Most importantly, Lila burst out of her room at 1 a.m. screaming "WE HAVE INTERNET!" and directed my attention my neighbor's unsecured wireless network. Was I just too stupid to notice this? Or was this network added within the last few days? Who gives a damn! It means that I have Internet in the house! FREE PRON!
Also, it means that I can finally post an update without fearing that the U.S. Marshals will catch me wasting valuable judicial resources. I also happens to be 2:30 a.m. on a school night, so I will just have to write fast.
I started work. I'm not qualified. I think I went over this in my last post. So blah blah blah. These are some of the things that happened to me this week. After a tottering but forward-leaning summer and then five weeks of inexplicable radio silence, the love of my life broke up with me in a totally unspectacular, utterly heartbreaking fashion - by EMAIL, by a one paragraph email that ends with the backhanded "With all the love I have for you, SH." It was horrible and maddening and horrible again. I'm cycling through all the stages of mourning, but sticking mostly to denial, so far. A new friend said today that her heart feels like it's been ripped out of her chest, stomped on a thousand times at a concert, pissed on, thrown under the el tracks, run over by a thousand trains, then thrown into Lake Michigan, then eaten by a bass, then shat into the abyss. Fish shit at the bottom of Lake Michigan.
She said that about the state of her heart but I am stealing it to describe mine. It's fucking with my dreams. Last night I dreamt that I sawed Boo in half, to make him more portable, with the idea that I could just freeze him and have a doctor reattach his halves and have him be my funny old pup again, like new. In my dream, I put Boo in a kitchen sink and the upper half of his body cut the noble upright profile that it always does, and I thought he was alive. But then I picked him (or that half of him) up, and I realized at that moment that I had just killed my dog, and that no doctor could sew him whole. So I cradled Boo's upper half in my arms, and put my face on his, and cried. I woke up relieved, but also exhausted and befuddled. Boo is right now with a stranger, a friend of my fifth aunt's, while my parents visit my brother in Sydney. So that's that. I decided to break the blog silence about Stephanie, but it still feels weird to write anything more. I told my mom about two weeks ago; try explaining "open relationship" in a language you hardly speak. Maybe I should go back into blog silence about this
Other eventful things: I visited Obama HQ yesterday because my friend KG, a DNC staffer, is working there until election day. It occupies a floor of an office building on Wacker and Michigan, about a mile from my office. Average age of the five million industrious people crammed into that space seemed to be about 24 years old. It was a Saturday but still packed with people staring at emails, Excel charts, and the Gotham typeface from the Hoefler & Frere-Jones foundry. Incidentally, a note on Gotham: I love this font. It's in the same no-nonsense san-serif genre as Helvetica but much more modern because of the way the ends of the letters end in slants instead of horizontal. Also, the lowercase As enclose round ovals instead of those teardrop shaped absences. And it's American, not Swiss, and it makes me proud to be American. Obama HQ has a whole section for graphic designers, which KG tells me is unusual for a presidential campaign. The results are phenomenal. Contrast this:
Sure, Obama's style seems like corporate branding. But why is that so bad? It tells you that he is a man who knows how to manage his campaign and is attentive to detail. McCain, on the other hand, uses the whiny, unprofessional Optima font, whose bulging verticals would not be suitable even for the cover page of a fourth grader's science report. What idiot chose slate, white and yellow for McCain's campaign? Is this some veiled military color scheme I'm too pacifistic to understand? Or did I not get the memo about the flag changing colors? If you're at all interested in graphic design, I invite you to compare Obama's cautious, clean and consistent website with McCain's clumsy, erratic font carnival and tell me what each projects about the man's style of leadership.
You can hear the creators of Gotham talk about the theory behind it:
Wait, how did I go from heartbreak to typography? And how is it now 3:30? Before I collapse, I want to share with the world some important things I learned today. So my new friend/bandmate Steph is the kind of person I would never be friends with. In brief, she's a popular girl. She's one of those girls I would have (1) aspired to be friends with in sixth grade, (2) distained as conformist for the rest of middle school, (3) ignored completely for most of high school, (4) exchanged pleasantries with in the detente that seems to happen during of the final semesters of high school, and then (5) forgotten about for the rest of my life. She is easygoing, charismatic and crass in that way that pretty girls who play soccer and drink beer and work in marketing and do yoga are. Let's be clear that she is not a Trixie, which is something she defined for me today as we rode around in her cruiser bike gang (the "Queen Bees," started as a sort of post-breakup ladies empowerment gang, with the motto "Fuck 'Em and Chuck 'Em").
She is not a sorority girl or a dumb blonde or a rich, pretty prude like Cindy McCain. She ends sentences with "Suck my balls!" and yells more or less freely. She started out the day yelling things like "BANANAS ARE STICKY! ROW YOUR BOAT! STOP YELLING AT ME!" (no boats or bananas in sight, but indeed some security staff at Soldier Field yelling) and at the end of the day, when we passed a horde of people with suitcases waiting by Union Station, she yelled "MEGABUS HOLLER! HAPPY SUNDAY EVERYBODY!" and the people standing on the sidewalk returned with a loud cheer. She has about six lobe piercings in each ear and several tattoos - a puffy looking skull and crossbones on her ribs, a scorpio sign on her instep, and a ladybug on her big toe - but she still looks sunny and all-American, not hipster. She likes to play and watch sports. Today's bike ride was supposed to culminate at a Lincoln Park bar for the Bears game, but I opted out for that portion since I had to meet Lila at home. She said things like "totes rando" (which is short for "totally random") and "Who is Sarah Palin?" and she told me that I was good at math because I said that our $60 bill for dinner divided four ways meant we had to pay $15 each. She forced our group to stop in a park to take a photo of a garden gnome embedded high up a tree trunk.
Our extremely slow, meandering bike ride today trapped us on the lakefront path, so we had to detour through McCormick Place, a huge Javits-style convention hall, to get across the highway. We rode our bikes through the convention hall until security guards yelled at us and directed us to a series of escalators to get to the skybridge. Steph's friend Molly attempted to take a cameraphone photo of us on the escalator. She let go over her bike, which sent it tumbling down the escalator onto me. It got jammed in the escalator even as I continued to ascend and I had a moment where I thought for sure that I was going to be maimed in a disgusting way, but then I caught the wheel and placed it back on the stair. Steph laughed all the way to the top and said that I had saved her and the girl behind her because they would have just cried and fallen to the bottom, and then she called referred to me as "Muscles over here" for stopping the bike.
Not very many Queen Bees showed up today, so our bike ride was four people: me, Steph, Molly, and Trish. The other two were just as manic and weird and loudmouthed and likeable as as Steph. Trish wore a housedress and no shoes, just fuzzy slippers, and dropped the leftover almond cookies from our Chinese food dinner directly into her purse, for later eating. Then there was Molly. The first story Molly told was about the man she was dating. Gus had made fun of her to his friends for her saying that she liked him, and one of his friends composed a poem mocking her neediness. Gus forwarded this poem to Molly, and Molly responded with an email to both Gus and his friend saying, "Hey, I like your poetry idea. Why don't we go to an open mic and I can start the reading with my own poem, 'Gus, Why Do You Cry When You Come?'" Later she told a very simple story: she was at her aunt's house, where she was served a glass of whiskey. She finished the whiskey and threw the glass in the bushes. Molly did not explain why she felt compelled to throw the glass in the bushes. The moral of the story was that Molly did not know her aunt's glass was $200 crystalware, but "Why the fuck do people have to have that expensive shit anyway?" Another story she told was about eating dinner at a diner the night before. A couple at a nearby table was feeding each other food and making googly eyes at each other. Molly said it made her want to throw up and die, and at the end of the dinner she walked over to the couple and sincerely told them that she thought their love for one another was beautiful. Also, Molly referred casually to her "rape alarm," which she explained thusly: she likes to have sex and then sleep for an hour. So she sets her alarm for 6 a.m., wakes up her boyfriend, makes him have sex with her, then goes back to sleep. This also introduced another term, "dead fish," which refers to a person who has been awakened by another person wanting to have sex with him/her, but are too disoriented to do anything. Molly said that she was more frequently the dead fisher. Steph then came back with a seemingly unrelated story about biking home so drunk that she slowly tipped over and fell/laid down on her side and got trapped underneath her bicycle.
I write down these stories as if I were participating, but I was not. I was mostly silent and shy the whole day, observing and absorbing because I wanted to race home and write down everything I saw. I had the feeling that I was getting exposed to something I would never see this close again. I know that I'm not going to be friends with these girls, no matter how friendly and inviting Steph has been to me. They are unself-conscious and loose and fun, whereas I am afraid to allow my voice to modulate in public. They like to have sex with boys and play in a competitive adult soccer league; I like to have sex with no one and dream about sawing my dog in half. I'm Chinese and butchy, and I felt uncomfortable when they forgot their audience and said "Let's go to Chinatown" in their Mr. Miyagi voices and when they assumed that the heartbreak I was talking about was heartbreak about a boy. I'm not expecting to see any of them again like I saw them today, so I was just very happy to have had the chance to bike around with them today and learn a little bit about how the other half lives.Ugh, 4 a.m. Better get to bed.