I remember an interesting old woman at Expo 86...
It was a very exciting day for me and my friends. One of our favorite bands, Einsturzende Neubauten, was going to be playing the International Stage at Expo. All the way from Germany, they were "industrial" before Nine Inch Nails were out of diapers, and I could not wait to see them live!! Lucky for me I worked right outside of the Yellow Gate at the Expo grounds, so as soon as I got off work, I rushed on to the Expo site and got changed in one of the Ladies Washrooms. I stood in front of the bathroom mirror putting on my silver lipstick with the black lip-liner, powdering my face with white powder, adjusting my fishnets, making sure my hair was pointing straight to the sky...much to the curiosity of the normal women who were merely there to wash their hands. I remember feeling very powerful and alien. I felt Alternative.
As soon as I was ready, I headed to the International Stage to line up. I wanted to be in the front row for this show!! Hooray! There were only a handful of people in line, other Alternative types whom I recognized from around town...but right in front of me, there was a prim little woman, probably in her 60's, with her grey hair in a neat little bun, her hands holding a tidy little purse, and sensible shoes on her feet. What was she doing in the line up to see this noisy, noisy band? I figured she must have read her schedule wrong, so I struck up a conversation with her, hoping to save her from standing in line for the wrong thing.
"So, do you know what you are standing in line for?" I asked politely.
She replied, quite excitedly, "Oh yes. I'm waiting to see Einsturzende Neubauten!"
I hope my jaw didn't drop. I really hope it didn't. I was flabbergasted! "You know their music?" I asked.
"Oh yes. They are one of my favorite Industrial Noise artists." She smiled sweetly at me.
Who was this woman? She stayed for the whole concert, sat in the third row. I saw her take earplugs out of her purse and insert them in her ears before the show started. The show was brilliant: gut-wrenchingly loud, metal grinders and sparks and fire and mayhem--and through it all, she sat beaming. I couldn't take my mind off her! She was, sitting there in her cardigan, more Alternative and Strange than I had ever been. To be that comfortable in one's own skin, to not feel the need to put on a costume to fit in...she shines in my memory like a beacon of Truth and Mystery, an angel whom I am only beginning to be as free as.