It’s 2:26 am on Saturday night. Sunday morning, I guess. I have be at work at… holy crap… 8am, again. Last time I was supposed to work at 8am, I got sent home at 8:10 for arriving at work at 8:02. Okay, fine. I was 8:03 when I actually showed up, but I kicked my own ass carrying those four heavy boxes minutes before I was sent home. That was on Friday. Friday was a beautiful day, the first real day of spring here in Chicago. I should be asleep. It’s 2:26, whoops, 2:27 am for Christ’s sake. I should be sleeping, especially because I also just got back from a ten hour work day at the Intercontinental Hotel, running tech for a “get the homeless people off drugs and into a home” fund raiser, complete with a fifteen piece band with horns, violins, a bald percussionist with tape on his knuckles, and five singers of different ethnic back grounds to keep the transitions between Sinatra, Soul, Salsa, R&B, and Rock love ballads totally seamless. The host of the evening was a local news anchor, the guest speaker was a man who lived with the homeless for a month on the streets, an auctioneer with a gavel fetish raised money by chattering and pointing at people the way only an auctioneer can, and then there was the quintessential tear-jerker documentary about homeless people overcoming the impossible challenges set against them, cleaning up their lives, and eventually owning their own home. I laughed, I cried, I bought a raffle ticket and lost, I farted in a room full of rich people and, just as I suspected would happen, watched them all react by wrinkling their noses and looking around the table for the guilty party. But this post isn’t about how I should go to sleep, because that isn’t going to happen until I’ve documented my Friday. And now that I’ve started, now that I know that I want to write about my Friday, yesterday (and a half), I’ll just get to it, cause it was great, even though is started out pretty crappy.
Yeah, I got sent home 10 minutes after I punched in at 8am on my day off. I went in to make up some lost time earlier in the week due to a krink in my neck that I got from falling asleep while reading in bed. I was pissed when I punched out, but, in all honesty, I wasn’t all that upset after spending a few seconds outside, plus I now had the entire day to enjoy, which was, again in all honesty, the first real day of Spring in Chicago. So being fired for the day, although ridiculous, although insulting, although financially unfortunate, was totally worth it. Here’s how I spent the rest of that day, which is going down in the books as one of my favorite days ever. Here is my ode to April 24.
Right, so I got sent home from work. I quickly removed my uniform and put on an obnoxiously colorful and completely polyester Hawaiian shirt, complete with repeating images of windsurfers, palm trees, and bright yellow Hibiscus flowers. I wear this shirt from time to time when I feel either really good about life or really crappy. I also wear it during thunderstorms in hopes of being hit by lightning and having this 100% polyester Hawaiian monstrosity fused to my body forever. Once I was properly dressed for hilarious disaster and geographically confusing hijinks, I donned my new boots and set off for the lake front to record an homage to my a video I shot on my favorite day in January, when I tromped along the frozen lake in a 9° silent snow fall. In January, the entire lakefront was mine. This Friday, my Friday, the lakefront was teeming with people, but I remained undaunted and I talked to my myself as I tromped through puddles, waved at trees, and ate my lunch in a playground full of screaming children with sticks of chalk bigger than their arms. The most memorable moment of my little walk was probably when I noticed a girl. She was dressed head to toe in black, with jet back hair with a purple streak out lining her face, all of which was hidden underneath a black lace scarf, and she was wearing heavy eyeliner and black lipstick, and she was slowly spinning a white rice paper parasol on her shoulder. She was taking cell phone pictures of a baby squirrel running around in circles betwixt three trees. I asked her if she had made a new friend and she instantly flashed a cold look at me. To my surprise, the ice in her eyes melted almost immediately and she replied, “I’ve seen this guy here lots and lots of times. I think he is the cutest squirrel in Chicago, so I give him bits of homemade cookies. Sometimes I make a whole batch just so I can bring some to him.” Somewhat shocked by her sudden openness, I told her about a little black squirrel that lives in one of the old trees around the corner from my apartment who has either no fear what so ever, or no sense of self-preservation. The first time I met this little black squirrel, he (I’m assuming he is a he due to his boldness and/or stupidity) ran across the street directly at me and jumped onto my foot, looking up at me with this look that said, “Yeah, I’m on your Goddamed foot, what cha’ gonna do about it? Nothing, that’s what. Now give me a Goddamned homemade cookie, punk.” A hippy chick friend of mine who was with me at the time of this confrontation with the animal kingdom said something to the tune of, “that was magical.” Parasol Goth-Girl didn’t find my story very moving and, with a halfhearted “Oh, that’s cool,” went back to photographing her squirrel with her phone. I complimented her sun umbrella, wished her good luck or happy birthday or some snarky remark, and quickly retreated from her. I was on a mission and I found a small tree to give the thumbs-up, the same tree which I had waved to with a gloved hand 61° ago.
Soon after my reunion with that small tree, I received a call from Dan, a fellow sound-man. Three years ago, we had bought Frisbee golf discs and had played Frisbee Golf religiously for one summer. That following fall, we religiously excommunicated said discs and hadn’t touched them since. It was time for the Church of Dan and Obsquatch to reestablish a spiritual connection with the plastic apostils: Driver, Midrange, and Putter. I walked home from the beach, put on some mesh gym shorts and a clean, white, just been bleached Guinness shirt, hopped into Dan’s new-car-smelling new car and drove to the holy land of the North Suburbs, where Frisbee Golf Courses are abundant and fruitful. I was doing well until I threw my bright orange midrange disc into a river. Maybe it wasn’t a river, maybe it was just a stream, but I was going to have to swim across it to get my disc. I wasn’t going to swim across it. I was going to have to cross somewhere else, hop over the barbed-wire fence that protected the golf course on the other side of this creek and rescue the disc. I got dirty and bloody as I slid along the soft, over-saturated banks of this stream of lawn fertilizers and chemicals; and that is how it came to pass that I christened and baptized my new boots in mud, blood, and isazofos. I ended up being eight over par and happily caked in mud. There are cuts on my legs that sting in the shower.
We stopped at White Castle on the way home from the Frisbee Golf course. We split an order of fifteen sliders and nine chicken rings, complete with “Zesty Zing” dipping sauce, an order that probably feed five normal Frisbee Golfers. That is probably the reason that the charity partygoers were so offended by my flatulent fly-bys. White Castle can and will rip you up, for real. For really real.
Directly after White Castle, I went to do a sound check for my first show with the band Paper Thick Walls. They had called me on Sunday, we had our first meet up on Monday and I had learned all their songs by Tuesday. I was a half hour late for sound check and still had a golf course mud, industrial poison, and hemoglobin crust coating on my arms and legs. My once clean, white, and pristine Guinness shirt was spattered and blotched with dark gray brush strokes of dried mud from wiping off my Frisbees and sliding down the bank of a runoff ditch “bum run” style. My headband was brilliant blue though and I was ready to play. I had totally missed the sound check. “Well just get a quick level before you start tonight,” said the sound man. Whoops. The cello player I picked up on the way was pissed because he never gets a good sound check, and thus can never hear himself on stage. I went home, posted that mornings videos to YouTube, put on a black tee-shirt with an illegible logo for a Santa Rosa record store, an old pair of jeans, my blue headband (of course), and a brown suit jacket, and I headed down to the show. As a result of my tardiness and its resulting lack of sound check (I did not fess up about the stop at White Castle as I knew that would seem… offensive to both the band members and their sense of smell), the cellist had to play Friday night’s show with one of the tuning pegs of his cello stuck in his ear; without proper monitors, that is the only way he says he can hear himself. “Good trick” I commented at the end of the show. The show was a total success. I had a blast playing the tunes and I’ve been told that the whole show sounded great, even the unsound checked cello. A few shots of Jameson later and everyone was happy. We thought, nay, we knew that we were destined for greatness, which we still know now, even after sobering up a few days later.
Yes, Friday morning was bad, but it was the catalyst for an amazing day. And if I get fired from my job at that greenhouse due to being three minutes late on my day off, I will be bummed out, but only for a minute or two. In fact, if I get fired, I will be crushed, but I will also be excited. Because if a day that started with me being sent home can wind up being one of my favorite days in recent history, I think that with enough free time and a complete lack of resources, I will find myself on the other side of the world, sporting a blue headband, a polyester Hawaiian shirt, a pair of oversized old-lady sunglasses, a dirty set of old gym shorts, and a huge smile. And I will be looking around at all the tropical plants that I used to only find in the greenhouse in Chicago that I got fired from a lifetime ago. I can’t wait.
Now it’s 4:22am and I am going to sleep. G’night.