The 8 Weirdest Things You Experience in Durham

Brent and Ashleigh are very concerned about gentrification.

1. Gentrification Blues

“Raylee for a girl, Jaxxon for a boy!”

You’re chatting with your neighbors, Brent and Ashleigh. They’re very nice, and they have a cute golden retriever called Kale.

Did you know Brent is a rapper? He’ll send you a link to his SoundCloud, he says, running a hand over his blond undercut.

Ashleigh is very concerned about gentrification in Durham. If the cost of real estate keeps rising, people who’ve lived here for generations are going to be pushed out, you know. Did they tell you they’re moving soon? Oh yeah, off Alston Avenue. Anyway, Brent and Ashleigh have got to get going, they’re heading to Home Depot to buy deadbolts.

Later, you get a text from Brent. It’s a link to his SoundCloud, and a link to an Instagram account.

It’s Kale’s Instagram account. @KaletheGoldenRetriever.

He’s verified.

2. Seize Life by the Horns

Nobody gets that excited about baseball.

Everyone in this city is hustling. Everyone in this city is grinding. Nobody is hustling and grinding more than Wool E. Bull. He dances, he hypes up the crowd, he loses his mind when the Bulls get a hit. This mascot is working harder than you think you’ve ever worked in your life.

You hope, whoever is in the Wool E. suit, they’re being paid well.

3. Craft Beer = A Hydra

Who wouldn’t want to try grape-flavored beer?

A new craft brewery is opening and you have to try it. A new craft brewery you have to try is always opening. If a craft brewery isn’t opening, a beer garden is. Or a bottle shop. Or a beer lab. You decide to try a different craft beer spot every day for a month. When you cross off every bar on the list, ten more craft beer places have opened up. Where do they come from? Why do you need to check them out so badly? You don’t even like beer that much.

You open up the group chat and click on a link. It’s an invitation to the opening of a new craft beer place.

You click “attending.”


“Pat McCrory is so sad. Alexa, play “Y.M.C.A.””

Your friend texts you a picture of someone who looks remarkably like Pat McCrory sitting by himself at a Bojangles. You tell her to dump her extra-large sweet tea over his head.

5. Start Me Up

“Vertical integration of miniature pigs is going to change the world!”

Your best friend is looking to crowdfund a startup. Your roommate is looking to crowdfund a startup. Nineteen people you knew in high school are looking to crowdfund startups. Every tweet in your feed is a link to a Kickstarter campaign.

That reminds you, you have an idea for an app.

6. Sports via Osmosis

“Nah, I’m not into sports. What’s the quarterback situation after the UNC suspensions?”

You don’t follow sports. But you know Duke is playing Virginia Tech on the 29th, Nathan Elliott has some leeway to start the season after Chazz Surratt’s suspension, and that many of the Wolfpack starters have been replaced. You don’t watch basketball, but you know that when the NCAA Tournament starts, you’ll have a bracket.

Your friend who went to Appalachian is still talking about when they beat Michigan. You think about reminding him that that game was in 2007, but decide against it. Let him have his fun.

7. A Menacing Conversation

“Please, Google Overlords, leave us be.”

A dark cloud hangs over Durham. Everyone speaks in whispers (or think pieces.) Amazon is coming here, maybe? Google is coming here, maybe? They’re not coming here, right? Because that would really screw things up for all of us. But there’s no way they’re really coming. 


8. You’re from Cary, Aren’t You?

I could tell from your haircut.

Everyone in the Triangle, no matter who they are or where they’re from, trashes Cary. Everyone you know from Cary vehemently denies that they’re from Cary.

Here’s why:

You’re at work. A woman from Cary walks in. You have never met this woman, but you know that she is from Cary.

She’s talking very loudly on her phone. You gather that someone named Jill is trying to usurp her as the PTA president. She glares at the customers lined up to check out in front of her.

When she reaches your counter, you apologize for the wait to placate her.

She huffs and puffs. She’ll leave a bad review on Yelp, but in the meantime, she wants to speak to a manager.

You smile and politely tell her that you are the manager. You do not cackle in triumph at the way her face shrivels.

But it’s a near thing.

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