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Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait

Cynthia had just shown me the bathroom, and then regaled me with the ethical details of her booking gig. From what I can tell, she books about three or four shows a month. As she goes on, I glance over at my boyfriend who had removed himself from the crowd and swayed gently to the music. Cynthia tells me how corporate America is killing good music. Apparently, both Mutiny Café and the High-Dive are trash. I guess I enjoy trash. The only bands she books are, in her words, “the most edgy bands.” I can’t help but wonder what “edge” means to her.

In my experience, the most edgy people are those who work a nine-to-five, breaking rocks for a living. I wonder if they’d connect to the experimental pop we’re listening to. I put to Cynthia that bands don’t need to be edgy if that’s not who they are. There’s nothing wrong with a good bit of rock ‘n’ roll and a cheap beer. She disagrees. She’s clearly drunk and I can’t fault her for that, so I exit the situation. Of course, our conversation rings in my head. Maybe I’m not open-minded enough about the music floating around the Baker neighborhood. I did, to my discredit, kind of trash a few people to the punk band out back. “It’s more synth punk,” someone corrects me out front. All I know is that I could bang my head to the drums. 

I thanked the drummer for letting me release all my pent-up energy. He and his bassist sat out back smoking a joint. They sat there quietly aware that they’d be free of the state and all its inhabitants in a matter of days. I thanked them again, but I could tell they just wanted to rest and go to bed so I left, and passed Cynthia again in the hall. Everyone had avoided her the entire night, and now I know why.

One bad person can ruin an entire vibe: the words haunt me like a specter. It’s easy enough to fall into that hole and all the more difficult to climb back out. I haven’t figured it out yet. I need more time. Tonight, I’m just glad it isn’t me.

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