(this is annie)

A few people, none of them licensed therapists, have deemed me a manic-depressive. "You waiver between sparkling optimism and leaden despair," they say. "This emotional split even shows up in your voice: squeaky one sentence and sotto voce the next." Okay, so they don't say it exactly like that, but two or three people have shared this unsolicited analysis.

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.


insect-watching in wicker park

Last night I opted for a summer walk instead of summer slumber. We met up on Augusta, found a bench in Wicker Park and watched the world pass down Damen Avenue for hours. I was cold but happy in the night air, and we made a friend in form of a beetle. For reasons unbeknownst to us, the beetle seemed attracted to me. It kept pulling itself forward on its tiny claw-legs, pausing to gaze up at my face. My (human) companion and I watched our little beady-eyed friend for a few minutes before making a trek to 7-11 for a Slurpee. I was tired, but it was the sort of tiredness granted to innocent Midwestern summers, when you climb trees and go nightswimming and enjoy the simple pleasure of youth.

scooterless and drugged

From the Shitty Week Files: After the four wisdom teeth were removed, the anaesthesia began to work its magic. "I am a model patient," I told the dental assistant. "Trouvez la voiture," I instructed my mother. Having teeth plucked out of your mouth is a surprisingly less painful experience than one would expect. It's the recovery that's a bitch: eating baby food, swishing salt water, feeling hungry, dazedly stumbling around the house...

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.


im-tay insella-kay

I keep running into one of Chicago's young musicians around town. For reasons of privacy, we will call him Cap'n Joan of Owls. During one particular week, I saw Cap'n Joan of Owls three times at Lula Cafe alone. He popped up here and there, everywhere. I'd briefly talked with him once during the winter, when he sported what I considered an unfortunate mustache—a mustn'tstache, if you will. Anyway, the point is, we've never been introduced, but surely he has to think it's weird that we keep showing up at the same places. We're probably both thinking, "Argh, there's that weirdo again! Am I being stalked? Whatever would bring one person to Lula three times within five days? I will pretend that I saw nobody, and carry on smoothly with my normal day."

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?

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nicknames for people

There's a woman at work who keeps pointing out a newish contractor. She seems to think he is El Foxo Grande. "You should go talk with him," she urges from behind her marital cage. "Don't you think he's cute?" Well, to be honest, these are some things I find cute: kittens, raspberry tarts, baby shoes, and David Duchovny. Beardy the Contractor is not one of them. He's good-looking and all, but that's just not my "type." As I explained to Lady Coworker, Beardy lacks the mysterious air of moody brooding (and dark hair) that proves irresistable time and time again. Also, I think he wears pleated pants. Lady Coworker thinks I should pursue him. I suspect that she takes pity on me for having a seemingly endless supply of lousy-boy stories. At least it keeps things interesting.

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!

say hello

    it's anniet at gmail.


© 2009 avt

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