Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Three-Way Tie for Last Place

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Living on Racine and Addison that summer of '85, there never was a dull moment. Those 'not dull' moments were usually courtesy of one of my roommate's friends who came to visit Chicago.

I came home one morning from a night out, to a very loud, bizarre noise coming from Tim's recently abandoned bedroom. (He had just moved home for the summer.) Do I mean LOUD. Like a dozen passenger jets taking off loud. Or a hundred cars sounding-their-horns-at-once kind of loud.
What the hell is that? I think as I creep up to the bedroom door. I open it and find a lone guy in a sleeping bag on the floor in the middle of the room, snoring like there's no tomorrow.
How is that possible? That noise was so unnatural in every way, it defied a rational explanation. I laid down on the couch and prayed I had drank enough to make me pass out.
Things only got worse when he woke up.
The next morning, Sunday, Steve introduced me to his friend from back home, in Missouri, Alan. He was in town for a few days for his first visit to the Windy City.
After a loud morning of them catching up on the news and gossip from home, as told over Steve's music, (whenever Steve had a friend over, he commandeered the living room stereo, it was his after all, and blasted his music. His taste ran a little more hardcore than mine, and I tended to run out the back door and chain smoke in the courtyard whenever he did that. This always reminded me of A. how tolerant Steve was of me using his stereo and B. how much our taste in music differed, and how tolerant he was of that. Now I like the music he listened to. It just took me twenty years to appreciate it...) We set off that warm, summer day, excited to show a new visitor our beloved northside neighborhood.
"What's with all these shitty-looking buildings?" Alan said, as we walked on Sheffield.
"Why is everyone wearing black when it is so hot out? Black clothes will just make you hotter!" He complained to Steve and me.
"And everyone is dressed so well. I don't get it. They all have to be in debt. Those clothes look expensive. Everyone in Chicago uses credit cards too much." He whined on: "And what's with all these crappy, dumpy buildings? If there were houses like that in my town, they would be long gone!"
Again with the buildings! I think to myself.
I snuck 'I hate you right now!' looks to Steve whenever I could. How does he know someone like this, let alone call him a friend. Steve was the most easy-going person I had ever met.
"What's wrong with that guy?" Alan said, as he pointed to a grimy looking man sleeping next to a dumpster.
"He's homeless! What's wrong with you!" I couldn't take it any more. An hour of his crap was enough. I stormed away from them, to Dunkin' Doughnuts on Clark and Belmont. I sat down with my back to the window, so I couldn't see him, and ordered a cup of coffee. Back then they had a counter, like a diner, and you could sit and smoke, just like that painting. I wondered if they were trying to avoid someone, too.

Because Doug beat such a hasty retreat from Chicago when I first moved here, (see post "Pleased to Meet Me" from April, 2006) he forgot his friend Mimi was coming for a visit. She was stopping in Chicago for a few days, on her way home to Wisconsin from Paris. Doug asked me if I could spend some time with her while she was in Chicago, because by then he would be back in Oshkosh. Mimi and I met a few times back home, but I forgot how outrageous she could be; Diana Vreeland with the mouth of a horny truck driver:
"Wow, Brian, you look great, let's go to bed! Wanna? Let's have sex! It'll be fun!"
For lack of a better response, I laugh. I'm not sure if she was trying to make me laugh or not, but I knew she wasn't kidding. She looked a lot like Diana Vreeland, too.
"Where's the bedroom? Over there? Let's go, come on. Ya wanna?" She said, smiling and nodding her head. I say nothing, my mouth hanging open.
"Wanna? Yea? Yea?" Nod, nod.
"Nooohahahhah!" I laugh nervously some more. I still couldn't tell if she was joking or not. She had just walked in the door not two minutes ago!
"Now come on, tell me about Paris!" I plead. She tells me about going to school there, and how glad she was to be home, for a about ten seconds, and launches right back into the raunch:
"Come on, let's fuck." She motions with her head to the bedroom, with that weird smile, nodding some more. "Sex. Over there. Bedroom. Vagina. Penis." Emphasizing each word with a motion of her head.
"Mimi, come on, you know I just broke up with Doug! Let's go to..."
"Omigod! He didn't tell me!" She interrupts.
We spend the rest of the afternoon together, and I tell her the whole story about me and Doug. She was able to get an earlier flight home, so her visit in Chicago was only for a few hours. I ended my story by telling her I felt Doug hadn't told me the real reason he left Chicago, and I half-heartedly asked her if she could try to get the real story out of him. Mimi and Doug grew up together, so I knew her allegiance lied with him. She was a blast to be around, most of the time, but I often felt 'less than' whenever I was around her. I don't know if I was just intimidated by her mega-wealth and style, but after I saw her, I wanted to burn all my thrift store clothes, and start shoplifting in fine department stores. She had that kind of effect on people.

"Here's that shampoo I made for you at work today, Brian." Jody said as she handed me a bottle. She worked at a chem lab at the time.
"I still can't believe you can just make shampoo at work." I said.
"It's easy." She said. "Oh yea, my co-worker Jerry wants to meet you."
"Oh yea?" I respond. "Who's Jerry?"
"My boss, a gay scientist." She smiled. "He's ten years older than you, though. He likes new wave boys, and I told him I live with one now."
"Well, is he cute? Would I like him? Do we have anything in common?" I said to her.
"I think so... you should just meet sometime and see what happens." I could tell she wasn't telling me the whole story.
Was he gross? Disfigured? Fat? Maybe just plain boring? I thought to myself.
Jody comes home for the next few weeks with "Jerry updates". She said he makes her tell him what I wore that day, what I did, what we talked about, etc. Each day, she said, he gets more and more anxious to meet me.
"Well, why doesn't he fucking come here, then!" I playfully yell at her.
"He can't durning the week, but he wants to come to with us to Berlin some weekend night. I tell him about all the fun times we have there."
Many weekend nights came and went, and he never showed up. A message of apology was always passed through Jody to me about how 'something came up' and he couldn't come.
Me and my insecure self thought he had secretly went to Berlin, saw Jody and I, and didn't like what he saw. I told Jody this, knowing she would tell Jerry.
(That story was just the tip of the iceberg: I have a way, when I like someone, of unintentionally coming on way too strong. Too strong in a 'love me because I hate myself, your love can cure me' kind of way, or in a 'starting now, for the rest of our lives, we'll always be together' kind of way. Jerry probably thought I had already picked out matching his/his coffins.)
He, of course, denied my paranoid Berlin scenario. We talked a few times on the phone, I think, but it obviously wasn't a memorable experience.
One day I realized I hadn't heard any new 'Jerry' news in a few days, and asked Jody about him.
"Um, he thinks you're mad at him for blowing us off so often, so he doesn't talk about you all that much any more." She said.
"Well then, what do you talk about?"

1 comment:

David said...

I love that she make shampoo at work. I can only make poo at work.