweaty affair, with tons of flirting, slurred conversations that you’d forget the next morning–and  you’d drive yourself back home, so I guess it was also pretty dangerous. It was pretty normal to drink and drive and seat belts?! What the heck was that back then? No one thought to put them on.  If someone got in your car and put on a seat belt you knew that person had either lived abroad (outside of Jamaica) or they were not Jamaican.

Nowadays, most of my hanging out almost always happen in Manhattan, after work.  And because I live in an outer borough, this means that each morning when I get dressed, somewhere in the back of my mind I prepare for the possibility that I may go out after work drinks or for a quick bite  with a friend.  This doesn’t always happen but a girl has to always be prepared.

Yesterday was one of those days for after work socializing. A dear friend had his post birthday party combined with a worthy cause (raising funds for Haiti earthquake victims). You very seldom live in the same neighborhood as your friends so have to be prepared for either solo expensive cab ride or soldier-up to the idea of taking a 45 minute subway ride THEN hop in a cab to get home. Either way it takes preparation.  Ok, so I’m prepared and my sister decides to come a long to support the party.

Michael Bivins founder and member of R&B group New Edition and Hip Hop group Bell Biv Devoe helped to created the 90s flashback party scene

The 90s scene was in full swing by the time we arrived.  The music–something from the new jack city era–was blasting away while Michael Bivins of Bell Biv Devoe, was sitting off in a corner chilling. Groups of mostly biz-to-after-work attired 30 somethings were either head bopping, sipping on their chosen “spirit”, or trying their darndest to chat with friends old and new.

It was an easy party for most because for one, the music playing was something they knew, and obviously harkened back to a time when one was carefree and thought nothing much more than to party and party some more.  With each music change, a new group of 30 somethings would take the lead with setting the tone of the party by singing along or  reaching into their memory bank to break out dance moves from yesteryear. Suit clad men, sexy after-work attire women were in perfect sync dancing or swaying along to the music.

My sis and I were standing on the sidelines. Yes we are a part of the 30 somethings but a combination of new territory and perfect strangers cast us in the role of observers.  It was then while looking around the room that I turned to my sister as if I had an epiphany, and mentioned that this was our kind of crowd an this was our era’s music. She looked at me and laughed not because she disagreed. It was a laugh to say “you’re absolutely right’.  We both then took our time to look around the room, I mean to really look as  true observers, and it dawned on me that we were of a generation that already has teenagers as children and some may even have grandchildren– how did time fly by so fast?

Not only did it fly by, it’s almost a distant memory!  I can barely remember episodes of Sister, Sister on TV, or Baywatch. I know you may be thinking of shows like Seinfeld, but it’s not hard to forget those that are  still in rotation and I could go on and on…but the party really did give me a 90s flashback not only for being there and the music, but it forced me to dig deep to remember snippets of myself or a time that was burrowed so deep it could almost seem to be a dream.

What was the 90s like for you?

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