Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This just in:

I am bored with the following things:*
1.) My blog title. The current title was only intended as a starter title, training wheels for a blogging neophyte if you will (and you better). It's outstayed its welcome, and I'm ready for a change. Nothing from poetry, please.

2.) Weekends. I need to go to an art exhibit or a flea market or a car wash or something. As great as OnDemand is (and it is great, believe me), it does not a complete weekend make. I should break out that "painting" I was working on, too. That lime green background had potential. Still has potential...

3.) Weekdays. See above. Subtract OnDemand. I'm losing motivation at the speed of (insert cliche here).

My life has become decidedly soap operaesque. Something scandalous happens to each character about once a season, right? And the rest of the time they're just sitting around in their underwear at their minibars** dishing about or secondhandedly contributing to other peoples' scandals. So, yeah, aside from the underwear thing and the minibar thing, and, really, the scandal thing, I'm living in a soap opera.

Ennui really is the word of the week.

In other news: it's prom-y time in the coverage areas***, and I've been bombarded with images both visual and verbal of glitter and poof and the timeless 'comfort vs. style' debate re: footwear. Looks like it's about time to break out my own Promtale. It really is a good story (better with live reinactments, but ah well) and one I'd like to spend some time writing. Stay tuned... maybe this is the motivation I need.

* Insight and/or boredom reducers much appreciated
** How is it that all rooms in soap opera scenes have minibars? And does anyone in real life own decanters?
*** I can hear the ensuing rejoicing now.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

lachrymose, ennui, elegiac...

...borrowed words, scribbled hastily on the price tag of a borrowed book...

1.) lachrymose: causing or tending to cause tears

2.) ennui: listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest

3.) elegiac: expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past

The Intent: to borrow for use in future endeavors? to define state of mind at time of recording? to research, and determine next course of action based upon definition?

I speculate the first option is the accurate one. Although any endeavors from this point forward would technically be double-borrowing.

I am a word-circler. Circle words I don't know, or think I know and want to make sure of. Underline great writing. Bracket great ideas (used to use the squiggly-line-with-downward-pointing-arrow technique -- too messy). Occasionally drop a tilted exclamation point or question mark onto the outside margins. Have once or twice sketched family trees on blank back pages. Rarely dog-ear, unless I deem the entire page perfect.

Have never written on the price tag.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Double Bind

I’m lounging poolside; it’s a particularly perfect brand of 73 – cloudy enough to nix sunglasses, warm enough to break out the flip-flops for the first time this season. The pool water is still frigid, but that doesn’t stop me from dipping a toe in every couple of minutes, just for something to do. Maybe by next plunge I’ll have adjusted to the iciness and can submerge a whole foot…. Nope.

I’m a little wary of the bird’s nest precariously tucked into the creaking branches above me; I try to focus instead on the potted (what are those? Impatiens?) and note that my knowledge of flora is limited practically to the point of unacceptability. It’s hard to be patient with the paperback I’m wedging open with a thumb because the breeze, its angle (or my angle) and its strength, is just enough to flip one page up, set it down, flip it up. Concentration lost.

The only movement: a swaying flag mounted to the (what is that? An oak?) and a tabby, padding alongside the metal fence, tip of tail tapping each post with poorly disguised deliberateness. It’s a regular Shangri La out here. (I doubt, however, the true Shangri La had such amusing signage: “No one allowed in the pool with lesions, abrasions, open sores, eye or nasal discharge, or communicable disease.” Lovely.)

* * * * *

We consider ourselves lucky to get two seats together. But when we hit Addison, and the Cubs’ fans – the ones who’ve stayed late, soaking up the victory and vats of warm beer – pile on, we realize we would have had much less compromising vantage points if we’d been among the gamey throngs of standing passengers. People clear out fairly quickly, though; the motion of the train combines with impaired equilibrium to send a few passengers tumbling into open seats with an accidental grace.

“Hey. Ladies. Guess what I’m wearing.”

“Um, a Cubs’ jersey?”

“Nooooo…. under my jersey.”

“A blue lace tube top?”

“Who told?”

“You told.”

“You showed, actually. You lifted up your shirt when you got on the train.”

“Well, OK. Guess what else I’m wearing.”

“A wedding ring?”

“Hey now. Don’t you think this top brings out my eyes?”

I’ve never done well in crowded, compact spaces. Add motion, add sweat and shoving and the potential for getting jammed against doors that open regardless of whether or not you actually want to leave the train. Add the sounds – the cell phones, the crying babies, the announcer who has a suspiciously Brooklyn-y accent. Add the fact that Robyn and I are magnets for riffraff of all sorts.

I’ve never done well on the El.

“Chicago is a very political town.” [Swig from bottle wrapped in brown paper… distinctive slosh of last half-inch of toxic backwash.]

“Uh-huh.” [Don’t make eye contact. Once you make eye contact, it’s a conversation.]

“You girls go to school? I went to school. I taught school. I coached football at Tuskegee. Played football at Tuskegee. Where do you go to school?”


“Ah! I went to Northwestern. Played football for Northwestern back in…” [Mumbling. Swigging.] “It’s kind of a political school, isn’t it?”

“I hear Chicago is a very political town.”

* * * * *

So, April by the pool, sunny and 73 in a makeshift Shangri La, replete with flip-flps? Or April on the El, clammy and crowded, jostled and hassled by leftover fans who lean in too close to slur their secrets?

I think the answer is obvious.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Calgon, get me the hell out of here

In retrospect, I guess I shouldn’t have been so shocked that the only women’s restroom in the all-nude strip club was the one in the Girls’ locker room.

As a burly bouncer in a too-short tie swatted girls in various stages of naked out of the way, clearing a path to the stall for my bathroom buddy and me, I had to wonder about the etiquette appropriate to such a privileged scenario. Do I avert my eyes and make it a point to scrutinize the carpet at all times, or is not looking considered offensive? And if I look straight ahead and happen to catch a glimpse, am I expected to pay up on the spot ... or at all? And how do I handle my reflex-reactions? I’m wearing a freakin’ cardigan, so it’s no secret that I’m the sore thumb; are my blushing and lip biting noticable, and, more importantly, cause for an ass-kicking?

Thank goodness there was enough to distract me from thoughts of my early demise due to the breaking of the Code. As I guarded the stall door for my friend, I leaned up against the dingy taupe lockers, emblazoned with glitter decals, name labels (Heaven, Esmerelda, Dynasty - my favorite), and pictures of small Hispanic boys made in those sticker-maker photo booths you find in the food courts of malls.

I made a conscious effort not to look like I was checking things out. But you know, you can see a lot more under fluorescent lights - bruises, scars from C-sections, poorly-plucked eyebrows; subconsciously, I knew those things must be there, but it didn’t really click that I knew until I had actual visibility.

There were other things, too, though ... things I know I had no clue - subconscious or otherwise - about. The teal vinyl Winnie the Pooh backpack with a crumpled thong hanging out of the front pocket. The rhinestone picture frames (photos of fully-clothed mom and smiling daughter) propped up on makeup-smeared countertops and leaning against the wall-to-wall mirrors. The pile of discarded spike heels in red and black patent and clear plastic.

And then there were the supplies. Countless trips to drugstores and supermarkets must have dictated the blueprint for this precise setup. All the pink cans of aerosol hair spray were clustered on one shelf; on the next: neat rows of generic-brand lotion bottles and boxes of single-ply tissues; on the bottom shelf were three plastic tubs of tampons: heavy, medium, light. Every can and bottle and tub was labeled “MOM.”

A storage bin nearby was crammed with every fragrance of body splash Calgon has ever made - freesia, pear, lilac, tropical fruit, a signature scent for each dancer, maybe. The Girls lined up, single-file, in front of the bin for a quick spritzing.

The organization of the catering table was just as military in its uniformity. Cannisters of licorice sticks, dry cereal and cheese puffs (cheese puffs? Really) lined the table, and there were trays of apple slices and deli meat, and cheese sticks being passed around amongst the Girls who weren’t too busy prepping.

I was relieved to find that there was far too much going on for anyone to pay attention to the wide-eyed, ponytailed sorority girls who may or may not have been adhereing to a Strippers’ Locker Room Code of Conduct. I think the Girls were actually more aware of their peers sticking to the backstage rules.

A sign above the pay phone read: “If you pick up this phone, you are responsible for finding the person the call is for.” Underneath, in black permanent marker, someone had written, “Fuck no do it yourself.”