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Tales of a Post-Grad Nothing

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Open Letter

Dear Guy Who I Spoke to at H&M a Few Days Ago:

First off, I owe you an enormous apology. In my world of sweaty-palmed awkwardness, decent-looking strangers NEVER come up to me out of nowhere, tap me on the shoulder, and say with confidence, "I just want to tell you that you're incredibly cute." It just doesn't happen, especially without wanting anything in return. Women have a higher likelihood of spotting Jesus riding a yeti than receiving a genuine no strings attached compliment from a non-creepy stranger in broad daylight. In fact, the phenomenon is so rare that when it did happen, my first reaction was to give you a crazy quizzical look as if you had stuck an entire infant in your mouth and I simply couldn't believe my eyes. When I saw your face go from elated to deflated in 0.2 seconds, I realized that I had just been the undeserving victim of kindness, but by then you had turned and walked away. Being next in line, I paid for my things and spent the next 40 minutes looking around the store to tell you that I'm sorry for giving you an accidental face-melting stare and that I think what you said was maybe the nicest thing I've heard in weeks. I didn't find you, but I did walk out on Michigan Avenue just in time to see a man dressed as a tiger put himself into a tiny glass box. See:

I guess you could say that's two acts of kindness. Next time I'll just blush and say thank you. Thanks for being really nice.



Friday, June 22, 2007

What's In a Name?

I just finished an interview with a woman who insisted on calling me Bikina during our entire 45 minute conversation. I tried to correct her numerous times, but she kept saying "What's your name? Bikina? That's what I've been saying! Right! Bikina!" The interview went so well and the woman was so ridiculously nice that when it was over and she asked me where such an unorthodox name came from, I didn't have the heart (or patience) to try to sound out Kris-Tee-Na again, so I just said the first thing that came to my mind. "It's Balkan."

Thursday, June 21, 2007


I keep going back that weirdo giraffe/penny picture - which is now my background by the way - and I cannot for the life of me come up with any plausible reason of why this thing exists...what the hell is it other than the greatest thing to come along since fantasy horse art? I feel like if I stare at it long enough I'll either go crazy or be transported to another time.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Adventures in Awkward

I got an e-mail that just said, "we, the people, only want to hear about over the top happy stuff for so long." Any time you receive an e-mail with a reference to the Constitution, you're kind of obligated to give them, the people, what they want.

As great as Chicago is, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still really awkward. That's fine when you're with someone because then it doesn't really matter how much sushi you can put away or how corny your jokes are. There's a mutual understanding that you both kick ass...hard. Dating, on the other hand, is an awkward process to begin with and for someone that's awkward by nature,* it's is like being thrown in a tiger cage with a plastic spork and a slinky to protect yourself.

Here's the rub - Every time I'm out with some dude, I get really nervous and think the most bizarre things - things you can't say out loud to a stranger because if your date rejects them, that makes for an uncomfortable evening and if your date accepts them, you're probably out with a mentally unstable person. My train of thought goes something like this on a date:

Why am I sweating like a farm animal? Why is it that I have an easier time conversing with my gyno during an actual examination than with this seemingly decent person over a nice meal? Maybe my gyno is just really personable. She did tell me I had a nice watch last time I was there. What if she were a snowman, would that be a more difficult situation than this one? I mean, she would have sticks for hands, so that can't be pleasant. I wish I had a detachable hand that I could change out for something like a divining rod or a Swiss army knife or a suction cup whenever I wanted. I'd be Suction Cup Couch. God that would be sweet.

And so on. The only time in my entire life this happens is when I'm out with someone. The better looking they are, the worse it gets. My brain doesn't stop the entire time and by hour 3, I'm thinking about really bizarre stuff like of all the failed presidential candidates throughout time, who would make the cutest older gay couple - that was a real thought I had my last date. I decided it was Grover Cleveland and Al Gore since they both won the popular vote but lost the office**. I figured that they were both probably bitter and would want to discuss that over lattes and low-fat scones.

By the time the date is coming to a close, things that would have gotten filtered out in the beginning of the date now seem relatively tame in comparison and actually work their way into conversation in the form of awful nervous joke attempts and misplaced sarcasm. On a date I had months ago the following conversation took place:

Dude: Those are nice pants.

Me: Thanks. I'm tiny and they're from the children's section. Play your cards right and you can say you got into a 14 year old's pants...I mean, not that, ha, you know, you would want to say that. I don't think you're into 14 year olds...Or their pants...Or any teen fashion really...Hey, sorry, my jokes suck and I've made this terribly uncomfortable. Have you ever said something and then immediately after you said it, kind of wished you were dead?

Dude: I don't think so.

Me: Right. Nevermind.

Afterwards it's like every WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT alarm goes off in my head at once and I go home wishing the earth would swallow me up. Dating is harder than multi-variable calculus. I would get a 1 on the AP Dating Exam.

Last Wednesday, I went to the beach with my dog. While there, I started talking to this girl who also has a dog and who, like me, happens to have an affinity for girl punk bands. We talked for about half an hour about who the poster girl for punk rock should be*** and when I was ready to leave, I said goodbye and started heading across the beach towards home. I was a good 5 minutes into the walk when I felt a tap on my shoulder and the girl shoved her phone number into my hand and said, "Um. I don't want to be creepy or anything, but you know, we should hang out...hang out together. [awkward pause]. I'm sorry if I sweat all over that phone number. I have, like, a lot of glands in my hands. [awkward pause]. I have no idea why I just told you about my glands." I smiled all the way home.


* I have no idea what this is, but it came up when I Googled "Awkward By Nature." I was hoping to find some reference to Naughty by Nature, but a giant penny facing a drunk giraffe might be better.

** Yeah, I know John Quincy Adams also falls in the Won the Popular Vote, But Lost the Election category, but do you think that the man who invented the internet is going to settle for someone as angry looking as this? I don't think so.

*** Brody Dalle - duh.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'll Take "Names I Was Probably Called in 1993 As the Only Girl in Middle School Who Didn't Start Shaving Her Legs Until the Eighth Grade" for $200

Monday, June 18, 2007

To Air Is Human

The Chicago regional air guitar championship was this weekend and sweet saucy sally, was it face-meltingly awesome. There are few things in the world I love more than competitive air guitar...honestly. I love watching it, I love interviewing people who do it, I love being in a sweaty club and screaming my lungs out while some dude who works in sales during the day has his 60 seconds of rock star glory. while fans. I love that there are different schools of air guitar philosophy. I love that one of the tenets of air guitar is "If you're playing air guitar, you can't be holding a weapon." Everything about it - from the dude who competed dressed like a Transformer to the woman who threw her bra at him - makes me want to high five the entire country. I mean, just look at this picture and try not to smile...see, you can't do it...you're a little more in love with humanity right now too aren't you? I thought so. The world needs fewer reality TV series and more air guitar rock gods.

Besides having all things rock rain down on me Friday night, I also ate at Hot Doug's Sausage Superstore and Encased Meats Emporium again this weekend. So far, that's my favorite place to eat in Chicago. Besides the fact that it's delicious, Hot Doug's also has this mural inside the ladies room:

and the sign on the girl's restroom features an empty hot dog bun. I'm cool with anyone that's commissioned a painting of American Gothic replaced with hot dog heads. That's enough to get you a Field's Medal for incalculable awesomeness in my book. Later this week, I have every intention of filling this recently purchased flask:

with high-end gin and taking it to a park to watch a free screening of Stomp the Yard. It's like I moved to my own weird slice of heaven. I am incredibly thankful to be here.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Things Found While Googling the Word "Saucy"

This, no caption necessary:

Whoever you are "Denise Belfon AKA Saucy Wow," I want to be your apprentice.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Taste of Love is Sweet When Hearts Like Ours Meet

I have the above song in my head because last night I went to a bar with a barrel for a door and saw a mutton-chopped man belt out that song with semi-flailing hand gestures. While I would have preferred Cash's better-titled song, hearing MC Mutton Chop's version of Ring of Fire while sipping gin and ginger ale was almost as good...almost.

My love for Chicago continues to rage like the unquenchable flames of a California wildfire*...to a level almost as absurd as that last sentence fragment. I'm kind of enamored by everything here and spend my days walking around thinking embarrassingly simple thoughts like "Look! Rent is affordable here!" and "Nobody here has spit on me yet!**" and "These charming, non-spitting people really do use the word 'Pop.'" See how they use the word 'pop.' See how affordable it is here. See how there's no spit:

Yesterday I ate a popsicle while standing knee-deep in Lake Michigan, then on the way home I walked past a restaurant called Laurie's Pizza and Liquor. When I realized that they deliver both, my heart nearly exploded. It is heart-explodingly good here...at least for now while the weather isn't out for blood.

The thing that I love most about being here is the subtlely bizarre sense of humor Chicago has. Why have a regular wine shop when you can have one shaped like a castle for no reason at all***? Why choose a normal bike ride when you can go on a naked one? Last time I came here, a friend and I ate in an Indian grocery store that's also a restaurant and hiding near the bathrooms, we saw this poster:

That's a woman whose face is framed by what appears to be an oil-covered eagle about to eat your soul. If that doesn't say Chicago Loves You Baby, I don't know what does.

* Sweet sassy molassy I wish I was a writer on a daytime soap.
** I cannot say the same thing about New York.
*** The photo on that site doesn't do it justice. They're serious about the castle theme. That building has old timey looking bricks and everything.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto

I interviewed this band earlier in the week. As far as I know, it's the only one man, seven robot band in the world. Also, the guy who fronts it is ordained somehow and performs weddings. You can book the robots to play cover songs at the reception. I've decided that I can't possibly have a future with any boy who can't look me in the face and say, "I too want angry, swearing robots to play my wedding." My standards - they're low, but they're there.


Monday, June 11, 2007

The Richmond Wrap-Up: Where the Run-On Sentence Rulez

This past week has been a delightful blur. There was moving out to be done and grandmothers to visit and ladies nights to be had and sushi to be consumed by the boatload with friends. It was fantastic and exhausting, so much so that it made me doubt why I would ever want to leave such a fantastic and exhausting place. But I did leave and despite the warnings from my mother that I would get raped/pillaged/stabbed/shot/bilked/bearded/mauled by cougars, I actually drove out to Chicago on one piece. In fact, the most threatening thing I saw on my drive was a sweaty middle school kid in a Subway gas station in PA who had the single most righteous crustache on God's green earth - the kind of crustache that's full enough to catch a crumb or two...which it had...but transparent enough to show pimpled skin underneath. Also it was reddish-blonde and really long and the kid kept sort of running his fingers through it in the way that you would run your fingers through the hair of someone you were about to make desperate don't-even-wait-until-we're-in-the-bed-let's-just-do-it-
right-here-standing-up-against-this-door love to.

The Crustache Paramour, as I nicknamed him in my head, that kid kept stroking his pseudo-stache and saying phrases like "I mean it this time baby girl, I DO love you" into his cell phone. Look lady on the other end of that phone - friends don't let friends date crustaches, even during puberty. I'm pretty sure that's a commandment. If it's not, then it should be. Frankly, I don't want to belong to any religion where the crustache isn't punished by swift execution. Some call it unfair. I call it justice.

Even with the Crustache Paramour tempting me to spend all day in PA watching him and giggling to myself, I eventually did make it out to Chicago and it is awesome...even awesomer than I remembered it being. Yesterday when I was sitting on the beach of Lake Michigan (which is awesome in both the totally righteous and really big senses), sipping a weird Chinese smoothie thing and listening to The Kooks, I wanted to go up to every single person who lives here and kiss them on their sweet foreheads. I've only been here for 36 hours or so and already I've played semi-drunken wii, invented a victory dance Steve and company dubbed 'The Meathole,' snuck into a rib fest, and saw some band called Baby Teeth who would have been great if they had pyrotechnics and released some doves and snakes on stage. This weekend there are air guitar shows to be seen and pretentious drinks to be had. A friend is coming to town and I'm anxious to watch this place cover him in a thick coating of Awesome Sauce. Come and visit Richmond, life is good up north.


Monday, June 04, 2007

All in the Family

Kids, I'm headed to sweet, sweet Rocky Mount, VA for a couple of days to get one last taste of my grandmother's completely inappropriate line of questioning before headed to Chicago on Thursday. If I had to guess, my grandmother will say at least one of the following:

* Don't worry Chris, some men prefer smart girls over pretty ones.
* What's the difference between a geologist and a gynecologist?
* Why did the Jews start the Civil War?

Also, she will think of all of the members of our family who are younger than me, probably write their names down, and spend a good half-hour going down the list, asking me if I think each person is still a virgin. While doing this, she'll tighten her lips, close her eyes, and give me this silent nod as if to say Yeah, such and such was dressing like a total non-virgin last time they were here. I knew it all along. I'll let you kids know how it all goes down. Because this week is busy like whoa, I'll leave you with a story about horse porn, this creepy video, and this link to the pilot episode of Flight of the Conchords. Don't think of those three things as gifts, think of them as links of love.