Monday, October 29, 2007

Anna's Goth Phobia

My son, Eddie, and I went to the Peace March in Seattle Saturday; most of the press called it an Anti-War March, although from the quantity of signs being carried around it looked more like an “Impeach Bush March” or “Impeach Bush and Cheney March” or “Impeach the Whole Administration March” – he does draw out certain emotions. From one point of view there were many points of view displayed, including "Jena 6" "Don't Bomb Iran" "End the Palestine Occupation" and "Code Pink for Peace"; a student group organized the march but there were plenty of us older folk, too. I think my favorite among the marchers’ signs was “Why Not Try a Friendly Foreign Policy?”

Yeah, why not?

My daughter, Anna, didn't want to go to the march – she feared there would be some of those Goth people there. We didn’t see any Goths, but there was a group of scary looking dudes dressed in black from head to toe with their faces covered up; Eddie said he wasn’t picking up any peaceful vibes from these guys. The children have senses we used to.

I learned about Anna’s Goth phobia last April while visiting London. I had business in Vienna and she said she would go with me this year, but only if we could spend a few days in London; and how could I say no? On a prior trip I learned about a place called Camden Town, which is a short train ride north of the City, and packed with great restaurants, live music venues and lots of energy.

So we took the train to Camden Town looking for something to eat and some music. The crowd and energy had grown quite a bit since my last visit, and as far as you could see shops and vendors lined both sides of the main street that runs through town. London must be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and Camden Town brings it all together in one swirling cacophony of sight, sound and smell.

As we walked up the street, I was intrigued by the shops selling leather coats, boots with spikes, wild dark looking things, and heavy metal music booming out the front door. But try as I might, Anna would not let me enter any of them. We saw a small group of kids dressed in black leather with spiked mohawk haircuts sitting on the bridge on the other side of the street, and I didn’t realize then what it meant, but she hugged me close as we crossed the bridge and I told her the police, who were keeping an eye on them, would protect us.

Later we found a terrific Caribbean restaurant for dinner, and after we ordered our meal, Anna said: “Dad, aren’t you afraid of them, too?” She was talking about the Goth people, and Camden Town had more than its fair share of them out and about that evening.

I said, “No, I think they are funny. They mean no harm. Why are you afraid of them?” She replied in all seriousness, “I am afraid they will eat me.”

I immediately called my wife at home on the cell phone and told her, “You didn’t tell me about Anna’s Goth phobia.” And I could hear her laughing all the way across 9 time zones.

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