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**PRINT: FRIENDS FROM CINCINNATI: Installment 24 features this part coming-of-age short by Chicago's Patrick Somerville, author of the Trouble collection of shorts out in 2006. | PAST BROADSHEETS |

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Elizabeth Crane

7:30AM: hit snooze. Look at ceiling fan. Realize you are showing no symptoms of West Nile Virus.

7:31: turn alarm off altogether.

7:45: realize you have to wash your hair. Get up.

7:46: examine hair in bathroom mirror. Not dirty, but its been a bad hair weekend. Remember that youre going to the Double Door tonight and clean hair will smell like smoke thirty seconds after walking through door. Postpone hairwashing.

7:48: grab NY Times from hall. Try to guess where on the stairs the NY Times will be on when you retrieve it from hall. In front of door. Wrong. All the way down in the middle. Hope no one sees you in your pajamas.

7:49: remove kitchen trash that smells like yesterdays melon.

7:50: shower, get dressed.

8:07: make coffee, prepare Kelloggs Raisin Bran to correct degree of sogginess (very). (Repeat all of the above EVERY MORNING for the rest of life. Variation in summer: Read paper on East-facing porch if it is either cloudy, or sunny but below 70 degrees.)

8:12: read email from friend who read the unfinished screenplay you started to subsidize your fiction career. Friend is kind, but agrees that it needs "a story." Hope hell tell you what that is. Decide today is itinerary day. Youve already made two attempts that suck. Today will be the day, no matter how embarrassing, painful, exciting, or dull.

8:15: "read" NY Times. Check back page of business section first for obituaries. No one under 80. No need to check to see how they died.

8:50: catch up in journal. Realize that nothing youve done in the last week seems as fun now as it did when you were doing it. Wonder what that means.

9:22: decision time. Choices: a) wash dishes, b) put on makeup, c) finish novel. Choice c) isnt likely to happen today, and choice b) is the biggest drag ever.

9:23: wash dishes. Realize that whatever your diet is lately, it all seems to require spoons.

9:28: put on makeup. Think about how putting on makeup and washing hair are dead even for least fun part of your day. Along with exercising. Wonder why grooming is so not fun when looking cute is very fun. Wonder why it is that you are so enamored of grooming products, but not the actual grooming. Wonder if any of your friends like doing all this crap. Wonder how you got that scrape on your elbow. Wonder if/when that cute guy with the glasses will be at Atomix later. Wonder why makeup is a time for thoughts like these.

9:43: best friend calls to discuss Sex and the City. Get into a difference of opinion about Carries cheating on Aidan two seasons ago. Remind self and friend that you are talking about a sitcom and not actual people you know.

9:55: check email again. Nothing.

9:57: go to the Jewel. Another not favorite task that has been postponed a little too long.

10:10: enter Jewel. Know that you will leave with three small bags and a minimum of fifty dollars lighter.

10:15: put a quart of Jewel brand Hazelnut coffee creamer into cart, along with a quart of the same Coffee-Mate brand just in case, which you like but HATE the packaging, which seems designed to spill.

10:20: fail to find the bug repellent when the clerk points in what seems to be no direction at all.

10:21: fail to buy the only brand they have of bug repellent at six dollars and fifty-nine cents. Summers almost over. Youll take your chances. You are a risk-taker. You defy deadly mosquitoes to have at you.

10:25: fail to decide between brands of microwave popcorn. Remember why you hate grocery shopping. Too many choices.

10:55: put away groceries. Look up West Side Piers on Google for a scene in the "novel." Fail to find whats in your memory.

11:00: check email again. Nothing.

11:18: write. Fill in some stuff where it said "more." Feel like this is meaningless in terms of pages. Want pages. Fail to see bigger picture.

11:50: check mail. Become irritated by mail. Two credit card companies in two days have upped your credit by a lot, by a lot more than you have. This is not good for you. Long distance phone bill is $83.13. Realize that you are an idiot on several accounts, one being that you have free minutes on your cell phone that could have cut that bill in half, and two being that after you got back from your Dads in Iowa, you forgot for ten days to switch the access number back to the local one and that you have twenty dollars worth of ten-cent calls to Burlington. Remember the time they were willing to cut your $112 call to New Zealand because you didnt realize you didnt have an international plan. Wonder if they would be willing to negotiate on account of you being an idiot.

11:55: new friend calls to go have lunch. You just bought groceries, but what the hell. You stay in a lot.

12:03PM: check email. Nothing.

12:18: see that what you added to "novel" adds up to a page. One page. Not including this.

12:25: feel amazed, as you occasionally do, that you live someplace where you drive every day. Remember that there was a time when you believed this would never happen.

12:30: Bite Cafe. Scan room before friend comes. Wonder what everyone there is thinking. Wonder if they were cool in high school. Wonder how all the cute hip couples stay together. Do not wonder if they have been together for more than two months. Assume they have been together always.

12:40: lunch with new friend. Discuss boys, men, friends, writing, Anna Nicole Smith, and how friend gets along in life without a TV.

2:03: check email. Trash an ad for Viagra without opening it.

2:05: call friend to find out what time rock show goes on and discuss whether or not he still knows how to flirt.

2:10: examine J.Crew catalog.

2:20: nap on couch.

3:23: check email. Nothing.

3:30: check plants. Most seem to have gotten enough rain.

3:40: walk to Atomix. Observe Massive rock-show-type speakers being carried into downstairs neighbors apartment. Recall complex history of heavy bass vibrating your bed at 3:30AM. Refrain, for the moment, from being annoying upstairs neighbor. Read long story by a friend who asked you for some notes. Struggle, beginning with third line of first paragraph, to get any idea of what this story is about. If you were asked to convey to someone what the story is about you might possibly start the sentence, "Its about some people who&" but then you would never be able to finish the sentence. You are, obviously, an idiot. Cute glasses guy does not show.

4:40: walk home. Observe lone shoe in center of sidewalk. Wonder why its always one shoe. Feel unsettled as usual upon lone shoe sighting. Leave with vague sense of someone just stepping out of the shoe and vanishing into the air. Wonder why air like this is usually described as thin. Does thin air facilitate vanishing?

4:45: overhear a conversation between neighbors:

"Whats new?"
"Same old same old. You?"
"Me too. Same old same old."

Wonder if your life is same old same old. Hope its different new different new. Consider Raisin Bran/nap portions of the day. Reconsider same old same old. Can it be part same old part different new?

5:11: check email. Nothing.

5:26: exercise. Add to mental list of least favorite portions of the day. Remember that you are only exercising because your doctor told you it builds strong bones and that you dont have to enjoy it. Tell yourself its like flossing. You dont have to enjoy it, but you like having teeth.

5:39: sit down. Plan to explain to anyone who asks that this is 13 more minutes of exercise per day than you have done, ever, and that you are hoping to work up to 20, and then if they press you, plan to say "Shut up."

5:59: eat cup of cookie dough ice cream. Do not even for one second consider that this is a conflict with the exercise.

6:05: attempt this weeks New York Times Sunday crossword.

6:08: enter one three-letter word, "Tru" in 11-down space for "Play about Capote."

6:10: put down Times crossword. Last week you filled in 3/4 of it. Really. Some weeks the whole thing. This week, "Tru." Yes, you are an idiot. Read article about abundance of lesbians, or people posing as lesbians, or people who were once lesbians but are no longer lesbians, playing and/or listening to folk music.

6:30: read story by Ray Vukcevich about a couple who "comes down with a spacesuit." Meaning like as if it were a disease.

7:00: flip channels on TV. Miserable choices. Read another Vukcevich story about a family of nanopeople who live on somebodys mom.

7:39: figure out what to wear to Double Door that says "I did not think about this outfit at all" while also making you look super foxy. Regret the purchase of a black belt with a cheesy quasi-western buckle. Regret, also, the lack of a pair of black boots to go with you super foxy new black top. Consider new black pumps, reject immediately on overall trampiness of pumps with jeans. Consider and reject one of four pairs of sneakers. Consider and reject red Mary Janes. Go with standby motorcycle boots knowing that no one will see them anyway.

8:50: park just across the street from Double Door. Perform ritual, as always, when parking is too easy, of getting out of car and examining all possible parking signs before walking away. Ask bartender friend at Pontiac if its actually possible that you got rock star parking or if you should move car. He says youre good to go.

9:00: a line outside the Double Door. Okay, there are only six people on it. Still, fight the urge to push past saying, "Um, Im on the list. Pardon me, do you know who I am? Yes, thats right, thank you."

9:05: pay to get in. Apparently the headlining band are about to become superstars, and there are other, more important people on the list than you.

9:15: watch your friend the bass player rocking out. Crack up that you have friends in bands now. Wonder why you didnt hang with the cool kids in high school. Remember that you werent cool. Do not consider that any level of coolness you may have achieved since then is all an illusion.

10:00: before the next band, someone, a girlfriend, compliments your new top.

10:10: another friend, a cute artist guy youve had a crush on who for some reason is not mesmerized by your superfoxy top/overall superstardom, points out a girl in a midriff-baring tank top and miniskirt whos "Trying too hard." Relate to him your mission of 7:39PM to select a super foxy outfit that avoids this pitfall, in overt hopes of wresting a compliment out of him. "Mission accomplished," he says. Know hes never going to have sex with you.

10:15: illustrate to cute artist friend overall mid-seventies arena rock vibe of second band by saying "I think Im in my dorm room getting stoned right now." His response: "I think Im down the hall in someone elses dorm room getting stoned because hes got a better sound system." Agree thats probably more like it and that youre sure you dont have any pot anyway.

10:45: observe extreme and sudden crowdedness. Observe extreme hipsters in their natural habitat. Observe many cute guys who are way too young for you.

11:10: walk out with cute guy friend. Discuss possibility of collaborative art/writing project.

11:30: turn on TV. Home in time for second episode of Elimidate (Hawaii). Pick the winner at top of show as conservative non-thong wearing southern girl.

11:58: take pride in track record of picking Elimidate winners, on the occasional night that you are up this late. Say your prayers to the god you are uncertain of.