PART ONE: "When Vinegar was just Sugar"
I’m thinking the “peak” historic moments of my childhood were 1) School-Shootings 2) Outsourcing 3) Towers 4) War (especially in relation to GitMo, Patriot Act, suspension of the writ of HB) and lastly 5) Housing-Crash.
Born about when The Wall fell, my childhood was a social a shit-storm. I know, I’m sure the context clues would beg to differ, but it’s true. I’m not sure if my first memory is of a battered-women’s shelter or me eating a giant chocolate Easter egg on the hitch of a mobile home.
I was diagnosed as both dyslexic and gifted/talented rather young. The school handled this by pulling me out of the classroom to attend “special-ed” as frequently as they pulled me out to attend “G/T.” After Columbine, I figured out that my parents were Atheists. Alienation 101.
Dad was a general-contractor and my mom watered plants in office buildings until the early waves of white-collar outsourcing arrived. My mom had a sense of humor about it. “They didn’t give a shit in the ’70’s!” In typical bureaucratic ineptitude, my mother was employed, watering plants, long after the office buildings were empty of office-workers. She would steal plants and “office art” to sell at yard-sales. Our house was a jungle.
The parents were about to list the house to move up north when “The Day the Towers Fell.” That house wouldn’t sell for a dime while the nation was flying their stupid everywhere.
So they rented the house, and we moved to the northern hills for a year.
Then we moved back to that house for 9-months while my dad tried to spruce it up.
Then we moved back to the northern hills again.
At around 15, I talked to a classmate who was going to get her mother-fucking GED and get the fuck out of childhood.
Alas, mom wouldn’t sign off for a GED, but she did pay cash for me to take some summer college classes so that I could skip my senior year of high school. Fundamentally, I took an Environmental Science class my Junior year; the teacher praised my humanitarianism and recommended that I read Daniel Quinn.
In college, I did that thing. You know. Campus-Activism. War-time campus activism (it was so gritty, struggling between buffets at the cafeteria).
Quite a ways away, Virginia Tech happened. Over the summer break, a private banker funded the campus security with SWAT training, automatic rifles, a surveillance van. Of course I stuck my fucking nose all up in that. I got my name in the paper speculating about how it wasn’t so much about our safety as it was to get the presidential debate on campus.
What do you know: there was a billing error.
Campus said that they had failed to bill me for something from a previous semester, and I needed to pay a couple grand before I could come back. I didn’t fight it. I was burning-out, getting that mean kind of lazy, and ready to…
Tune In, Turn On, and DROP-OUT.
I didn’t actually know what that meant, so I just got a wage job and hung out with pot-head feminists (GSA, hit it!)
Partied and what-not when I found the house-show scene. Or, my best friend started dating a guy who booked shows. Best-bud and I moved out of the college town to The City, right smack in the middle of a well-established DIY music scene.
Like, the bands crashed at our house. I got rides to house-shows two to four times A WEEK. You could get high just walking through the living room. I was 19. I was seeing people organize a project that, geographically and technologically, felt too big to organize. My friend and I were hospitality and door-money petitioners.
When my friend broke up with the Prince of DIY, we were both kicked out of the project. Fuck ‘em. Girl Power.
Unfortunately, I’d started writing letters to one of those damn traveling musicians before the expulsion. It didn’t take much friction between me and my friend before I peaced-out and moved a bit further west.
Long story short, it didn’t work out between me and Homebumb. And neither did the inforshop in that town. BUT WTF IS AN INFOSHOP?
The established crew mostly had future-cuts or practical man hair. I thought, “They wear a lot of black and brown.” Tattered silk slips over cut-off shorts, leather hip-packs, pocket knives. They knew about herbs (other herbs). They split wood (with mauls and hatchets). They drank tea from glass mason jars.
I think it was the fourth time that I visited the infoshop that I got a copy of the key and they all bounced. Don’t worry, I wasn’t on the lease.
There was a second outsider who took over interacting with documents and accounts, and, together, we would attempt to come up with 1,200 dollars a month to pay the commercial rent and utilities. I flew a sign, but it wasn’t enough. The info shop lasted two months. Weird times.
The second outsider was an anti-civ permaculture wing-nut, and I would later let them pick out my kid’s middle name. They had five acres out in the county and a truck.
FUCKING DROP OUT YEAH!
End Part One.