As I write this column, I am sitting at a local bar in Hillcrest that was quiet until just a few minutes ago when karaoke started. I’m not a fan of karaoke, especially when super drunk people get on stage and start screeching into the microphone thinking they sound like Taylor Swift, but they really sound like Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium in 1990 (younger ones may not be familiar with that reference).
I also used to really dislike when football played on the TVs at bars. A bunch of people staring at a TV screen and screaming violently whenever a play happened that they didn’t like was extra obnoxious to me.
And as I wrote in my December column, I also used to poke fun at “circuit boys,” guys who I felt were constantly chasing a faded youth. I reconciled that when I worked the door at a series of circuit parties in the summer and over Thanksgiving weekend, where I realized that some of the nicest guys ever attended these parties.
I used to also get annoyed by people who had obsessions with various celebrities, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and so much more. And I would often post on my social media about these irritations.
And thinking back about it, I can only ask myself, why? What was I so angry about? Why does what other people enjoy bother me?
I post constantly about a lot of things I enjoy – mostly Hillcrest-related. I have gotten some nasty messages from people saying, “You really need to get out more, there’s a bigger world than Hillcrest.”
And there absolutely is. On a given week, just within San Diego County, you can find me as far east as Pine Valley, at the border, and up toward Oceanside. When I’m not traveling out of town, I’m always exploring my home county and all of the unique parts of it. I don’t post online about most of my adventures because I like to explore anonymously when I get around.
But regardless, I’m a big Hillcrest booster and other people are boosters of the many other things they are interested in.
My friends who love football often joke with me reminding me that it’s “Football Sunday today so don’t complain.” I actually haven’t complained about football in about five years. And why haven’t I?
Because getting older is healing and I realized that it’s not worth my time or energy to put down things that others enjoy. We are a large, diverse community, and I want to celebrate everything that everyone enjoys.
I often see people post on social media “I’m so sick of everyone posting about …” (be it the weather, RuPaul’s Drag Race, a current political hot topic, or a celebrity). My advice to those people is to just keep scrolling. There is no reason to put down what others enjoy or want to discuss.
I no longer complain about football or karaoke or circuit boys or whatever else I used to think irritated me. Our world is more divided than ever right now, so I am cool with whatever things people enjoy, even if I have to endure a bit of screeching on the microphone at the bar.
As we continue into 2024, let’s figure out ways to celebrate each other. Not just people’s career successes or other victories, but the simple things. People’s cultures, people’s identities, and people’s everyday likes. If someone cares about a celebrity, sport, or activity I know nothing about, I want to sit down and learn more about why they enjoy that. Maybe I’ll become a fan!
If I can stop complaining about football at bars, you can stop complaining about little things that bother you that really have no bearing in the world. Lots of love to you all this February!
–Benny Cartwright is a longtime activist and community leader. Reach him at [email protected]. Follow him on Instagram @BennyC80.
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