In 1981 I went to see The Decline of Western Civilization at the Bleecker Street Cinema in New York (RIP). The doc about the Los Angeles punk scene features young X, Black Flag, and the Germs. (L.A police Chief Daryl Gates tried to prevent it from being shown in LA). I watched the film with subversive glee as I sat behind a great looking guy in a leather jacket that said Reagan Youth on the back. Couldn't wait to find out who he was. I identified with the movie and the audience and the music. I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, that I had found my people.
The guy turned out to be Dave Insurgent, the charismatic frontman for the amazing hardcore band Reagan Youth. I would spend the next several years growing up on the streets with him and the small group of people that started the new york hardcore scene. The name Reagan Youth, those two words, was brilliant because it really defined us, the messed up, pissed-off, disenfranchised kids who grew up during the 8 years of Reagan.
Man did we kids all despise Ronnie. I won’t get into it what it was like growing up under nuclear war threats, but I will say I was directly affected by his cuts to education. I watched the financial aid that paid for my education shrink each year. I squeezed through the system with the help of loans and scholarships. The era of low income people having access to private schools pretty much ended with Ronald. The man’s legacy gets worse…
Flash ahead to post September 11th America. There is an airport in Washington DC called Ronald Reagan, and it is really close to the center of the city. You can see all of the famous monuments out the window as you are landing. After 9/11 there was a rule on every airplane headed into Reagan that everyone must remain seated for a half hour prior to landing. You were not allowed to get up from your seat for any reason, not even just to rise and stretch. If anyone got up, the plane would turn around, would not land. The rule was enforced, repeatedly. If someone would mess up, stand up, the whole plane, filled with pissed off passengers, would be directed to a different location.
I knew about the rule and made sure to use the bathroom when they made the announcement that we had 10 minutes left before we needed to get back into our seats. There was a line, so I waited, and after entering the room I found out I had gotten my period. The clock was ticking as I went back to my purse and got a tampon and went back to the bathroom.
I could hear the announcement asking people to return to their seats as I tried to open the tampon, which, incase you are not familiar with the product, is shrink wrapped in a skin tight plastic that needs to be peeled off before using. The plastic is similar to the shrink wrap on a cd, which is a real bitch to open. There is supposed to be a little tab to make it easy but many times, as in this particular case, the tab is undetectable and the task extremely difficult. I was sweating. I needed to get the wrap off and it was not happening. My fingers searched in every direction to find the tab to open the wrap and nothing was budging. The plane was going to be sent back and it was my fault. Motherfucker. And then, just as they were making the final announcement to return to your seats, the wrap sprang off.
I was able to finish up and slip into my seat in the nick of time and not have the whole plane angry at me and not waste our day in the wrong city, under suspicion of being a terrorist and not have to explain to angry people interrogating me that I just couldn’t open my tampon, that’s all. Yikes. Not sure if they are still enforcing that rule because now if I am en route to DC I just fly into Dulles International.
miss you, beautiful Dave