Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm Leaving with an Astronaut


Ugh. My first post without a cigarette...oh yea, and with glasses.
And if you want to know what the eighties smelled like, check out this cologne. I love, love it, but they should change the name from Dusk to Gay Bar, 1982.

I have always been jealous of people who ride the train to work. To me, they were successful. They wore suits. It meant you were 'somebody'. It meant you made it.
Back in the early eighties, when I moved to Chicago, my college educated friends and clients would, in my eyes, glamorously complain about their arduous daily treks to the loop, highlighting the monotony, and the element of danger.
Oh, it's just the daily grind and lack of options that start getting to you after a while. I mean, you can't drive and park downtown everyday!
In the eighties, train riders looked contented, well fed, and well shod. They wore the knowledge of their consistent routines snugly, next to their hearts, never to let them go. I made a commitment to myself back then, to get the kind of life they had, those train riders. Or was it their paychecks?
I worked on a commission, and for years I took home, well, let's just say I didn't take much home at all. If my friends hadn't paid the bills in those early days, I wouldn't be here.
Happily, those days were short lived, and when the time came that I took the train everyday to work, I wore suits and blazers, only not 'square' ones, and I rode with a sense of security, taking my place among the chosen ones.

After B left, in early '89, I wandered the streets of Chicago for hours, everyday, and every night, blasting my headphones.
I forewent public transportation and walked to work, then walked home, always taking the long way.
I took the Sugarcubes, Big Thing, Terrence D'arby, Strangeways, or High Hat with me to keep me company on those cold walks, the rainy walks; the sunny walks and hot walks.
Even though I knew I did the right thing, and asked B to move out, I was so sad about not being strong enough to change us both. I was sad about a lot of things between us. I knew I needed to make a lot of changes, but I thought I could do it for him, too.
The day he left, I decided to be a new person. I stopped listening to those negative voices that I heard all my life, those negatives voices that became negative thoughts about myself, and justified a hell of a lot of drinking and drug use. I just stopped. Stopped listening. I pretended I had never heard anything negative about myself. Never. Never heard it. I turned myself into the person I always wished I could be. Even though it wasn't real, I didn't care. I was going to see how long I could get away with it.
For the rest of 1989, I was a normal, well adjusted 23 year old, who didn't grow up the way I did, and who never touched a drink or a drug. I just wasn't. I liked it, and it felt good to be that person. It felt good to go out and come home and remember what had happened the night before, and not be embarrassed or ashamed. It felt good to be around new people, because I didn't have to worry about what would happen if I drank too much, because I didn't drink too much.
Around this time I started spending day light hours and many nights with my latest crush, Richard. Rumor had it he was one part of a motorcycle name, but I didn't ask or care, he was a beauty. (Though I did see his balance one night before Limelight, at an ATM, and there were a couple digits in front of that comma.)
I remember him having tons of gum in his car, and it felt great to spend time with someone who's company I enjoyed, and to feel present with him.
I was shocked when he asked if he could come over one night; shocked because I realised I had somehow started to believe that I was someone no one wanted to date. It hit me like a ton of bricks. It was scary. I really believed it! But then I remembered I was someone new.
Because I was spending more time with Dehli, or because Erin was spending more time with Donnie and his gang, she and I spent less time together. Erin and Dehli didn't get along, and I didn't try to fight it.
Dehli would fly into town every weekend for Limelight and shopping sprees. She bought up every dress Lane Bryant on Wells, after I watched her try every single one on, and she bought up every single stitch of Baronni make-up at Carson's. Literally. She said her parents kept thousands of dollars in their safe, and didn't seem to mind that she 'helped herself'.
I would train down to the Holiday Inn, when it was still on the lake, every Saturday night, and we'd cab over to Limelight. Even though I was off the pills and the booze, I was still very much on the freak train when it came to my late night get-ups, and we loved freaking out the hotel's other guests.

100% nicotine-free post. I'll finish this later!

1 comment:

American Girl said...

Yea! You quit smoking (again, if I remember correctly).

I remember when I first met you in 92, you were wearing a tie. Were you still dressing as you wanted to be perceived or was it because you're just a spiffy dresser?