So we went to Kevin’s cousin Amy’s place yesterday for a Southern tradition called a “pig-pickin’” which involves a very large grill and a deceased member of the Sus genus. It was delicious, even if I will never understand the North Carolina concept of “barbecue”* and there were a whole bunch of people there.
I had two really great discussions. One of them was the sort you have when there are three divorced women sitting in a row passing a bottle of wine back and forth, the details of which shall not be repeated here, but which was cathartic.
The other, however, involved a lovely older woman who was a gardener, and into wildlife gardening, and our conversation had that kind of discovery-of-kindred-spirit quality that’s so lovely. I mentioned the hummingbirds coming to the Texas sage, and she jumped in with “Oh, I love that! I’ve planted in it all the beds!” and within about twenty minutes we’d covered native plants, bed design, and Kevin had out his iPhone and was looking up a bird for her that she’d been unable to ID (it was a Great Crested Flycatcher in full mating color.) We talked about nesting thrashers visiting monarchs and native moonflowers and it was awesome.
It was as she was leaving that I realized what an unlikely-looking bunch we were. Here I am in my early thirties, with the large tattoos and goth-dyed hair, Kevin is heavily tattooed with a shaved head, looks like he should be beating up people for their lunch money, and owns every Apple product ever made–and this very nice woman was older, not in fantastic health, walking heavily with a cane, and at least a generation and a half our senior. The only ways that people like us general come in contact are family reunions and elevators. But there we were, unified by our love of gardening, birds, and Texas sage, in the manner of people who have particular obscure obsessions and do not generally expect to find other people with those obsessions at their local barbecue.
It kinda reminded me of that one ad for Yahoo back in the day–the one where the heavily pierced punk rocker joins the sewing circle. (I loved that commercial.)
“It was so nice talking to you!” she said, as she prepared to leave. “And you boyfriend…” she looked around, made sure he wasn’t in earshot “…he’s so cute.” (He is. To my knowledge, he has also never beat anyone up for their lunch money.)
It was kinda like finding the Lutheran pastor who played Resident Evil, except that I think this time I might have been the unlikely one. But it was awesome anyway.
*I can appreciate the tastes involved, but for me, barbecue involves heavy red sauce, damnit.