i moved to chicago for grad school a few weeks after The Great Chicago Porch Collapse. some kids and their 80 closest friends were having a party on a precarious porch and it collapsed and they died. not all 80 of them, but a significant enough number.
this became my mum's greatest fear. not that i would take drugs or have wild sex with a politician or elope with an atheist or be hit by the #151. not that i would become a presbyterian or a partier or get pregnant. those are nothing when confronted with the prospect of death by a porch.
every time i did anything remotely party-on-a-porch-like (wine tastings, doc films, study groups, etc.), my mum would evoke "those poor people who lost their lives on THAT CHICAGO PORCH"- as though this single architectural feature were responsible for humanity's inevitable doom. as though chicago were the capital of collapsing porches.
the only time i came near anything even near the adjacent neighborhood of a party on a porch that year was a spring break festivity at jennyfair's. i vividly remember standing with pirate, schreider, and jennyfair on jennyfair's back porch. jennyfair gesturing frantically with her cigarette in that way she had in the days when she still smoked and our thesis loomed. and all i could think was this: I'M ON A PORCH! I'M ON A PORCH!
my mum never knew. as far as my mum knows, i haven't been on a porch in the past five years.
so it was with mixed feelings that i gained a porch of my own in the last move. and it was with horror that i went out on that porch this morning, 2 days before the parents impending arrival, and discovered this:
because that'll make her feel so much better.