31 July 2007

0 july: a revue

(in no particular order & uttered by various citizens of the Oline in the City world)

"for some reason, you really do remind me of mary boleyn. not in the 'bedding the king' way, but you have to serve two very different important people in a very careful manner."

"do you happen to be a work jacket with shoulder pads and thick material? because you are a BLAZER!!!"

"because i have nothing much else dramatic to ponder just now, i'm cultivating a dramatic ponderable just for kicks."

"you remember her? she just screamed professional skank."

"these things just fall out of my mouth and people look at me like 'are you gonna pick that up?'"

"when you break a plate, you could slit someone's throat worse than the terrorists did with those planes in 9/11."

"they had a really cool stage set-up but the music was just like a soundtrack to the lives of people who work at hot topic."

"when someone lets dear fly, i never forget."

"if your life gets boring without games, then you should invest in a dog."

"i had to go copy something on hot pink paper just to make myself feel better."

"i realize that has nothing to do with dead rats or anything, but i had to share."

"so he is in touch with his feminine side. so much in touch that he touches feminines."

"of all the days to entertain."

"he kept giving thumbs up to everything i said, but the kind where it is with both hands and completely out-stretched, following it with a wink of the eye, snap/crackle/pop of the hands, and a 'you are so great!' or something to that effect. it was the physical embodiment of the frustration in trying to understand a run-on sentence."

"i think our goal in life should be to surround ourselves with people around whom we can be OFF."

"his style says he might have substance, but after talking to you, it seems to only exist in 12oz bottles."

"you've had huge revelations today about the self-centeredness of a former boyfriend and your resolve to absolutely shun all non-jiving future behavior from men. my huge self-discovery was I like my hair, tee hee."

"what was he afraid of? being entangled with such hotness?"

"he looks like a cross between a vodka maker and kevin smith."

"then, there is X, whose profile just smells of alcohol. you dated that?!"

"these boys from your past look kinda like rejects from the russian gene pool."

"i guess the moral of this story would be russia is good for you, but only if it is far far away."

"with the posh spice reality tv show premiering on monday, i have quite a lot going on."

"well, what father is a fan of men in drag?"

"you see... that's one of those... empty... stories."

"the more i talk to people who are not my close friends, the more i realize they are not my close friends."

"for being all 'don't tell anyone about my horrible situation,' she sure has a lot of people in there to tell."

"i only have as many friends as i have fingers."

"stupid is so L.A."

"YES i understand that your daughter is sadly pregnant by a bad man. yes that is terrible."

"something stupid ALWAYS happens."

"people are thwarting me."

"you are quite the gift the literary world has been waiting for. i just wish someone would take a damn second to notice you."

"terrible things happen when you don't make a list."

"well at least we're not life-altering psycho."

"i'm QVing and she won't let me C."

"if you want to talk about bigoted people, you've got to go mormon or amish."

"remember those men we all kind of slept with?"

"i don't want to use you. well, i do but i don't want to call it that."

"let's... and this is my independent thinking... let's do something together!"

30 July 2007

5 tonight the part of oline will be played by charlotte lucas

the old boss is endlessly fascinated by my love life. but, as we've discussed, his fascination doesn't exactly follow a constructive bent. i forget this. i think we can discuss the vicissitudes of love and sit back and go ha ha! and move on. so i'm always a little thrown by the inevitable response. the leit motive of we've got to get you married.

apparently clocks are ticking, the good ones are getting away, blah blah blah. it's all very cinderella. and there are so terribly many things wrong with that statement. we've got to get you married.

maybe this is the generation gap. i grew up with mary richards and carrie bradshaw and the belief that a girl can make it in the city on her own well into her early 40s before it gets really really grey gardens damn scary. it may not always be fun, but it's never dull, it can be done and the shoes make it worth your while.

i'm struck every time i speak with the old boss by his idea that it's better to be married to someone- by God, ANYONE!- than to run the risk of being alone. of being not married. of being One of Those Single People. this coming from a man who married young and has apparently loathed his wife ever since.

admitedly, if we were living in a jane austen novel, this is the point at which we would begin to panic and i would leap desperately into the arms of the first mr. collins to come along.

but i don't understand the motivation here. we're a long way from regency england. we've got to get you married. why? what will happen if we don't? how scary would that be for us- for you to see me not be married?

there are things that we have to do and then there are things that happen to us and i'm pretty sure getting married just happens. though i have no doubt there are people that try, i don't think it's one of those things where you decide to do it and go out there and get it done. it's not like killing a sofa or cutting your own hair.

i'm 26. and honestly, i have yet to hear a single clock tick or see a good one get away. we've got to get you married? really, sir, it's none of your concern and, actually, sir, no we don't.

27 July 2007

11 it is finished

for the past nine months, i have lived dr. quinn. it got me through the holidays, a break-up, unemployment, a new job, the long, hard winter, and the long, harsh summer. for nine months, it has made my tuesday and friday nights.

now it's over and i'm somewhat bereft. because 90210 isn't going to begin to ease the tremendous gaping hole in my life formerly filled by those twice-weekly infusions of deliriously heart-warming, sanctimonious sap.

25 July 2007

5 rush

i am almost always restless. i want things to hurry up, to happen. i want to make plans and i want to know where i'm going. because most times i don't. most times i fear i might be standing completely still.

yesterday, i got on a purple line train to linden. according to its maps, it was a pink line to 54th/cermack. the conductor came on the PA and exclaimed, "all aboard! green line train to harlem/lake!"

and suddenly, as i stood there on a directionally confused train going three different places at once, standing still didn’t seem half bad.

23 July 2007

12 succulent scents

it's hard to know where to begin here. such an overwhelming abundance of makefunable things are happening. a list, if you please.

(1) a huge HA! to the idea that any human being on earth would want to wear a gourmet treat.

(2) a pox on the people at the demeter fragrance library for the their usage of the unfortunate phrase "succulent scents."

(3) and while we're on the subject, let us please take a moment and ridicule the mere existence of the demeter fragrance library and demean them for having exhausted their presumably extensive and fragrant archives to such a point that inspiration could be found only in jelly belly jelly bean recipes.

(4) in conclusion, what kind of girl would ever want to smell like a blueberry muffin- two parts blueberry, one part buttered popcorn?

let it be known, i am by no means a perfume snob. i wear designer impostor "happy." partly because it is $4, but mostly because it's called "you wanna play?" and that's just damn awesome. when the poor hapless guys lean in and murmur, mmmmmm, you smell nice- to be able to retort, you wanna play?

but if some poor hapless guy leaned into me at a party and caught a whiff of the wearable gourmet treats of the demeter fragrance library inspired by the jelly belly jelly beans, i can't quite imagine the response mango pineapple salsa would have quite the same effect.

22 July 2007

4 oh!

meggie & co. came to town this weekend. and i do believe the most fan-freaking-tastic moment was the hour and a half of girlie downtime devoted to the american gladiators marathon on ESPN classic. riveting.

we rooted for joseph mauro.
for the sole reason that his gladiatorial name was "bam-bam"
and that's a ridiculously fun name to shout while rooting.

and because bam-bam looked somehow so familiar.

there was something so elegant about bam-bam's mane.

his deadened, open-mouthed gaze.

his restrained reaction to unexpected failure.

the refinement with which bam-bam withdrew
to the corner to sob in defeat
(a scene which we were unfortunately unable to do
photographic justice due to hysterical laughter)

his indestructible courage.

bam-bam seemed so familiar.

then we realized.

21 July 2007

13 at last, my love has come along

two weeks of searching high and low at every walgreens and CVS between here and the loop, and finally... victory! the elvis presley memorial peanut butter cup.

20 July 2007

0 full stop

S called yesterday with a gossip update. an update which left him to conclude, "yeah, it's you and me. we're the last single people of the class of '99." i was walking home and in my preoccupation of safely crossing a street, i simply giggled. i didn't consider the ramifications of this statement.

thus, i was entirely unprepared three blocks later when S, haphazardly going through the gossip list, blurted out: "oh and RL's married."

i've never before heard anything that literally stopped me in my tracks. maybe that's because i'm usually told to sit down first. but here, i stopped and stood still.

RL was my nemesis in high school. he was wildly in love with partner. as partner's partner, i was wild with hate. somehow after he and partner broke up, we became kind of sort of friends. he came to see me in mississippi. i saw him in new orleans. the last time i saw him was in memphis the night before i moved to chicago for maph. his visits were never planned. he always called and said he'd be there later in the day.

if i know anyone who is going to be president, it is RL. which is scary because we disagree on absolutely everything politically. but he's got guts and opinions and verve and is probably the least corrupt person i know.

my most vivid memory of RL is when he came to visit me in mississippi in that weird summer of 2001. i remember crossing the street by the post office in the bright july sun as he talked about his Master Plan. how he was going to become a lawyer and he was going to meet a girl and he was going to marry her and he was going to have kids and he was going to become a politician and he was going to rise to national prominence.

he had it all laid out- dates and everything. and as the years passed and he fell behind schedule, i worried about RL. eventually, i stopped hearing from him.

so as i stood there stopped on a chicago street yesterday, all i could think was, well done, mr. president. you're back on track.

18 July 2007

2 stress ball

there are three major, big-time, scary work things coming up in the next four business days. and i was just floating blissfully along when suddenly there i was- barely even recognizable as this madwoman irrationally disturbed by the fact that her friends will be renting a car while they're in town.

not just irrationally concerned but freaked out. like oh my God! i'll have to memorize maps and one way streets and learn how to move about my city in ways that do not involve the simplicity of a swipe card and color system. oh noooooooooooo! as though this weren't something that really in no way involved me. as though they would be expecting me to drive. as though i might have never learned how.

it's frightful. how easily the brain can divert a boatload of worry about the things upon which one's paycheck hinges into an irrational fear regarding the details of someone else's rental car.

14 July 2007

6 everybody else is doing it so why aren't we?

the dread pirate dougO cosby-croft has declared a moratorium on writing about the world-renown musical event that we attended today. because all the cool kids run home and write about it, and we don't want to be that kind of cool. alls i can say is: fun times with underwhelming music have given us the greatest iconic concert image of our time.

13 July 2007

12 bird

lady bird johnson died the other day. and i'm quite sure most of america's response was: she was still alive??? and it's hard to imagine that she really was. she and LBJ seem so long ago. so far away from when we were even born.

first ladies are important, people. i've had this argument time and again when some fool has gone off on a "what did jackie ever do?" tangent. i refuse to fold.

it has to be quite possibly the hardest thing in the world to be "the wife of..." of anyone- let alone a president. clearly, the entire status of a first lady derives from being "the wife of..." but there's more to it than that. i'm pretty sure it's a damn tough job.

let's imagine being married to LBJ. a man most known for two things: 1) being incapable of cleaning up JFK's mess in vietnam, and 2) showing his apendectomy scar to a roomful of reporters. privately, he was a bit of an ass. an aggressive politico, a brilliant legislator, an unfaithful husband, and an extremely insecure, proud man whose primary negotiating tactic was to bring someone into the bathroom and ask them incriminating questions while they were pissing. classy.

and let's imagine being the followup act to jackie kennedy. fun times there.

so lady bird had a bit of a rough ride, as they all probably do. and yet, despite the rather demeaning nickname, she was tough stuff. she had her own money. she owned her own radio station. she was the main proponent of the highway beautification act and she won the congressional medal of honor. bravo.

and there she was the other day, passing into history with little more than a 15 second obit on CNN. which is both sobering and terribly inadequate.

i wrote lady bird johnson once. after jackie's death, in that summer of 1994 when i was manically, unconsciously gathering information for the something i was going to do ten years down the road. liz carpenter, her press secretary of a bazillion years, wrote back. an ivory sheet of paper curiously scented of lilacs and that smell that paper gets when it sits out in the sun. it answered all my questions with only the occasional smudge of typewriter ink.

i like to think that the pair of them, little old ladies in their eighties by then, sat out in their lawn chairs amidst a field of wildflowers answering correspondence all day long under the texas sun. leaving the pages atop the buds waiting for the ink to dry.

11 July 2007

25 the boys of summer

i got to thinking the other day about all the boys i used to madly love. the famous names and faces that my paperdolls wound up with and whom i was always marrying in my silly head. most girls do this and i'm pretty sure guys do too (sans the paperdolls). and i began wondering if there is any insight to found here- in these people we never know yet choose to adore from afar.

i thought and i thought and i thought. and then i looked at eugene. really looked at him. and there he was. an amalgam of all the boys i have ever dated had they been raised in the gulag, capable of growing a mustache, and denied access to mcdonald's, banana republic and modern american dentistry. analyze that.

10 July 2007

2 you see

i tend to think of the university of chicago as this gothic haven of hipsterness. i know it's also a stuffy, dusty old institution nicknamed "the place where fun goes to die," but for me, the u of c was about dave mac's wine tastings and concerts with dougO and public intellectualizing with croft and the haze of smoke at the cove and gramsci and zoolander and neutral milk hotel. and those things are pretty damn near perfectly lovely. which is why a tiny piece of me dies every other month with the arrival of the alumni magazine. because it is so not my u of c.

for real, people. i got a $40,000 degree and my reward is an eternal subscription to a magazine featuring cover art popularized by AARP and the united undertakers of america. i may be admitting my density here, but i don't know who the hell martha roth is. the fact that she has completed the chicago assyrian dictionary doesn't exactly have me on the edge of my seat and the pun in the headline is unforgivably and Biblically lame. but in the end, it is the editorial decision to stand her alongside what appears to be the doorway to a frank lloyd wright igloo that is most appalling. for shame, u of c. for shame. croftie and i could do so much better.

08 July 2007

3 rats & the city

i have a number of not so smart habits. one would be venturing out of the house without my contacts and in a pair of cheapie flip flops that occasionally come unflopped and flip about, exposing my bare feet to the evils of the street.

this happened most unfortunately the other day, and my unshod foot landed scarily close to a dead rat. i found solace in the fact that the rat appeared to have died from natural causes rather than the plague. nonetheless, this brush with deceased rodentry was deeply revolting, and i felt the need to keep the whole ugly episode hush hush.

i only confessed it to lindear. because i knew lindear would not betray me. wouldn't reveal that my glam, hip persona is a total sham and that i am, in fact, a moron dedicated to sight and shoe schemes that bring me in perilously close contact with rodent corpses.

admittedly, this should have taught me a lesson. namely, that i have moderately bad vision and require reasonably stable footwear when walking the back alleys of our fair city. but sometimes, lessons are hard to learn.

which brings us to today. when i set out contactless and in those flip flops. and- shock of all shocks- the flop came unflopped, my silly self stumbled and my stupid foot landed right on the periphery of a rodent death pact.

this was quite possibly the most disgusting thing ever. because they were rats. two rats. and the only thing more disgusting that one dead rat would be two. and this was my foot and it was perilously close to having made physical contact with these two disgusting dead rats. but there was this moment. this sick, grotesque, thoroughly repulsive moment by which i am, to some extent, still deeply disturbed.

a moment where it was just me and them and they were almost beautiful. the pair of them sprawled daintily on the slick asphalt amid the shards of a shattered heineken, the emerald glass sparkling in the light, casting shadows on their faces as they lay there together, their feet stretched in such a way that they appeared to have been clutching and then gently slipped from one another's grasp.

and in that sick, grotesque, thoroughly repulsive moment, i almost felt guilty for having disturbed their peace.

07 July 2007

4 07.07.07

the completion of the spoils of time trilogy
and the advent of a substantial drinking problem.

06 July 2007

7 the next big thing

i'm a bit of a planner. that will probably come as no surprise to most everyone here. not that i can't be spontaneous and a total goof when other people are involved, but left to my own devices- most likely out of abject fear of any and all boredom- i plan to the hilt. because plans are exciting.

for months, meggie's wedding has loomed ahead. there've been other little excitingments cropping up along the way, but it was meggie's wedding that was always on the horizon. and now it's over. and i don't quite know what to do with myself.

thus, immediately upon my return, i went into plan overdrive. emailing my father about labor day tickets home, my aunt about a possible trip to new york, pestering my mum to take me to paris and kara beautiful about the fall birthday bonanza. i begged S to move to chicago, told lindear kankakee was calling her name, harassed meggie into coming to visit, began plotting my pitchfork wardrobe, and made a dental appointment. in the absence of any plans, i unconsciously made plans everywhere i could.

apparently, i very nearly drove my father round the bend. to the extent that, in exasperation, he asked my mum, "what is wrong with her?" my mum-- whom i sometimes think maybe knows me better than i know myself-- said, "i just told him, 'you know how she is. she's looking for her Next Big Thing."

04 July 2007


my family pretty much comes down to memories and mockery. those are what we do best. and in that vein, we've acquired these little tidbits along the way- pop culture soundbites (often highly obscure) that we've incorporated into our daily lives.

for instance, if you leave my parents' house at any time in which my father is within hearing distance of the door, there'll be a shout of "have fun storming the castle."

but then, that's not so obscure. how about this: compliment a woman with anything remotely close to the line "she's a lady" and you'll get the response, "she was a lady... she was a feminist... she was a... sporting group!"- an homage to an unfortunate day in the spring of 1994 when my mum taped the westminster dog show over the concluding seconds of a most beloved jackie documentary.

there are many, many other things like this. and among those things is "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" ever since we saw titanic and the scene where kate throws leo off the rafty thing and blows the dead guy's whistle and the rescue dude hears her and screams "TUUUUUURN. THE. BOAT. AROOOOOOOUND!" ever since then, we have said "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" it's become so ingrained in our minds that despite a moderately successful film career doing things other than turning boats around, Turn The Boat Around Guy has only ever been known to us as "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"

my father and i have done this for years. for nearly a decade, we have said- in the same tone and with identical inflection- "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" it has become one of our most successful bits- second only in familial popularity to my mum's herman act.

so it was on Sunday, during our 7 hours together after meggie's wedding, that we spent the one hour in which we were awake watching the tail end of titanic on TBS. we watched it solely to see "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"

you can imagine our amazement when Turn The Boat Around Guy did not, in fact, say "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" when he said- in an inflection entirely unlike the one we have used for the past decade and in a tone we had never heard before- "TURN A'BOW!" at the time, we found comfort in the belief that it must've been a case of freak network editing, but a monday morning consultation with the titanic dvd proved otherwise. Turn The Boat Around Guy does not say "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"

it's difficult to express how fully this has shattered my family's belief system. there's been a flurry of emailed recriminations and heated discourses on who precisely is at fault for this decade-long misquote. i lay all blame with my father for being a perpetual misquoter. he, in turn, accuses my much-lauded discernment for failing to catch the error. my mum sides with him.

there is a palpable sense of shock and concern. a fear that if the three of us can create a shared memory around an entirely invented slice of film dialog that perhaps we've gotten everything wrong all along. suddenly, we are in a whole new world. a world where we're not quite sure if we can still "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"

02 July 2007

7 seeing steven, the lindears, the partners and father bear and getting meggie married

june 29-july 1

for the very few people who were not in middle tennessee this weekend, this is what it looked like from the oline vantage point from beginning to end. you may be treated to other vantage points at a later date depending on how flattering they are to the oline.


"play any dominoes?"

"ha ha!"

"ever, you won! wait. ever, you lost!"

"they're being such boys right now."

"ax. a. x."

"partner, where did you get boobs?
we're going to have to talk about that."

"bit wider than a thumb there, don't you think?"

"oh my God! were we just shot?!"
"it was a balloon."
"damn balloons."
"that was so scary i almost peed."
"five down, one to go."


"you're so liiiiiiiiiiittle!"

"hell yes that was awkward. you don't sit a gay man wearing a 'last supper' belt buckle next to the reverend."

"if i ever get to the point where i'm putting poo- my own or anyone else's- on my face- i want you to shoot me. deal?"

"do something that'll look really cool on film?
that was your something really cool?"

"y'know. we could totally hijack that priest
and pretend this was our wedding."
"yeah. that would pretty much be the ultimate in free-loading."

"look how cool we look up there."

"those boys are getting on my last nerve."
"honey, you're marrying one of those boys.
you've got to get used to this."

"buttered mint?"

"think there's time for shoe shopping?"



"whoa. that was your kentucky derby smile.
you may want to take that one back."

"i'm not usually this gay but i'm vacationing."

"what is wrong with the pair of you? you're fabulous and then we stick you in front of a camera and you fall to pieces.
caro, it's a dry wedding and you've never looked drunker."

"thank goodness you're finally here. i left my toothpaste at home."
"well, that's the one thing i didn't bring and borrowed all weekend."
"huh. heredity."