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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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Gretchen Kalwinski

6:42AM: hear alarm buzz. Turn it off. Decide not to swim this morning; do yoga instead.

7:20: decide not to do yoga either. Instead, sleep until 7:50 as per usual. Curse the lack of light in your apartment.

7:30: vaguely sense your fancy alarm clock buzzing and lighting up like a white siren. Sit up in bed.

7:45: put on tea water. Shower groggily. Note that your apartment has very dry air.... Regret that you were too cheap and poor to purchase a humidifier this winter. Curse to self. Note PMS symptoms. Use the last of homemade lavender soap. Vow to wake up two hours early from now on.

7:55: stretch into yoga poses while listening to WGN news for weather report. Listen to the latest news of Iraq and think "the sky is falling." Eat cereal. Remember giving up coffee briefly while living in San Francisco with hippies and pagans. Wonder how you ever managed without caffeine.

8:00: thow away moldy bag of cinnamon raisin toast. Scrape rye bread with jam and butter, and sip tea until 8:10, while now watching goofy WGN news.

8:10: attempt to find work clothing that is not revealing, yet mildly funky. To this end, wear several silver rings, and vow to stop buying grey clothing. Leave apartment.

8:15: realize that CTA card is down to zero, and relocate to the other side of the blue line entrance, where you can add money to the card. Note that feet hurt in new flats, purchased for $10 at Payless because they reminded you of Audrey Hepburn.

8:22: while on train, reread an old Artbabe comic book from 1996. Wish that you weren't underground in this sunny and windy 80 degree weather. Wish that you regularly woke up early enough to take the buses to work rather than trains because you don't like being underground.

8:39: call boss to let him know you're running late. Again. Thank lucky stars that boss is not a stickler about these things.

8:50: walk the long hallway between the blue and red lines downtown, still sleepy. Wonder about the people who energetically start running when they hear the train coming from above, and wonder, as you always do, if they have figured out a way to tell (from the direction of noise) if the train is theirs, or if they are simply running for the 50/50 chance that it could be theirs. Think to yourself that the running is rather wasted energy, if that's the case. Do not run.

8:53: realize that you just missed the red line heading north. Note that the regular musician/singer is present today, gearing up his boombox to provide background music. Hope that he starts with his version of Elton John's, "I Guess That's Why they Call it the Blues," which is much better than Mr. John's version. "Cryyy in the niiiight if it helps/But more than ever/ I simply love you-ou/More than I looovve/ liiife itself." Note that you enjoy sappy music in morning more than any other time. Wonder why this is so.

8:58: listen to singer/musician sing "Moon River" and watch nearby teenage kids mock him, imitating his formal style of posture and enunciation, and puffing their chests out like opera singers. Scowl at them and nurture protective feelings for the man. Hope that he can't hear them. Wonder if the man was ever in musical theater, or a gospel choir. Wonder if the man is homeless. Hope he is not.

9:06: arrive at work almost forty minutes late. Wash the public transit grub from hands, go downstairs to the Italian coffee stand in Saks to get a large coffee with cream. Back to desk: check e-mail. Read cute-ass message from Drawling-Man.

9:38: finish first cup of coffee. Meet with boss to discuss the workweek. Do an online tutorial for new project-management computer software. Read poems online, searching for Stanley Kunitz, Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks. Start to wake up a little: note that things are looking up.

11:00: work. (Fill in data relating to library trustee-database. Write e-mails to event-planners and newsletter editors. Meet with boss.)

11:30: check bank balance online. Respond to Drawling-Man's morning e-mail with more of the same.

12:30PM: warm up yesterday's stir-fry in the downstairs microwave, and take it outside to the church courtyard, in an attempt to get some sun. Since it is the first week in five months that hat, gloves, scarf, or puffy jacket are not required, decide to walk around for your lunch hour. Stop at post office and Walgreens to buy stamps and face lotion.

2:00-4:00: alternate between filing objects into correct file folders, creating more file folder labels, making a to-do list, and surfing the web for like-minded literary journals.

2:18: retrieve something sweet from cafeteria vending machine. Walk long hallways and say awkward things to executives about weather and candy bars.

2:23-4:30: work at desk (data entry). Begin to squint under fluorescent lights. Experience sugar high, then subsequent low. Talk on phone to sister three times, Drawling-Man once.

4:30-5:16: public transit.

5:16-5:45: change clothes, eat slices of baked tofu, some crackers.

5:45-7:20: meet friend at nearby bar for a happy hour drink. Sip two whiskeys with ginger ale at neighborhood bar while owner and bartender watch Wheel of Fortune. Talk with friend about art projects, Vanna White, pitfalls and benefits of boyfriend/girlfriend cohabitation. Leave.

7:57: arrive at Danny's to meet writer friend. Order what she's having. Whisper. Listen/watch the literary reading taking place. Become startled when you realize that the writer is reading a passage that quickly shifts from a day-at-the-beach to a horrifying depiction of date rape. Applaud uneasily with the rest of the crowd.

8:00-9:30: drink another Hefeweizen with lemon. Talk with friends about writing, gender differences in conceptions of careers and lifes-work.

9:42: smile as Drawling-Man enters the bar. Fill him in on evening's activities. Talk politics drunkenly with friends; start conversation about Iraq by yelling "the sky is falling, and we're here in a bar."

11:42: leave bar with Drawling-Man; head home to apartment. Stand in kitchen talking and eating cheddar with rice-crackers. Set coffee pot to 7:00AM, alarm to two hours early. Since it is suddenly muggy, open windows, making sure that they are only a few inches open and locked.

11:50: bed. Dream.