Mad at the Computer
CSU Dominguez Hills sits exactly halfway between my parent's home in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach where my grandparents lived when I was in college there. At one point I decided to visit, have dinner, and sleep over with them once a week on Wednesdays. I am so grateful that I did this, as it really allowed me to get to know them, and I have really great memories of the three of us during this time.
I remember once they forgot to tell me that they had company for dinner. The other couple was already there when I let myself in. I offered to leave them to their fun and drive home, but they all insisted, and the other couple seemed interested in getting to know me. So, I said, "sure, why not," and after some chit chat we sat down for dinner.
The couple grilled me relentlessly with questions--what are you studying, what classes are you taking, what is your GPA, what do you like to do, how old are you, are you single. That last question was the a-ha moment for me. And then--I can't remember who started to speak, but they both collectively shared about their step-grandson.
Zach (did they say Zachary? I can't remember, it was 25 years ago) is our step-grandson and he's single. He is a very nice boy. He's musical. I don't understand his music, but he says he is doing well with it.
I listened remotely--I am sure I had a guy in the wings at that point-- and nodded at the appropriate times until they tried to figure out the name of his "little band." Mad at the Computer? Rise of the Computer? Mad at the Machine? They didn't remember.
Suddenly, it clicked and I came fully aware. "ZACH? Is his last name De la Rocha," I asked curiously. They looked surprised and nodded, so I breathed "Rage Against the Machine," and they nodded more, saying "yes, yes, that's it, the name of his little band." I stared at them for a moment, and then told them that he was doing very, very well with his music, and that it was super meaningful and he was doing good work." Then I went back to eating my dinner while they continued to talk about how proud of him they were. It was sweet and heartwarming, and so demonstrative of their affection for him.
Zach, there's a good chance I'll never get to meet you personally, and if I do I doubt I'll remember this story in that moment--but it was such a pleasure to hear your step-grandparents glow about how proud of you they were. They truly loved you.
I am grateful to have had this experience.
Photo credit: Rage Against The Machine, Coachella 2007, Photo by Paul Familetti