I am beginning to think that maybe they are right. After the scooter was stolen, I tried to look on the bright side. Think positive. Sure, my mode of transportation and mod-tinged coolness was gone, but I vowed to keep my chin up. It's true, the motorless life had its charms. I did enjoy taking walks around the neighborhood and greeting cats in windows, even tolerating the occasional two-mile trek home from work. Riding bicycles around the Loop at two in the morning was a reminder of how a deserted city can seem so tangible, so easily yours. And of course, my body needed the exercise, so maybe there were pluses to losing Vespy.
Well, two weeks into this stint, the dark side has taken over. As I pedaled to work today, the bike's screeching brakes announcing my arrival at each intersection, I realized that I don't really like commuting on the velocipede. At all. My asthmatic little lungs gasp for air whenever I put some muscle into the pedaling, so I cruise at a low speed. Bending over to reach the handles has led to back problems and poor posture. The tires kick mud onto my clothes, so I can't wear my best outfits (and most certainly not my new favorite, "French Mod Intellectual Annie" -- red and white striped shirt, black miniskirt, black mid-calf boots, glasses, neckscarf). The exercise leads to sweating, which will inevitably lead to pimples. And worst of all, pedaling involves moving my thighs and derriere... which means it's open season for the arse-happy catcallers of the meatpacking district. Stupid bicycling!
I think it's safe to say that my armchair psychologist friends were on to something. But at the end of the day, despite best efforts, ol' doom and gloom reigns once more. Now, if you'll excuse me, the Huffy calls.
Today was supposed to be a good day. I was heading back to work after sleeping for almost three days straight, and I was going to get a lot of work done on this Big Huge Scary Project that's due next week. I felt so good, in fact, that I woke up early. "Hoody hoo, I'm going to be on time for once!" I hummed. Making it down four flights of stairs took a while, mostly because I wasn't used to walking. But I'm a trooper, you know, and I made it. I stepped out of the building and took in the beautiful blue sky, the green trees, and the glaringly empty spot where my scooter should have been.
O Vespy, my Vespy! Where had she gone? I knew right away that some scoundrel had laid his eyes on my lovely little scooter and had nabbed her. I trudged back upstairs, grabbed the appropriate paperwork, and shuffled to the nearby police headquarters. I should also mention that I was still slightly loopy from the painkillers, and so I practically slumped onto the precinct floor. In a daze I helped the police officers fill out their report, my thoughts drifting toward snacks that weren't baby food. If these sentences make little sense, it is only because the time itself made little sense.
After I'd been at work for a couple of hours, I received a phone call from Chicago's finest. They'd found Vespy. I can't divulge many details, because I'll have my day in court and all, but here is what I do know: my scooter is totaled. The thief is young enough to order a Happy Meal without receiving an arched eyebrow at the golden arches. And even after insurance, I probably won't have enough money to buy a replacement scooter. So, to sum up: kid steals my scooter, I pay insurance deductible, I have no scooter, kid likely gets off with slap on hand. You can just call my life El Stinko Grande from now on.
I hadn't seen Cap'n Joan of Owls in a couple of weeks, so I thought maybe the planets had realigned, keeping us on our normal paths away from each other. But then, I was shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, and there he was sitting with his ladyfriend. Finally I decided to say something. "Why do we keep running into each other?" I said to Cap'n Joan of Owls. "I mean, don't you notice that we're always at the same places? This is kind of weird."
Cap'n Joan of Owls just smiled sweetly at me. "And why are you at Saks Fifth Avenue?" I continued. "I didn't know you liked Marc Jacobs."
With a gentle shrug, Cap'n Joan of Owls said, "Man, who doesn't?" and then walked away.
Oh, I should mention that all of the Saks bit was a dream. But it was pretty convincing, eh?
You know what else keeps things interesting? Giving people nicknames. Without divulging identities, here is a sampling of recent nicknames given: Senor Dipshit; Diesel Boy; Gary Sinise; Dreamy K; The Unhappy Little Elf; Overbearing M Foxy McFoxerson; Matlock; Peter Brady; The President; Frodo; The Freshmaker; The Locust; Our Fake Boyfriend; Tex; Max Fischer; The New Tony; The Best-Dressed Boy in Chicago; and so on. Roomer and I now have our own nicknames, too: Nitewing and Elfstar (which came from the detailed windshield of a low-rider Honda and a Chick tract, respectively). It pleases me to give people secret names, because it's as though I am creating my own little world with its own characters. I'm prone to telling Evan (Matlock), "Just look at Foxy McFoxerson. He totally loves me and he's kicking himself for standing me up that one time."
In news that will explain my recent absence online: I've been writing reviews of text and sound. One's to be published in Bust within the next issue or two. The other big news is that now I'm a reviewer for Punk Planet. The Tomlin reach is expanding!