Half-time, or lessons learned

Editor's Note

Honestly, it doesn’t feel like six months have already come and gone since I moved to Charlotte. Halfway through my first year here, and only a fraction of the way through the time I hope to live in the beautiful Queen City, I find myself looking back and wondering, “Where the hell did the time go and just what did I do to make it pass so quickly?”

This time last year, I had completed only half of my journey with the Soulforce Equality Ride. In fact, we had not long concluded our visits to Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., and Montreat College in Asheville, N.C.

It seems a little queer, all the tiny connections between what was then and what is now. Halfway through one journey, I found myself at home in the Carolinas. Halfway through a second journey, I’m still here in the Carolinas — doing something just as grand, just as unique and just as stressful and time consuming.

Out of all the lessons my work has brought me so far, I believe three main points have managed to sink into my thick skull since moving here.

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First. Always visit family when you have time. At least in my case, my family is something I can count on even if everything else is going haywire. Whether it’s a weekend out of the office or for the holidays, family comes first.

Second. Never be afraid of controversy. In this line of work, “controversy” almost becomes a person’s middle name. (Those who know me will probably say that it was my middle name before I was hired for this job.) You can’t always control the amount of drama flowing in your direction, but oftentimes you can shape it and mold it in just the right way so it doesn’t make you crazy.

Third. Don’t sit at home lonely. (I’ve had to learn this one by experience.) You’ve just moved to a new city and you know hardly anyone. Sitting at home, after driving straight there from work, isn’t exactly the best way to meet new people. Go out whenever you can. Meet new folks and make an effort to get acquainted. (Gosh, if only I had the time to follow my own advice.)

Since I have been here for a few months, and the city is starting to actually feel like home, I’m ready to voice a few of my frustrations, too.

Where’s the nightlife, ya’ll? Why are all the queer bars half empty? Smaller towns have better gay nightlife than this place.

Those funny folks with the huge cross you see Uptown on a Saturday night? They don’t bite, but they do rant. So whatever you do — keep walking (or stumbling, whichever).

Independence Blvd. has to rank among the worst urban planning disasters in the world. And, the abandoned buildings it’s created really need to go.

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I’m convinced that the bickering among city and county leaders is some the most hilarious political grandstanding in the world.

Board of Education member Larry Gauvreau pouts too much. I should buy him a soft, cuddly teddy bear. (Maybe the kind with lots of hair, a beer and a baseball cap?)

County Commissioner Bill James needs grammar lessons. Hey Bill, I’ll edit your rants…er, I mean email newsletters for you. Why not? I could use the extra cash.

All in all, the past six months have been a blast regardless of the ins and outs of adjusting to a new city, a new home and new colleagues and friends. Certainly there’s been some low points — like when my really awesome phone got stolen at a gas station or when my car broke down trying to get back to work — but I’ve enjoyed myself and I’m looking forward to what the future brings.

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Correction
In the Apr. 5 article “Center finds new home,” Lesbian & Gay Community Center Board Chair Denise Palm-Beck mistakenly gave Q-Notes the wrong rent amount for the former Center location on Central Ave.

The new rent amount at the Central Ave. property would have been $6,800 per month, not the $4,000 noted in the article.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.