96: i wanna knit you a sweater

It’s been painfully hot and humid these last few days. The city opened cooling centers on the south side. The heat index is up to 107. Which makes it hard, if not impossible to wear makeup. It just doesn’t seem worth it, seeing as the heat will just crease eyeshadow, make mascara run, and melt lipstick into the tiny lines which are starting to form around your otherwise luscious mouth. But I couldn’t resist the allure of wearing bright red lipstick, and dangly red earrings to go with them, so I slapped on some paint and spent Friday night at Phyllis’ Musical Inn.

And thank goodness, as air conditioning and beer was exactly what I needed to get the evening off to a good start. The bar was full of Trixies — I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’m still entitled to my disappointment, right? Which is hypocritical, possibly, as I’m something of a yuppie myself. Anyway, The Glow Bugs put on a good show. Jeremy wore a tank top, showing off his buff drummer arms. Go, Uncle Jesse! Phil, another co-worker of mine, spun records between sets. There was a “beer garden”, which consisted of a few rickety lawn chairs and a basketball hoop. It was completely dark outside, and I had only the light of my cigarette to help me navigate the crumbling paving stones.

Again, the boy I not so secretly have a crush on was there, and we chatted about . . . stuff. I don’t remember, so it must not have been that important. As I was talking to him, I kept thinking of those lame tips from Glamour magazine — like touching his arm every so often, or tossing my hair seductively. I’ve got enough to worry about without making myself look like I’m ridding myself of imaginary insects. I wanted to try on his glasses, because I’m thinking about buying a new pair, but that would have been so obvious. And so totally lame. Also, I was feeling less confident because I was wearing flip flops — they’re comfortable, but they were a little wobbly (they’re platform flip-flops, you see). So I felt like a big dork, and the heat did not help. Stef, you would have been so disappointed in me.

Saturday was a little better — the Laws came over to go over last-minute housesitting stuff, and I spent the afternoon watching a really interesting program about competitive clog dancing on A&E. Of course, the clogging made me late for the Art Institute, where I was meeting Nadine and some other pals for an afternoon of air conditioned comfort and refinement.

I led the group to my favorite space in the entire museum, a dark room with oak floors in the Asian galleries. You go through two glass doors into a space with no overhead lights. Sixteen oak pillars form a grid at the entrance, so you have to walk through them. On the left-hand wall, there are two long oak benches, with the display cases opposite. There were some screens and a few kimonos on display. The air conditioning was almost silent. Mike and Angie immediately started mooching in the corner, as I’d described it as “the makeout room”, and they had to test its efficacy for themselves. And it is effective, I assure you. Not that I know from personal experience, but Mike and Angie seemed to have a nice time. It’s dark, and hardly anyone ever goes in. It’s nice to find relatively private spaces in public institutions. Especially if there’s no one to bother you.

Some galleries were a bit humid, which made me go all panicky. I imagined the chaos and horror should Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist” melt onto the floor. Which wouldn’t be such a huge tragedy — it’d just look like a Dali painting. We ended the day in European paintings, the huge Renaissance works showing old guys who either had a lot of money or were big shots in the Catholic Church. Mike showed us the painting that his friend Jeremy spent about 30 minutes talking to. It was of an archbishop who was martyred in the 14th century — he looked so tired, and maybe just a little lost. Or maybe that was just me projecting my feelings onto the work. I needed a sandwich before going to to Nadine’s brother’s apartment for dinner.

Sylvan lives in Lincoln Park, in a beautiful HUGE yet CHEAP (well, for the neighborhood anyway) apartment just one block south of the Golden Nugget. The air conditioner was on, and Sylvan and his girlfriend Lora fetched us water, beer, artichoke dip, and hummus while we watched MTV. Then it was time for dinner. I love dinner at Sylvan’s, because there is always so much of it. Also, Sylvan and Lora are the nicest people in the world. We ate grilled chicken, corn on the cob, spinach, pasta salad, and rice. We played phone tag with Sean, trying to figure out where to go for drinks. The Pontiac was not an option, as they have no air conditioning and it was too hot to sit outside. Sean had his heart set on the Alcohol Abuse Center at Tuman’s, but we weren’t sure that they had air conditioning. I managed to convince the others that the Beachwood did have air conditioning, so we went there.

I ran up to Jacinda’s apartment to get Jacinda out of the house — she was a bit down, a little sick. So we gossiped and drank lemonade on the way down to the bar. When we got there, the dog (Whiskey, belonged to the owner who died in late ’99 — bar regulars walk him when the bartenders are too busy serving customers) was out but Carla and Mike were in. They waved hi to me from behind the bar — Carla was carding, and I haven’t seen them do that in a long time — and I took a seat on the window sill, next to the huge plaster pigs.

There are three pigs in the bar — two males and one female, dressed like a farmer, a construction worker (I think), and a housewife. They’re really banks, with slots cut in the backs of their heads. They’re really big, so I leaned against them and reveled in being in the company of people that I loved. We sang songs (T-Rex’s “Jeepster”, “Pusherman” from the “Superfly” soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield, BON JOVI), drank beer — it was just like Jimmy’s, actually, but without the pretentious graduate students. It would have been nice if they served food, though.

I didn’t know it then, but that was the last time I saw Sean before he left for New York. He left today. I’m kind of upset that I didn’t get to say goodbye. But before I get too melancholy, I will recall some of the evening’s finest moments, care of Sean. He didn’t recite the lyrics to Prince’s “Bob George” (like he and Damien did famously two years ago at Nadine’s birthday party), but he did do the following:

1. Mick Jagger, strutting about with his chest stuck out and his lips pursed, to “Miss You”
2. David Byrne, doing the big suit dance, to Talking Heads’ “Once in A Lifetime”
3. a lite fm radio dj doing a *brilliant* introduction to Sting’s “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You”

The bar has central air conditioning, so the cool air streamed from vents in the floor. I would stand over one of the vents from time to time, just like Marilyn Monroe over the subway grate in “The 7 Year Itch”. But without the sexy dress and high heels. Nobody got really drunk, but I had problems understanding what people were saying anyway. Everybody looked really happy and pretty (especially Jalissa — she was wearing this totally adorable dress that Jacinda said she found at Filene’s for, like, $9) Kevin drove me home, and I saw a lot cars cruising for hookers. I only saw one, but I didn’t get a good look at the alleys near my apartment — that’s for next weekend, I guess.

Spent Sunday cleaning and shopping with Nadine. I bought sneakers, Nadine bought her boyfriend Nick some hair elastics at Sephora, and we hung out at my office to eat leftovers from Friday lunch and watch the storm from my desk. It was one of the best parts of the weekend, and I was glad to hang out with Nadine alone before she left.

I’m house-sitting until Friday, August 3rd so please call my cell phone if you need to talk to me. Or send e-mail. I like e-mail, too. I’d also like to take this opportunity to tell you Chicago flip frontketeers that I will be having a small gathering this Saturday to celebrate the flip front’s first birthday. I was thinking a picnic that afternoon, or drinking at Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap Saturday night. Let me know what you think, and have a good week.

“The way you flip your hip it always makes me weak”

PS: Happy birthday, Damien. To answer your question from earlier today, 25 is just like 24, but you can no longer say that you are in your “early 20s”. Also, say goodbye to your chances of ever being on “The Real World”.

Sigur Ros – Olsen Olsen; The Sundays – God Made Me; Radiohead – Hunting Bears; Lauryn Hill – I Used to Love Him; Black Sheep – The Choice Is Yours



~ by Jasmine on July 24, 2001.

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