196: return of my jedi

I was going through old e-mail and I found this plum:

Date: Tue, 2 Jun 1998 01:17:54 -0500 (CDT)
From: Nick G.

ok. everybody has nothing to do at 2:30 am on monday, june 8, so we’re going to build stonehenge out of the benches on the quads from 2:30-3:00.

I saw Dennis K. on television Friday night. I was at Kevin’s with Nick and Nadine, sitting around and talking shit when Dennis rocked the mic on the HBO Def Poetry Jam. He was easily the best performer on the program, and probably the best-looking, too. Dennis used to live downstairs from me when I lived at 55th & Kimbark, blasting hip-hop and reggae until my futon would begin to vibrate.

I didn’t mind too much, as the music worked as a lullaby, rocking me to sleep. We stayed up semi-late, watching “The Simpsons” (“Word!” is all I have to say) and “I’m The One That I Want”, Nadine and I poking each other with our “ass fingers” and laughing hysterically on Kevin’s couch. It’s been quite the silly week, and I don’t know if it’s because Nick and Nadine were just here visiting, or if I’m finally giving up on reaching any sort of real emotional maturity in my twenties.

Got up Saturday, and went for a manicure and a pedicure (ooh!) before Kate’s wedding. The television at Nail Tek was tuned to T-NBC, NBC’s Saturday morning programming aimed at a teen audience. Its audience in the salon was the owner, a middle-aged Asian man who sat in an office chair whose eyes didn’t leave the television once except to run my credit card through the swipey thing. Two ladies attended to me at the same time, one to do the pedicure and another to do the manicure. I couldn’t read a magazine while this was going on, so I had to look at my reflection in the mirror. Seated in the pedicure chair, unseen motors massaging my lower back, with two small Asian women grooming my hands and feet, I looked like the bloated, spoiled dictatrix of a Third World country. Cool.

Kate’s wedding was at an Episcopal church in Rogers Park. It was lovely. The officiant was the Right Reverend Peter W. He’s Kate’s godfather, so of course he performed the ceremony. He wore a groovy pointy gold hat, embroidered robes, and spoke with a British accent.

There were only about 50 of us in the church, most sitting on the groom’s side. I bet Nadine a quarter that Kate would slip James the tongue during the kiss, forgetting that there’s typically no kissing in Anglican ceremonies. Or so I’ve been told. Kate looked lovely, a sparkly tiara on her head. It looked like she was carrying a bouquet of what appeared to be lavender. She and James looked so young, and so obviously happy, considering when we parted ways almost two years ago we were both going through a rough patch. I was surprised that Kate invited me, and glad that I went. Also, slightly jealous of what Kate gave her maid of honor and bridesmaids as gifts — pretty necklaces to wear during the ceremony. And Hello Kitty vibrators, which were not used during the wedding. I had to point out to Nadine that, while I would never use one myself (I’m so easily distracted, after all), it would a nice addition to my collection of Hello Kitty wares. Also, I’m a prude.

The maid of honor was Jane C., now a grad student at Harvard. She looked good. I wanted to see if she had any good gossip, as I’ve got a reunion coming up, but we didn’t get to catch up that much. One of the bridesmaids had a large blue insect tattooed on her back, so I had no choice but to stare at it during the vows. It was hot, so Nadine and I fanned ourselves throughout the ceremony. I craved a cigarette and something cool to drink.

After pictures in front of the church, we went to the rectory for cake and champagne. Disposable cameras were given to guests to take pictures of themselves, of the bride and groom, of the lovely cake (fondant icing, roses, but no bride and groom doll on top). We caught up a bit with Kate and Jane during the reception, but most of the time we drank and hung out with Leo, Kate’s oldest pal. Toasts were made, and we all shed a few tears. In my case, it might have been sweat running into my eyes, though.

After the reception, on the train back home to change into cooler clothes, Leo and I talked about cool dance clubs in Chicago (Michael, I did my best to steer him away from Roscoe’s — fortunately, he knew better than to go). Leo had to go back to his hotel to change, so we agreed to meet at the wedding barbecue later in the day. I put on sandals, took the dog out for a quick walk around the block, and decided to leave my smudgy eyeliner on.

The barbecue, in Kate’s Wicker Park backyard, was lovely. James and one of his friends strummed guitars while we stuffed our faces with burgers and potato salad. I introduced myself to the the bishop right before Kate tossed the bouquet. Kate’s friend Mary caught it, thank goodness. If she hadn’t, it would have just hit me in the face. And no, I wouldn’t have chased after it. I’ve seen the clips on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” so I know what happens when a desperate women goes chasing after a bouqet. Inevitably, she slip and falls on her usually fat ass before sliding under a banquet table. I managed to avoid further disasters by cutting out early with Nick and Nadine (and Leo, whom we kidnapped) and heading out to Tuman’s Alcohol Abuse Center.

In case you’re wondering, Tuman’s (2201 W. Chicago) does not have a phone. If you call information for an address or a phone number, you’ll get nothing but a confused operator who will steer you towards an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. You must instead rely upon someone else to tell you about it or, even better, bring you to the place itself. It’s a dirty, dim place, even by Chicago standards, and smells of smoke and alcohol. That’s not an insult, just the way it is. Jeremy L. was there to meet us, moving from the bar to a table with wobbly chairs so we could all sit down. The first words out of Jeremy’s mouth? “$2.50 pints of Guinness.”

I love this city.

While Leo and I compared notes on bars in New York, Nick and Nadine caught up with Jeremy. When Nick’s friend Sian (sp?) showed up, more reminiscing ensued. Oh, and Sian is cute in that indie-rocker sort of way. Of course, I did absolutely nothing to recommend myself. Nor did I do anything not to, I just did my usual — nothing. Sian was occasionally propositioned by a drunk women wearing a banana clip in her hair, her shirt unbuttoned to reveal a dirty sports bra. She was also fascinated by my red fan, which Jeremy was using to cool himself. She kept taking it from him, flicking it open then snapping it shut. I managed to retrieve the fan when she went up front to harass the bouncer’s dog. A tall guy with blond hair slicked back with what looked like a quart of hair gel kept loitering by our table. Was he transfixed by my exotic be-yoo-ty? Nadine’s infectious laugh and bodacious ta-tas? He finally stopped, fixing his beady eyes on me to bark “Are you from Kazakhstan?” I replied in the negative, and went back to talking to Leo. Eventually, the blond guy left.

Leo finally had to leave at 12am, which was a shame as we didn’t get to take him to more bars. He had marveled at the size of the place and the cheapness of its booze, complaining that bars in New York (he went to Columbia 1.5 years, and will be a graduate student at Princeton in the fall) were nothing like Tuman’s, or the Beachwood or the L & L or any of the wonderful dives we had promised to show him. Nobody really wanted to leave, as Jeremy and Nick were easing into a comfortable drunken stupor. I just couldn’t stand to look at the same people at the bar, so I proposed we move on to the Beachwood. Sian drove while Nadine got teased by Nick and Jeremy in the back seat. Sian threatened to turn the car around several times, but we made it alright. Parking on Wood Street, we got to the bar, bagged the table by the window full of ceramic pigs, and I (for once!) bought a round of drinks — scotch and soda, two gin and tonics, 2 bottles of Bass. In total, this cost me $13. We put money in the jukebox and listened to T. Rex and Guns and Roses before going home. Sian took Jeremy, complaining about how sleepy he was, home in his car. Nick, Nadine, and I took a cab, poking each other with our ass fingers and giggling all the way back to Boys Town. Word.

We all got up super-late Sunday. Ate lunch with Nadine’s brother at Cafe Iberico, where the hipster waiter said “Absolutely” in this smarmy, sexy sort of way every time I thanked him for refilling my drink. The way he said it made my pants itch, but in a good way. I meandered home, stopping to look at shoes and check my e-mail at Screenz, the totally cheesy internet cafe near my apartment. Some good e-mail from Christine about her trip to Amsterdam (by the way, I’m drying to know what happened with your friend). I slunk home to walk the dog, then had to rush out to Kevin’s to watch “Sex and The City”.

It only took me 1.5 hours to get to Kevin’s, as the Armitage bus stopped running just as I got to White Castle to stop for food. I took a cab the last few blocks, stopping to feel sorry for the people still waiting for the bus at Armitage and Milwaukee. I missed the first 15 minutes, but it was a shitty episode of “Sex and The City”, anyway. I was relieved when Kevin put on the last hour of Lawrence of Arabia. The boys (Will, Kevin, Michael, Sebastian) had been watching the movie and eating pizza all afternoon, so I settled down with a cigarette and watched, too. Peter O’Toole — oy vey, what a cutie. Maybe a little less mascara could have been used in his close-ups. I missed the whole “I am a river to my people” speech, though.

Nadine is on her way back to New York. Nick left Monday morning. I hope you guys had a good time. Jacinda went to Joe’s sister’s wedding this weekend, and she says that nothing puts the pressure on a person like catching the bouquet at your boyfriend’s younger sister’s wedding reception. She said that, if she hadn’t caught it, it would have hit her in the face and she would have hurt herself. Also, she was surrounded by a bunch of short people who probably would have leapt up, knocked into her (she’s 5’8″) and chaos would have ensued. God, I’m glad I don’t have this kind of pressure in my life, as my boyfriends are imaginary and baggage-free.

No strange dreams, or none that I can remember, since Thursday night’s bizarre spectacle (recounted in flip front 195). If there are any of you out there who feel like sending their own interpretations, the winner gets a prize.


“The truth is I was dying to sleep with him. But isn’t delayed gratification the definition of maturity?”

PS: My cool co-worker Jed, who left work in February to travel the world, is back at work. We are all very happy he is back.

Shudder to Think – Speak; Massive Attack v. Mad Professor – Trinity Dub (Three); Sloan – Never Seeing The Ground For The Sky; The Flashing Lights – The Patient You Forgot to See; Daft Punk – High Life; Shelby Lynne – Mother; Rufus Wainwright – California; The Rolling Stones – Tumbling Dice


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