Edited by Rebecca Lomax
Stars and Stripes
Friday night I stopped in at Avant Garage in Northside to check out the gear. After rifling through the second hand purses and records and inspecting some MC Hammer earrings, I chose a cool, slightly worn striped shirt. Then, I ambled next door to The Comet, where another stripe was.
Rumor had it that Meg White from the Detroit rock group White Stripes was there. I asked why she'd be in our neck of the Midwest, and an acquaintance said she was dating a former Greenhornes member. What is it with the colors, by the way?
I casually or not so casually glanced around. A few of my friends were watching the band Pearline put on a good show. It was crowded in the back room, so I stayed in the front where my boyfriend was.
Marty, a sometimes pool buddy, came in.
Before his drink was fully on, I suggested we grab a pool table. The band had finished playing and we arrived at the table right as a couple of guys were putting their quarters in. No problem. We played them a couple of games and then got the table. While sitting there, I kept looking for Ms. White but didn't see her. I saw her boyfriend, however, especially when he came over to ask for a light.
When we left, I asked my beau if he had seen her.
"Yeah, she was over by the..." he said.
Damn. Celebrity in town, and I missed it. I couldn't understand it. It's hard to miss a girl with long black hair and healthy bosom, which besides being a good drummer is part of her fame. Among guys at least.
The next day I met Shawn for brunch at Cody's Cafe in Clifton. It had been a while since I'd seen him, as I've been doing the standard MIA bit when you first fall in love with someone. My boyfriend and I have missed at least three parties and several friends have been out in the cold since we hooked up. But I felt better when he explained that he disappears in May and June each year for Ultimate Frisbee.
Ultimate Frisbee sounds about as foreign to me as curling, but to each his own. We ordered our food, which ended being quite a lot. But I was so hungry, it felt like I hadn't eaten since the last time I saw him. We caught up on things, gossip and I told him how Ms. White had made an appearance at the bar. He wouldn't believe me.
While we were there, Joel, an artist whose work is on exhibit for the month, was hanging his paintings. They were by far some of the best works I've ever seen by any local artist. I was so enthralled, I almost fell out of touch with where I was.
There was music to be picked up at Shake It record store in Northside, so we went there. "Don't let me buy anything else," Shawn said. But if you've ever been to Shake It, you know that's a pointless task. Until he found a tape of Nick Cave videos, whereupon I wanted to wrestle him to the ground for it.
While my friend was buying his CDs and coveted video, I copied down some apartment addresses that were for rent. Our house is up for sale, so it's time to start looking for new digs.
"What's the address on that one place?," Shawn asked as we were leaving. I couldn't remember off the top of my head, so I rifled through my purse and noticed a couple passing but was too busy with the contents of the bottomless bag to pay any attention.
"Remember how you said you missed seeing the girl from the White Stripes," he asked.
"Yeah. Why?" I said.
"Well, you missed her again," he said, giggling.
And sure enough, I saw the dark-haired musician walking with her fellow into the store we'd just left.
Wet Weather, Social Drought
Rain drops kept falling on my head this past week, thanks to the failure of my folding umbrella. One thing in this world that needs to be made better is the umbrella. They're useful only if they're not constantly flipping inside out and tearing from their tines when the rain happens to be accompanied by a light breeze.
Unfortunately, I wasn't so lucky with mine this past week. It went into the trash can on Friday.
My real gripe with the rain is that it prevents me from taking walks in Clifton and riding my bicycle to and from work downtown. Usually I will chance it if the weather forecast calls for rain because my experience has usually been that the rain waits for me to reach my destination. Usually. But I try to avoid inclement weather if I can, because riding a bicycle on Cincinnati city streets is dangerous enough under ideal conditions. Drivers are discourteous and annoying enough to cyclists in the sun; I can do without being annoyed, disrespected and wet.
Thus, this past week there was very little bicycling and walking. The other negative aspect of this is having to hunt for change to ride the bus ... especially when you have to stand out in the rain with a flaccid folding umbrella that offers you no protection.
This frustration is what rain does to people after we endure as much of it as we have this spring. Granted, the flowers on my porch are bigger and more colorful already than they were by the end of last summer, but the rain can be dangerous for me because it can cause hibernation and reclusiveness in people who are easily swayed toward the sofa. Combine that with a series of friends who have lately forgotten how to use the telephone to return calls, and the wet weather is foiled by a substantial social drought.
Thursday evening I had had enough. Bill was working late that evening and I had a ton of laundry to do (which I was happy to avoid), so there was no stopping the happy train. A group of coworkers and I jaunted to Nicholson's after work for happy hour compliments of our department head, who gave us a gift certificate to use.
There is no denying that the only time happier than happy hour after a week like this is a free happy hour, and happy it was. I finally broke down and had an alcoholic drink (usually I would rather save the calories involved for a bowl of ice cream) and let my ears turn red a little.
We also sampled the spinach and artichoke dip, which they serve with toasted sesame crackers. I'm used to the standard pita triangles with this type of dip, but the crackers were a nice change.
Of course, we looked outside after a while to notice the rain had begun to fall yet again on our fair city. We lingered, but the show crowd was beginning to fill the bar and we were occupying a huge table that was reserved for some show-goers, so we departed, fearing the deluge would sweep us away if we waited too long.
So we can see that rain might be a good thing, but too much of it not only presents a danger of floods, but a deluge of cynicism that only the sun can temper. I guess if I had to locate a silver lining among all these rain clouds, it would be the nearly total absence of my Cincinnati-style allergies this year. If I can't go outside, I might as well have the pleasure of not sneezing as I watch the rain fall.
Life as an Island
Let's make something perfectly clear here: I love the islands. With all this rain and the cold temperatures in Cincinnati, it wouldn't take to much coaxing to get me on a plane and horizontal on an island at all. I have a feeling I'm not alone in this sentiment either. But for a moment, let's digress.
This week started out with a small infraction of a misplaced e-mail. OK, it wasn't a small infraction, but a costly one, when this e-mail was read by a dear, close friend of the opposite sex. I was exiled to an island.
When it appeared that the relationship was permanently damaged by this infraction, I resorted to my comfort measures. I exercised until it hurt, ate ice cream, stayed busy and went to the movies. Twice.
Monsoon Wedding was at the Esquire Theatre and, though I hated the wedding concept, I knew the cinematography would be beautiful. As I drifted down Ludlow on Wednesday night, I realized all the businesses were closed due to a water main break and for a moment thought my plan was foiled by lack of water. Luckily, the show goes on sans running water.
Work and home consumed the daytime hours, but the weekend loomed. Friday my mood matched the weather, so I took to my bed. My back hurt by Saturday morning but at least the sun was shining. The cold air stung my cheeks as I participated in a civic gardening project but it felt good to be among the living again.
Post gardening and freezing my ass off, I proceeded to take a shower which also does wonders for the morale of the isolated and meandered over to The Friendly Stop to have lunch with a friend. The whiskey barbecue is always good and the mood was festive for a Saturday afternoon.
My lunch partner proceeded to cheer me with tales of shark wrangling, dating and travel plans. We lamented the incestuous world of certain circles in Cincinnati, but all in good humor, of course. It was refreshing to be out and about though I still felt a tad remorseful over that e-mail debacle, so I retreated to a movie. God, am I predictable or what?
Kenwood Towne Centre was a mob scene at 5 o'clock on a Saturday, which I suppose is normal but frightening all the same. I scurried into see About a Boy and hoped the critics were right. Hugh Grant had a new haircut but, in addition, his character had the concept all figured out. He asserts that life on an island is a way of life.
Do I get a life raft on this island? See, the problem with seeing movies alone is that you don't get to discuss them afterwards, though I don't have to listen to my date complain about my taste in movies either. I suppose it's a tradeoff. Plus, I didn't have to share my popcorn.
Traveling through a weekend without a partner or much company is a good experience, though not so terrific that I want to do it all the time. I mean, solo sex is sex with someone you love, but it lacks a certain unexpectedness that comes with a partner. The same is true for the solo weekend.
Yeah, I did exactly what I wanted, but life as an island is being somewhat remote. I am with the kid in the movie — you need back up.
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