Thursday, October 4, 2012

I want to spend more time at/around Howard.

I went to this cool kind of snazzy event with some coworkers after work today, Phillips after 5. (Link for DC-based readers.) It's an event The Phillips Gallery holds on the first Thursday of every month, with live music, art, refreshments, and live performances. The kid's dance company that performed the dance to MJ's "Thriller" was pretty great, and I really liked the jazz band that performed tonight.

What does any of this have to do with Howard, you might be wondering. Well after a subset of us museum-goers ventured to Shake Shack for dinner, I decided to ride the trusty old G2 bus home while they all got on the metro. The bus took foooorever to show up, and I contemplated giving up and walking the 15 blocks home instead. But my mother convinced me to stay and wait, and like a good daughter, I listened.

My little sister called me while I was on the bus, and I was only half-listening to her while I eavesdropped on the conversation of three young Black people across the aisle from me. I was drawn to them because one of the girls was absolutely gorgeous, and I could have been content to spend that twenty minute bus ride alternating between appreciating her beauty and ogling the ass of the guy she was talking to.

They were talking about religion. The other girl (3rd person in the 3-person party) was saying that she's a combination Christian and Buddhist. She's "trying to be a Buddhist but it's just so hard!" I didn't hear why--I went back to listening to my sister. But a minute or two later, the beautiful girl made a comment about how the church is always preaching humility, but have you SEEN some of those churches?! Talk about ego! I laughed outright, but was disguised by the fact that I was on the phone. 

I got off of the phone with my sister and began pointedly looking the other way so that I might better pretend I wasn't listening to their every word  when the beautiful girl said something else hilarious. Talking to the second girl, she said, "But you're okay because you go to Howard. Black people looooooove Howard!" I laughed outright again, and this time they noticed me. She said, "It's true!" I agreed, and the guy asked me if I go to Howard. I'm never sure when the HBCU v. Ivy thing is going to be an issue or not, so I tried to get away with just saying that no, I don't go to Howard. Where do you go, he asked. I went to Princeton--I graduated in June. They all but fell out on the ground congratulating me, and the guy turned to face me too, officially including me in the conversation.  The guy and the second girl both go to Howard, while the beautiful girl just graduated from UCBerkeley.

The second girl was trying to get the beautiful girl and the guy to go to a Kendrick Lamar concert with her on the 22nd at the Howard Theater. I mentioned that I love that theater, and how disappointed I was that the Emeli Sande tour has been postponed because I was pumped to see her on Monday. The beautiful girl was surprised that I knew Emeli Sande, and the second girl said that she had recently been on an all-neo-soul-all-the-time groove. The beautiful girl asked her if she knew any of Bilal's music, and the second girl put a look on her face like, Who? I told her she should remedy that. The beautiful girl laughed. The second girl said she was really into a lot of instrumental things recently as well, and I told her she should look up The Robert Glasper Experiment, because their recent album Black Radio is a beautiful combination of neo-soul and instrumentals. The beautiful girl looked impressed, and said I knew what I was talking about. The second girl told me she loved my hair and my earrings, and asked me where I got them from. I introduced her to etsy. [Second girl's wallet, I make my apologies to you now.] Somehow the conversation turned to Wawa and the guy joked that he'd been lost for like 10 minutes by this point. 

And then, just as suddenly as it had begun, our conversation had to come to an end because I'd reached my stop. I will likely never see any of them again, but that was the best bus ride I've had in a very long time. Perhaps ever. And it has reminded me that there are, in fact, lots of indie Black people I can relate to in this city--I just have to find them. And evidently Howard is the place to start--as if I didn't know that already. Can I just go make myself a permanent fixture in their bookstore? Take up permanent residence in a nearby coffee shop? I need an in...    

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