Just watched Tig Notaro’s new special and she does a really funny bit about the Indigo Girls and it reminded me of my first and best concert experience.
There wasn’t a lot of access to great music as a rural Southern kid. The local rock station, 102.9 KISS FM, was real heavy on Def Leppard and Guns ‘n’ Roses. Me and a few kids traded tapes that we recorded of music we found, and when the Indigo Girls hit, it was huge. Note that I had never met an out gay person in my life, nor even been informed that they existed. (Seriously, I can’t believe this was true, but I didn’t know about gay people until I was 15.)
I got my youngest aunt and uncle, who were pretty hip and lived near Atlanta so they knew who the Indigo Girls were, to take me to see them at the Fox Theatre, which is the most beautiful theatre. I’ve only been there once 26 years ago and I still think about its ceiling.
We got there and there was an opening band, also something I didn’t know about. The opening band was a punk band called Lay Quiet Awhile. Their lead singer, Danielle Howle, was amazing. She sang and shrieked and stage dove into the crowd and my mind was blown to shreds. This was the first punk music I’d heard and it slayed. I became an opening band man that night.
And then the Indigo Girls played and it was as amazing as you might imagine. Besides seeing the best show I’ve ever seen, I remember three things from that night. I found out about gay people. I’m still thankful that I found out there instead of at church. I remember that while I was in the men’s room at a urinal, a group of women ran into it declaring they were “liberating it for their use” and I was beyond terrified. And I remember this guy sitting right in front of me who kept trying to make out with his girlfriend and getting shut down so hard.
Today I was leaving the parking garage at work when I saw someone’s lights were on and their car was off. I leave my lights on all the time and run down my battery on the reg, so I decided to do the right thing and stop and see if I could turn their lights off. I walk up to the car – walking up to a car that is not yours feels extremely weird – and test the door handle. It opens and I turn off the lights and then the driver’s seat, which was reclined, flies up and a frightened older Asian man looks at me. I may have never jumped so high before. We stared at each other for a moment and then I said, “I’m sorry, I saw your lights were on” and then turned and booked it out of there. I am pretty certain I heard him say “Thank you,” but I am not completely sure.
Data Science at the Command Line This is a great book, whether you’re a command-line expert that’s interested in data science, a data scientist interested in the command-line, or just want to know how to use the shell better.
I had a really excellent birthday. On Saturday, the whole family spent the day together, going to Prairie Ridge Ecostation in Raleigh, and later getting ice cream after dinner. On Sunday, me and the boys got to spend the day together and went to see my friends at Emmaus Way, where we are talking about the inequalities in our communities. Today, I woke up to loaded biscuits, donuts, and time with the kids in the park with some of my favorite people. I ate a quarter of a watermelon, Korean BBQ, and churros and took a 90-minute nap. Crystal and the boys bought me a board game and some awesome travel clothes with hidden pockets. I got a high score on my favorite video game too at 1:30 this morning. This Labor Day weekend gets an A+.
Today was a strange day. I volunteered to canvass with Triangle SURJ, talking with neighbors about the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, the hate shown there, and the subsequent events in Durham – pulling down the Confederate monument, the anti-KKK rally. Talking to people I don’t know is one of my very least favorite things. It’s terrifying in a way that doesn’t make sense.
I only got to have two conversations. One was with a nice guy who agreed with me about most stuff, but hadn’t gotten involved yet in the fight against white supremacy. The second was with a guy about 10 years older than me that was conservative. He was disgusted with “violence on both sides” (his words) and had a lot of stuff to say about Black Lives Matter and the media. It was not always comfortable, but my role today was to listen and connect.
It was interesting to see how two people with similar backgrounds and information can deviate so much. He talked a lot about being Christian and how he thought no problems would be solved unless people turn to Christ. His conservatism was based in that. I told him how being Christian was the reason I was out trying to fight white supremacy, which I think got his attention a little. I felt a little weird saying that because I don’t like to call myself that term, but I wanted to connect and the term is technically correct.
Anyway, I spent at least a half hour talking to a guy with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag in his backyard about race and it didn’t go that bad.