By Erika Moen on October 19, 2011
Last week Pacific University‘s Rainbow Coalition teamed up with several other campus groups to bring me out as a guest speaker!
It was… pretty great.
Cayla, the coordinator, and her friend, Katie, arrived to pick me up from Periscope Studio about ten minutes late which was PERFECT because *I* was running ten minutes late anyway. Twenty minutes before they were supposed to arrive I was suddenly struck with inspiration for a bunch of stuff I wanted to talk about in my lecture; about attacking people for their proclaimed sexual identity, and how I was a judgmental dick until I became the kind of person I used to judge, and how love and relationships are more rewarding than strictly adhering to the rules and regulations of an identity label. I hadn’t even finished writing my first draft of this before they arrived, though, so I went into the lecture knowing I would kind of be feeling out my words on this topic as I went.
Cayla and Katie were just delightful. I couldn’t have asked for more fun hosts, even though they shocked me when I found out they are only 19 and 20– WHAT. I thought college juniors were older?? Like, 23-24?? But, uh, I guess I graduated when I was 22, so, yeah… In any case, the hour long ride out to Pacific University hardly felt like any time at all, which is a testament to their good company.
Now, here was maybe one of the highlights of the evening for me:
Originally Cayla had told me the school would provide dinner, which I took to mean eating in the campus cafeteria. But then a couple days before the talk, she emailed me saying I could actually pick where I wanted to eat. I told Cayla I was well aware of the fact that I knew my request was totally ridiculous, and if my choice did not fit in their budget then I would be more than happy to hear another eating suggestion from her, but what I really, really, really wanted was some SWEET, SWEET RED ROBIN. No, I haven’t eaten there since I was a high school senior. However, I HAVE been watching a ton of Teen Mom on MTV.com, which has a very buggy ad-player that will play the same (Red Robin) add, like, eight times in a row, which, it turns out, is actually incredibly effective for getting their jingle stuck in your mind and turning all your subconscious thoughts towards milkshakes and gourmet burgers and bottomless fries. At that point in time, however, I had not yet made the connection between those ads and my ALL CONSUMING RED ROBIN DESIRE, but dang I knew what I wanted.
On the way to their school, we stopped at the Beaverton Red Robin, where I had two (yes, two. STOP JUDGING ME, THEY SAID IT WAS OKAY) chocolate milkshakes, a bacon cheeseburger with barbecue sauce, fries, and a couple of the communal cheesesticks. Oh dang, you guys. It was rad as hell.
However, it turns out the ol’ Re-Rob (I just made that up. It’s short for Red Robin. MAKE IT CATCH ON) is a black hole of happiness, because we wound up cutting our time to actually get back to the campus a bit short. Oops. Originally we were going to have a nice, leisurely A/V hook up and I’d have plenty of time to set up my books and prints and whatnot– instead we got there almost right at the starting time, so we all had to book it to get everything in order. I think we only started a few minutes late.
Driving in from the parking lot of the university I ran into Brenna and Chase! They are two awesome folks I have known for years and years now, and even though we live about ten minutes away from each other, I think the majority of our interactions are online. You know how that goes. Chase, it turns out, was there to photograph something else happening on campus at the same time for the newspaper where he works and Brenna snagged a ride with him just to come out to my talk (and if he had time, Chase was gunna try and pop in for the end of my talk too). Ahk, heart glow! (Remember, it takes an HOUR to drive from Portland to Forest Grove) Brenna was kind enough to use my little camera to take photos for me during the talk, so I could post them on the internet later. Brenna and Chase, swell fellas! (See ALL the photos)
Brenna actually wrote up her own thoughts about the evening and it kind of made my week. <:)
The talk went so much better than I could have hoped for! People laughed in all the right places and that last-minute lecture I cooked up and hadn’t even proofread (nor even created an ending conclusion for!) actually didn’t come out TOO muddled. Definitely some room for improvement on it, of course, but the fact that it came out coherent at all while in action is a major success in my book.
During the Q+A I diiiiiiid answer a question just a bit too candidly. I mean, it was fine (I think) to give that honest of an answer at the lecture itself, but as far as re-sharing it online later (Oh yeah, I was video taping the whole talk so I could upload it. You can see it here! Or just scroll down, too.) it proooobably wouldn’t have done me any favors in the long run. So I’ll just, uh, edit that part out. …which means I’ll have to learn how to edit in the first place. Hrrm. I just have such a hard time keeping my mouth shut about potentially delicate issues! I’m like Anne of freakin’ Green Gables over here, what with my mouth just going off about whatever.
We finished up just shy of an hour after I started, which was pretty perfect. I’m always scared I’ll finish talking about 20 minutes and then it will just be awkward silence. Instead, the audience had plenty of good questions for me and I made a nice little number of sales of books and posters and prints at the end.
Then Cayla and Katie drove me the hour back home, which didn’t feel like an hour at all. They have now seen the inside of my kitchen, which unfortunately smelled a little (a lot) like garbage since I hadn’t taken it out recently.
All in all, a pretty damn good time.
And now you can watch it for yourself!