Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly... All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise... blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Monday, December 19, 2005

Is it so terribly horrible that every time I see my neighbor I think to myself “stupid cute married neighbor!”? I thought that this morning when I was waiting in my car for the power steering to thaw so I wouldn't be too late to work. He was walking out to the car and I contemplated ducking so he wouldn't see me sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting in my car and think what a wierdo. But seriously my power steering freezes on really cold days and I always forget that it might be frozen in the morning adding another twenty minutes to the time it takes me to get to work.

It’s really unfortunate, for me not for him, that he is married. Seeing as how every interaction I’ve had with him has proven him to be a genuinely nice individual. I really don’t know anything about the wife. I’ve only seen her a couple of times whereas he seems to walk their dogs at a similar schedule as when I enter and leave the apartment building. Sometimes he’ll even try and hold the door open for me while I awkwardly manage to haul my bike up the four steps and past the hallway door to my apartment.

Married and taken men are always nicer though. They are as a rule, easier to talk to and in general much easier to get along with. It is as if being in love frees them from the awkward interactions with single people of the opposite sex that were always there before. When meeting other single people there is always the sizing up that we do of each other.

My friend and I noticed a specific instance of this the other day at the coffee shop. We ran into a guy friend of ours known within the circle (and I’m sure outside of the circle as well) as quite the womanizer (is that term acceptable today? Player didn’t sound quite right and man-whore too harsh or sexist because why specify gender with the word whore?). We chatted with him a bit and afterwards she remarked to me,

“He looks so different lately.”

“How so?” I asked, thinking first of the fact that hes been keeping his hair shorter and more kept up lately.

“Less dangerous,” She replied.

I instantly understood what she was saying. No longer was he looking at every female through the eyes of a possible hook up. It is a relief to say the least and it was definitely fun to see the way he looked at his lady friend when we chatted with them later on.

Ok. I’m using the word lady friend can I get some sort of grandma word usage waiver over here?!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yup, it's windy here....

S'uuuup Minne-snow-ta!?!

I bet my sudden presence here is a surprise to many (or at least one) of you. I'm living large at the parental home in the suburbs, after squeezing one-fifteenth of the prized possessions from my one-bedroom apartment in MN into one smallish bedroom in IL. Mom couldn't really be bothered to empty a few drawers for me, or clear out any of the *several* knicknack collections festooning the walls, floors, closets....yeah, it's a bit nuts in here. At any rate, I am thus far enjoying my short sojourn into the publishing world. Creating a Teachers Wraparound Edition (I find it endlessly fun that I'm working on the "TWE" -- Twweeeeeeeeeee!!!) for an Grade 11 Literature textbook isn't exactly thrilling, but it's a start. And I have started at the *very* bottom...today my boss had me setting up the filing system for tracking the progess of the book, that is to be my little darling project. Then she suggested I tell my coworker "Sad Bob" that I could do any photocopying he required, smiling I said, "of course" but inside I yelled "HELL NO!" I have zero grounds for feeling above photocopying, I have no experience for the position and was damned lucky to get this job...but truth be told, I could not bring myself to break this unfortunate news to Bob. The other sad fact of the matter is that I'm hopelessly bored half the day, in between small projects handed down sporadically from the boss, I simply sit and read, twiddle my thumbs, try *not* to continually check my email. I should tell Bob my copying skillz are all his. The workload has started off so slowly, but I can't really complain about getting paid to read.

Chicago is a great town. I just wish I had some more cool types to run around in it with, and that I lived in the big city rather than here in Evanston with mom and pop. The train is wonderful, I've done so much reading and music listening, plus there is no better way to observe crazy people. And the city! I've started to get a sense of the layout and the neighborhoods, and plan to take some train trips soon to places other than downtown. I love watching the pigeons on the El stops, though if they get too close I don't hesitate to throw a quick kick in their direction. They sit sadly huddled on the platforms, trying to get as near as possible to the humans clustered under the warming lights also trying (and failing) to stay warm. You'd think Minnesota would have prepared me for the cold, that freezing temperatures and wind would be old hat by now. No way, Chicago seems just as cold and I proudly wear my long underwear under my work pants every day.

And on the matter of office Christmas parties, I attended one on my third day of employment. It was partly awesome, but mostly horrifying. What's worse -- I have another one next week, for the *entire* HUGE corporation that my company is part of. Holy shiiiiiiip.

The view from my office pretty much makes this whole thing worthwhile. Except that I miss my Minnesota-homies like CRAZY.

There is a certain amount of dread that goes into attending the office holiday party. Each office does their holiday celebration in a different way. I used to love the outings that we would have as a college AV department. Our supervisor would take our tiny staff out to Buca for what was for me a resplendent meal accompanied not only by a bottle of Chianti (which I took home with me and used as a lovely candle holder) but also a desert wine. I was in heaven. This was a true occasion for our tiny and yet remarkably diverse (there was the campus ministry guy, the Egyptian playa, the Filipino little brother, our eccentric boss, and me the quiet book nerd with a penchant for local music) staff to get out and enjoy each others company. We squeezed into a booth, made horrible jokes, drank some wine and laughed harder than anyone else in the place.

After college however I discovered the true awkwardness of the staff holiday party. This was the party where I made sure that I was not only carpooling with my solitary friend in the office, but that I would also be sitting right next to her and her significant other at the time. This still was not enough the feeling of self loathing that overcame me as we drove away from the restaurant. I should have had someone there to show off to all the others. I honestly couldn't help those self pitying tears that welled up in the darkness of the car. I couldn't let them drop because seriously this is Minnesota and in December its pretty freaking cold here. That if nothing else will momentarily put self pity in check.

There is nothing like the open call on an office party invitation to invite family and significant others to cast your seemingly happy single life in a different light. Regardless of the fact that my friends are my family and often fill many (but not all) of the roles of a significant other, they are not welcome at the holiday party. Also I wouldn't dream of causing them the weirdness of having them tag along only to have their primary conversation of the evening resolve around explaining who they came with, why they were and why they were there and having to include the lovely phrase "no, we're just friends."

The next party is right around the corner. This is a new office for me and I see that they do things a little differently here. Significant others and family are still welcome of course but the party starts in the early afternoon and is not out at some nice restaurant. I've signed up to bring the spinach dip. Let's hope that the new environment and friendly variety of coworkers helps to ensure that my after staff holiday party depression doesn't show up this year.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I just think that getting on stage with a computer programmed to sound like a back up band when you are a solo act at a show called Imitation of Loud is totally cheating. That is why I did not get into your music mister second act, it also had a little something to do with your lovely footwork while playing the guitar, the fact that you repeatedly singled me out in the audience and that you resembled a college friend’s psycho ex-boyfriend.

The concept behind Imitation of Loud seems to be that of both creativity and guts. Do you have the guts to go up on stage and play for an audience when normally you are a single entity within the construct of a band and also how are you going to make that work? Honestly my motivation in attending was to see Jon Kaiser from Sparrows do what he had explained on the website as “some cello-tastic covers of your favorite R&B jams as well as some drastic reworking of Sparrows material.” And indeed I was impressed. The word I kept thinking of was primal. He was up there with a bass drum and some cymbals or a tambourine or something rigged up some how along with his cello. The instruments worked together to form a basic earth sound and then he sang. He sang and it was low and gravelly and human. His voice was a moan, a frail human reminding the audience that he too was a part of the music being made on stage. And then it was over and he left the stage as abruptly as he had entered it.

After meekly watching the second performer Joe and I decided that it was time to grab some dinner. I had showed up at the Turf Club after working another eleven hour day and hadn’t had any dinner in-between just a very large coffee which kept me overly chatty and didn’t necessarily help my driving skills in all the snow on the way back to Minneapolis. My driving however was not as bad as the person who nearly crashed into the front of the Turf Club before the show had started. As we approached the Turf there seemed to be a car in the front of the bar. There was an ambulance nearby and a couple of cop cars as well. When we parked we could see more clearly that there was a car facing the Tuf entrance a few feet from the door. The flashing lights looked lovely in the falling snow and I was just glad that they hadn’t plowed all the way through as I had a show to see.