Four years ago I'd been in Houston for about three months and hated my life. I had left San Francisco just after Halloween to kick dope and apply to graduate school. The Shins' Chutes Too Narrow had come out recently and was in heavy rotation.
"Go back to your home town / Get your feet on the ground / and stop floating around..."
"You want to jump and dance / but you sat on your hands / and missed your only chance..."
My grad school applications were in and I did not want to get too settled because I did not intend to stick around long. I meant to head out to wherever-I-would-start-grad-school-in-th
That's the context in which I got an email from my friend Carvell. His band was playing as part of the Clamor Magazine music festival in Oakland. Not only that, the Clamor Music Festival was nationwide, in like 38 cities or something. So I checked Clamor's website and indeed, there was a show in Houston, at a place called the Mausoleum. Not only that, a band I'd been into some years prior, a band I'd gone to see at the Knitting Factory back in the day in NYC, the Free Radicals, were playing. Plus, it was a benefit for Houston Indymedia, so I figured I could plug into the local anarchist scene, make some friends, who knew, maybe even get laid.
That turned out to be the night I first met many people who would turn out to be some of my favorite bad ass hellraisers. Talk about not wanting to make friends I'd soon abandon--the cute nerdy girl who worked the door would turn out to be my longest-term lover to date. And I picked up a flyer for a Leap Day Reclaim the Streets the next day.
"It's your extra day," it read. "What are you going to do with it?"
I had been planning on going to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, that's what, but I thought I'd be able to do both. It was a rainy Sunday, I think. The party was going to be outdoors, but despite the rain, I wasn't going to miss it.
I got to the church where the meeting was supposed to be and nobody was there. Turned out I'd come an hour early, and now I wasn't so sure that I was going to be able to make it in time for the party after the meeting. So I ditched the meeting, and that turned out to be the right decision because it led me to the people who actually made me want to clean up.
I drove up to a traffic island in the Montrose. Some punks had strung Christmas lights (powered by a car battery) on a tree, and they were digging up soil in the rain. Planting flowers and melons--guerilla gardening. I met Travis that night--we started off by talking film. Jose and Rolando were there, as was Tish and Kayte and Sparki. Not sure who else.
That's what I did on my last Leap Day. Today I'm going to work, then meeting my advisor, then Critical Mass. Xtra Action Marching Band is playing later. Who knows...?