The other day I went out walking. It’s spring now, so the sun comes out sometimes and then it’s pleasant to see what there is to see. And for the first time in a long time - maybe even ever when I’ve been out by myself without a more talkative companion - I chatted with a busker for something like ten minutes. I see him at the library all the time so it’s not like he was a complete stranger or anything. We talked about Stalingrad and the shittiness that was WW2’s Eastern Front, topics we knew through History Channel documentaries, wargames and Hollywood movies.
Last week I went to Gold River, and before we started work we stopped for coffee. In the coffeeshop there was another table of four who were talking about someone they all knew who’d hit some ice and then the ditch just last week. It’s weird having a conversation in a small place where you know whatever you say will be clear to everyone around you and that they aren’t anonymous strangers but know who you are, or can find out. This was the day after Hugo Chavez died but I couldn’t draw my coworker into a discussion of South American politics, possibly for that reason. More likely because we didn’t have much interesting to say about Chavez. Though I did try to talk a bit about Chavez’s love of baseball.
I’m looking forward to the BCLA conference this year. I’m going to be on a couple of panels talking about things I find cool (breaking digital locks and indie comics), and interesting people are going to be talking ‘bout cool shit on others. I’ve been going to Vancouver more recently, and I think it’s important for me to keep doing it. Just talking with friends and colleagues puts me in a much different (better) mindset for being here. Reading a lot just isn’t the same.bcla coffeeshop conference eastern front gold river history channel hugo chavez politics russia small town stalingrad wargames ww2