WEEKEND OF LONG TROUSERS
15 AUG 2003
2PM: arrive Chicago. Have forgotten change to central time zone. Now more time for wandering, as if we have gained an hour we never lost. Recall months ago passing through Nashville, into central time zone as well, but on the morning that daylight savings began. Recall my belief, brief but wholehearted, that I had somehow driven back into time that morning.
5: noodles, after much discussion. Vegetarian Bowl. And for her, Pad Thai. Then, a drink. A Chicago Reader, the "readings and lectures" page. Do I look like I'm burping in that picture?
7: visit bookstore at which to perform in 25 hours. Look at books, comics. Too shy to introduce self to bookstore staff.
10: Clark Street, Broadway. Shopping, for her. Records and clothing, used and otherwise. Her new obsession with the band Linkin Park, who I am not entirely certain about. Recite turn-of-the-century Chicago slang from James T Farrell's Studs Lonigan trilogy, e.g. "That kid's a loogin," or "I'm wearin my first pair of long trousers," or more elaborately, with both of us involved, as in a perfected routine:
She: Say Studs ya wanna go out to Lincoln Park?
A coffee, black, though I consider squeezing honey into it. Some debate over the virtues of honey. Departure.
1:30AM: meet Mr. Todd Dills, working door at Skylark Bar. Drink. Drink. Old Style. Whiskey for her. These are courtesy of the doorman. Meet bartending Danno. Magic trick, bewilderment and explanation. "Last call!" Then plays a get-out song, then a get-the-fuck-out song. "Drink up!" Barstools on the bar. Wasted money at pinball. A NASCAR discussion.
3:30: coffee, again. Some discussion of books and of authors. Finally, sleep.
16 AUG 2003
10:40AM: some discussion of hair appearance and hair-washing, and of my regret over leaving my Aussie Dry and Damagedİ conditioner in my shower in Louisville instead of here in humid, humid Chicago. Write Todd note: "We went walking, wearily, wandering, wondering where was Walgreen's." Alternatively, "CROATOAN." Down the street a hot tea, and for her, iced. Honey is not available. Free cookies, however. No Walgreen's = no Aussie = no shower.
11:40: should Todd wake up? Should he be awoken? Are we infringing? Some hesitant loud coughing and the slamming of a door. Feigned attempts to keep tv volume at its lowest. An Indian soap opera sponsored by Burger King. A foam football tossing match, and Todd, wake up.
1:27PM: Mexican espresso. The roof. Oh, the roof. A warning of a housemate's rooftop sex, and Todd's uncertainty now of rooftop etiquette. Breakfast burritos: vegetarian for myself, and her. Sausage for him. A discussion of nutrition, and of meat products, fake and otherwise. Difficult talking to Todd, who has just yesterday finished my book and has therefore heard all my stories. Am reminded of this fact, time and again, by Mr. Dills himself.
3: the Brian Costello Show at the Empty Bottle. Brian Costello defends his fixation on the humor of homosexuality. More Old Style (3), paid for by 1) Todd, 2) me, and 3) Randy. Then water. Randy is both interested and interesting (I once heard someone described this way and have waited to say it myself, though certainly it is fitting here). He is interviewed about his job at Columbia College, reads from a story he's writing. Susannah makes her appearance. We have heard her referenced, and though not yet introduced, we assume this is her, unless this Todd Dills inspires random women to walk into the Empty Bottle these Saturday afternoons and make out with him. Unless this Todd Dills is the mack.
7: arrive early at Quimby's bookstore to assure all is well. All is well. There will be no promised cheese and crackers. Some guilt, on my part.
7:23: nervous. Restless. Oh fuck, to a certain degree. Relieve bowels in Quimby's basement restroom. Drink more water. Wish there was honey, as it soothes and smoothes vocal chords, rendering speech as delightful as the angels themselves.
Some discussion, on the part of Liz our bookstore connection, centering on Todd's attire and its similarity to that of the Hitler Youth.
8:15: our reading, scheduled for 8, begins on hipster schedule. Todd reads "Week of Dick Shades" about his quest for a pair of mirrored sunglasses (tomorrow Danielle and I and Susannah will accompany him further on this quest, see him purchase, at long last, the most perfect pair of dick shades, and I will feign slight boredom because now I am the one who has heard YOUR story, Todd).
Following Todd, Jeb Gleason-Allured reads a story in which someone is drowned, and someone else has her body taken over by a plant. Keep reading, Jeb, I'm thinking. But Jeb finishes, sits down. Nervousness leaves when I stand up, launch into a little piece about a semi dealership which shares a name with an Irish author. Voice, even honey-less, does not waver. I read of my adventures, projecting my words, gesturing even, at times. Mention books are placed, strategically, by the cash register. Finish reading, drop book to side, thank audience. Whew.