Chili Cookoff Memories


Image courtesy of Jramspott. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I tend to think of myself as not particularly memorable–I’m quiet, average height, and brunette, and none of those things keep me fresh in folks’ minds. As such, it’s always kind of startling when someone does, in fact, remember that I attended something.

Earlier this weekend, I spent a few hours passing out shirts at the Atlanta Pride Festival, which was great fun. The Pride crowd are a friendly bunch, and everyone loves free t-shirts. Unfortunately, our popularity meant that our most-loved swag items (hats, this time) went quickly.

One of the folks who missed out on a hat knew what was up with the Atlanta festival scene, and asked us if we would be at the Chomp and Stomp. chili cookoff. We assured her we most likely would be, and she should be sure to come and see us–and our fresh batch of swag–there.

Chomp and Stomp is pretty much my favorite Atlanta festival, as it focuses on my favorite general part of festivals (food) and is in an utterly charming residential neighborhood named Cabbagetown. (I’ve always assumed the name was a slur towards an ethnic group, but the truth of that has faded to history.)

I had previously heard two versions of last year’s festival.

The first was mine. I was there with my parents, and I had just a week or two before applied to work at my current company. When we passed the swag booth I was delighted. It seemed like a good sign, and I was worried since I hadn’t heard back from them yet.

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Number Six

This is the sixth-most-played song in my iTunes library (after, among other things, “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and the Beastie Boys). It’s a cover of another song, which is number eight.

It’s weird to me that they’re both in my top ten. They’re both very much tied to strong emotional periods in my life, they way you have when you’re in high school freshman year of college, and you Feel with a capital “f.” The first song is a cover of the second, originally by The Knife, a weirdass Swedish band that wears bird masks and makes electronic music, which I was introduced to as a junior in high school by the boy who would later turn my heart into ground beef.

It was the summer after my junior year of high school, and it was one of those summers that actually mattered (and the last time I would have a free summer before being shunted off to Nerd Camp I, Nerd Camp II, and employment for different kinds of personal growth). Most of my friends were a year older than me, and I got sucked into their celebrations of having graduated in between being mad at my parents and brewing wine in a Nalgene in my closet (memories!). There was a lot of drinking Two Buck Chuck and finally feeling like I had people who liked me enough that they wouldn’t shun me if I danced around them, and taking long-exposure glowstick photos, and singing along to Kimya Dawson in the car without a whole lot to worry about.

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