RainbowSparkle73

My screen name in seventh grade was rainbowsparkle73. It used to be marmalademoocow39, but my next door neighbor, Ariel Polster, made so much fun of me for it that i changed it right away. Her screen name was a much more mature soccerbabe17. She was the kind of 6th grader whose parents took their whole family on vacations to playa del carmen and cancun in mexico and she would come back from them, tan, with her hair in hundreds of tiny braids and plastic beads at the end that in two weeks, she would take out and have gloriously crimped hair. She also managed to look attractive in snowpants, which at the age of 13 was a concern of mine. Naturally I cared about her opinion.

7th grade, of all years in my memory, is when the loneliness and isolation of middle school for kids who don’t quite fit in feels the sharpest and most painful. At this time, I was still growing out my mushroom cut and wearing floral stretch pants, and proudly carrying my multiple volume science fiction fantasy novels with me to school and back with me on the CTA. My second iteration of my online life as RainbowSparkle73 was an attempt to gain some modicum of popularity before 7th grade started. Coming of age in the early 2000s meant that you part of the “youth” figuring out how an online facade gave you second life, a chance to establish yourself socially with people you physically didn’t know and would potentially never meet, and I invited in this whole heartedly. To give you an idea of how this played out in my physical middle school, 7th grade was a year in which one of my best friends stopped sitting with me in french class because a more popular girl, named Isabel told her that if she sat by me she would commit suicide by jumping off her parents second story balcony. Needless to say changing my screen name to rainbowsparkle73 really didn’t help me out.

But I fucking loved AIM.

My best friend and I - the same girl who wouldn’t sit with me in french class due to threat of suicide- was the only friend I knew who had a computer with an internet connection in the basement and whose parents had evidently never watched to catch a predator and were fine with us spending hours on the computer alone.

Later, this unfortunate computer would later have to be trashed because her little brother Jeremy - the type to whom you would usually picture copying someone else’s geometry homework or getting kicked out of the homecoming game for being drunk -  obsessively began playing online women’s curling, a game in real life that is literally women on a ice rink pushing around what looks like giant hockey pucks. online women’s curling exists in a dark part of the internet because the technician laughed at her parents over the phone when they explained everything that was going wrong with the machine. They couldn’t salvage it due to the amount of spyware and viruses.

Before this happened, my friend Jordan and I would make up  AIM screen names, complete with a fake avatar with a picture of a random woman we found online.  We would just google search women’s first names like Jessica or Charlotte. Which when you searching Jessica in 2003 this inevitably turned up softcore porn of women in showers, bending over in front of a lawnmower, and lots of hard nipples. I tried googling Jessica the other day and now the search results are very modest pictures of white women with dark hair from the collarbone up, no nipples, and the lead singer of a chinese girl group called Girls Generation. Times change.

Equipped with our new online ID, we would go into AOL random chat rooms until strangers would privately messaged us. I don’t know what is worse- that our idea of what it meant to be a woman to us at the age of 13 pretty much encompassed a screen name that didn’t reference sparkles and having giant boobs or that our idea was attractive enough for the random fully grown men on the internet who would message us.They were always men. every conversation began the same - “a/s/l” Which if you don’t remember or had more in person friends when you were 13, means age/sex/location. We would reply, Jessica, 24, Los Angeles or whatever major city we thought was cool. The conversation would progress. wut up - n2m - u - n2m- have pics? They always asked for pics.  I would open a very up a very special folder on Jordan’s computer. In this folder, we have saved dozen’s of photos of topless african tribeswomen from national geographic.com outside of their villages with their children. And this is what we would send.

 

There were always two reactions. One would be to immediately get mad and demand to see tits. you know like, perky white girl tits? the ones they had been expecting? the other was to type lol at an attempt to acknowledge that they were “in” on the joke - the real joke being that we were 13 - and then also demand to see tits. good tits! At that point we would admit our age and they would immediately block us.

Until we met LoneWolf1. You could tell from his screen name he was a majestic creature, but misunderstood, because he didn’t have a pack to run with...he was just out in the wild, lonely, but too proud to seek solace or for someone to love him.  Which is why he was on the internet.

And LoneWolf1 just needed someone to see his dick. LoneWolf1 was so ready to get his dick validated in some capacity by the internet he just sent it immediately, no a/s/l.  He didn’t care if it was Jessica/24/LA or Clare Austen-Smith and Jordan Schweizer/13/Suburban Basement, Chicagoland Suburbs. Honestly, I like to think that even if I had been Jessica, I wouldn’t have appreciated his order of operations. To my knowledge, LoneWolf1 is still out there, maybe on chatroulette, thrilled by the possibility of sharing his dick with more people in the world than two 7th graders. While this spelled the end of Jordan and I’s marauding spree of deceiving men on the internet, it was only the beginning of my life online.

Buck

I was a freshman in college in my first serious relationship. Like most first serious relationships the learning curve was steep. Andrew, although he now goes by “Buck,” followed in the tradition of many white, rich boys from the pacific northwest who want to rebel against their parents financial stability and liberal private school education by selling drugs, buying confederate flag belt buckles, and reading James Joyce while loudly telling people they are reading James Joyce. Andrew was the kind of guy who would said things like “I don’ t want to tell you you’re beautiful often because it will like, kind of wear off, you know?” and when I told him I loved him, said, “I know,” and promptly fell back asleep.

He didn’t eat my pussy.

Ever.

I dated him for a year and a half.

I even bought him a fucking book, a physical, bound book, on how to eat pussy, and instead of taking that as any sort of catalyst for some self reflection or change, it literally was his new favorite thing to show his friends and laugh. Which is a good example of how the male ego works to sustain itself, and also how to be a dumb idiot. I guess I just assumed in all relationships it was normal to be a hole before you were a person. Also his dad died while we were dating, so I guess that was my justification - he won’t make me cum, he clearly doesn’t care about making me cum, but his dad died, so like, it’s normal, it’s okay, he’s just hurting!!! I guess you can only eat pussy if you have two parents or something.

If all these red flags weren’t enough, the biggest one was that I couldn’t poop in front of him. If you are so uncomfortable being yourself in your relationship that you can’t take a shit, you have got to get out.

Andrew also loved going on road trips - open air, the mountains, a stick shift car I didn’t know how to drive so he could fulfill his male power fantasy of control, and of course  his mom’s credit card fueling the gas refills.  At the end of my freshman year, he asked me if I wanted to drive with him back to Seattle from New Orleans.

Meanwhile, I hated camping and road trips, but I said yes because, I mean, his Dad died.

As soon as I had agreed to go, my thoughts turned to my shit. How was I going to take a shit on this road trip? We had gone one smaller ones before, and I also never took a shit. But this road trip was going to be 9 or 10 days. 9 or 10 days without potentially taking a shit. 

I told myself, this road trip would be different. I would take a shit on this road trip, and my ailing relationship would be rejuvenated and reach new heights.

The weeks leading up to our departure, I was consumed by the thought of pooping. I practiced breathing exercises. I tried to practice by pooping in unconventional places, by which I mean any bathroom outside of the one in my dorm which my body had apparently identified as the only place I could relax enough in to poop. I have one of those bodies that somehow go on high alert anytime I try to poop somewhere other than my “home” bathroom is. It’s as if the second an unfamiliar toilet seat appears, the fecal matter inside my body begins to worm its way upward, instead of down.

7 days into the road trip, I predictably, have yet to take a shit.

I am in pain. I pretend to doze off while Andrew drives, meditating on my GI tract and visualizing, a la the Secret, the shit exiting my body. Every time we stop at a Burger King o ra Subway and I eat, I can feel the semi digested food stacking up on top of each other, and wonder when it will back up all the way to my stomach, then up my esophagus, then through my throat, and finally, my mouth. I imagine opening my mouth to speak and shit literally pouring out of it in the middle of a subway in Wyoming. I would have been grateful for that to happen. I would have said thank you. 

Day 8. There is no relief. We have made it into the beautiful desert of the Southwest, and every time we stop to take a photo next to a saguaro cactus I imagine impaling myself upon their majestic spines to feel at least a second of sweet release from the pressure inside of me before I am taken by death.

Oblivious to my inner turmoil, and to the fact I was too embarrassed to tell Andrew anything was wrong, Andrew continues  ask me if I want to shoot his shotgun at a tree in one of the national parks or to pester me to give him road head. While I longed to impale myself upon the cactus, a penis would not suffice to end my suffering and the thought of a foreign object entering any orifice of my body was truly unimaginable. I refused.

Finally, on day 10, a beacon of hope arrived. We stopped in small town somewhere in Nevada and while Andrew browed through the hunting gear that he had no use for or knowledge on how to use, I slipped away to the pharmacy aisle. Discreetly, I purchased one single pack of “Western Family Brand Laxatives” and took a dose in the parking lot while waiting for andrew to check out. In 8 hours, the exact amount of time that was promised to me via the “Western Family Guarantee,” I would finally poop.

Fifteen minutes back on the road, my stomach starts to move. There is no other word for it. With the poise and skill of a trained assassin, I maneuver my body to release what I hope will be a silent fart - after all, a loud unfeminine fart would definitely impact my compliment allotment from Andrew for the trip, and like, at this point I felt like had at least 2-3 beautifuls left.

I feel something wet. Something, that is, quite unmistakably, shit.

I did not silently fart. I just started to silently shit myself.

Do you want to stop at Arby’s? Andrew asks me, pointing to a sign on the road ahead that reads, "ARBYs, Exit in 1 Mile," and then menacingly underneath in all caps, "LAST REST STOP FOR 100 MILES. "

Yes I want to go to Arby’s. Get me to Arby’s right fucking now, I want to worship at the altar of beef.  Arby’s at this point, is the only thing that will help me hide the fact that I shit myself, and therefore is my savior. I will spend $2,000 on curly fries if we could just pull over into the Arby’s parking lot. SAVE ME, ARBYS.

I feel the shit begin to escape my underwear and trickle slowly down my inner thigh.

Andrew pulled into the Arby’s parking lot. I sprinted to the bathroom, ignoring any attempt to hide how badly I have to go. The thought of trying to disguise my haste or the fact I shit myself did cross my mind, but given Andrew’s total unfamiliarity with female genitalia, he definitely was unable to tell if I had to pee or shed a labia or some other myserious female bathroom activity.

I ripped off my shorts, which were kind of Nike shorts that have built-in underwear. I was also for some reason wearing another pair of regular underwear, an act I can attribute solely to divine intervention.

Squatting over the toilet, I peeled off my underwear, a pair that I had had since middle school that my mom had bought me. They were emblazoned with mid-2000s girl power phrases like “you go girl” and “you’re a star!” and now also, crusted in my shit. I threw them into the trash and cleaned up my asshole-taint-vagina area with poor quality 1 ply toilet paper. As I exited the stall, I looked back to see if I had missed anything. Sticking out from the bathroom garbage, I could just read one last phrase from my underwear - “believe in yourself.”

I walked out and ordered some curly fries.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

I watched the movie Frida my sophomore year of college, with my first serious and one of my most shitty ex boyfriends. His name was Andrew and at that point in our relationship the only reason I was still dating him is that his Dad had died and I had confused the idea, as many women do, of taking care of someone with being in love with someone.

In the Julie Taymor film, Frida’s bisexual escapade amount to about 3-4 minutes of screen time, a montage of breasts and silk sheets and treated as a visual discourse from her life, a palatable for hollywood break intended for the male gaze, rather than a part of who she was as an artist.

According to one critic, the film “Frida” described the same-sex sex scenes as  “lite,” titillating “enough for an R rating, but with little serious exploration of Frida’s bisexuality.” In 2009, watching Frida on my ex-boyfriend’s couch, this same critical analysis could also be an accurate summary of my own queer experiences up until that point.

Previously, they consisted of two instances, the first being my friend Izzie asking me if I wanted to practice kissing, and then trying to practice kissing with me for a second time on our 8th grade field trip to Springfield, the capital of Illinois. I responded by shutting her down & saying, “I’m NOT a lesbian IZZIE.” In high school, I chugged a Natty Light for the first time on top of a suburban Office Depot parking lot and made out with my friend Bessie.

Two years after watching Frida, another stint with a different shitty boyfriend, and, stereotypically, a one or two productions of the Vagina Monologues, I realized I was not really straight. I am not lesbian, and therefore still don’t really feel guilty about that whole Izzie debacle -  but I date men and women. I consider myself queer, and recently have been warming up to the term bisexual as I identify with it more strongly and now and it also saves hours of my life being taken up by explaining what queer means to ignorant acquaintances, who usually follow up the with a joke about me fucking their girlfriends. I don’t want to fuck anyone’s girlfriend, especially yours, Victor Padilla, please stop messaging me on facebook.

In Frida, critics also observe the eroticization of Kahlo’s bisexuality, serving a purely sexual purpose for the viewed rather than a lynchpin of her identity, an aspect of her artistic self that deserves to be explored.

I suppose I should be grateful that they chose not to show Frida and Josephine Baker scissoring instead of being annoyed that there isn’t mimic-ed cunnilingus being alluded too. For Frida Kahlo, a core element of her life down was broken down into this montage, a sexy detour, rather than a core component of her identity as an artist that contributed to her life and work.

I mean, pussy is just pussy, right? Maybe that is how Diego Rivera felt.

I sympathize with Frida, because while that analysis is of is how she was represented on film, it is also how being bisexual often feels like in reality.

One of the cool things about being bisexual means that your sexual orientation is easy to compare to broken things. Oh, your non-profit executive director tells you at a company brunch surrounded by your coworkers, Clare’s just a like a kitchen door - she swings both ways!

Doors, however, typically open one way, like our binary of sexuality (gay or straight). Doors to public buildings are supposed to open outwards, if we’re paying attention to typical fire code regulations, doors in homes open inward to better invite your house guests inside.

Therefore, a door opening both ways defies all expectations and proper behavior, and should probably be replaced by a door that opens one way.  Inward, outward. gay, straight.

Or, in other words, just make up your mind already, Clare. That phrase was said to me verbatim by a nail salon technician. I concentrated on Will Ferrell’s face, animated with manic Christmas cheer in the movie Elf, which was playing directly behind her head to keep my cool.

Bisexuality is the Natalie Portman type manic pixie dream girl of sexual orientations, people like to think you’re quirky and cute, but hope eventually take off that epilepsy helmet a la garden state and swear allegiance to one set of genitalia or the other after you’ve inspired them to finally stop taking all that lexapro. Bisexual people never are allowed to see ourselves on our own terms, but rather are forced to look at ourselves comparative to either side of the binary. We are lucky to receive a 3-4 minute montage with the odd nipple.

Being in this gray area means that you can never really win whether or not you date a man or a woman, if we are to define winning as being taken seriously as an individual human being rather than as an evil, promiscuous she-beast looking to betray either her own gender or someone else’s masculinity through whoever they decide to fuck next.

When you’re dating a woman - let’s say that this in the inward opening door -  you experience all the bigotry that gets undeservedly spewed at lesbians, especially from men, who like to assume something bad happened to you to make you “this way,” aka a vagina that is no longer available as a receptacle for their penis.

Several examples in my experience include a River North banker who asked me point blank “who raped you” when I told him no, I wasn’t interested, and that I had a girlfriend, as if rape is how all lesbians are created.

Another example would be an acquaintance who asked me, within the first two hours of the party in which we met, “Now that you’re a dyke, do you shave your pussy?”

Or a high school acquaintance, David Baskin - known in high school as “Chimpy” due to  his ape like appearance - who, after I left a party with my girlfriend at the time, asked as many of our peers who would listen, desperate to know, just HOW did we have sex?

This story clearly illustrates why, at the time, David had been recently broken up with by his long term girlfriend, Amy, and hopefully she is now dating someone who understands how to eat pussy.

In addition, your girlfriend, if she’s a lesbian, and your other lesbian friends and acquaintances will also question your motives.

Forever.

One of my ex girlfriend’s continual insecurities was the fact I had dated and slept with men, and repeatedly told me if I ever dated or slept with a man after her, she would be heartbroken. An ironic detail is that at the time of this conversation, she was the one sleeping with other people.

Another key detail she failed to grasp, is that the main difference between a nice (let’s say around $100 pricepoint) strap on and a physical, real life penis, is temperature. Other than being a little cold in the beginning, they feel pretty much the same - nothing a little time in the microwave won’t fix, if you’re picky. I say this as a compliment to the miracles of modern manufacturing; of course, the most important part of course the person to which the appendage is attached, removable or not.

Dating a man, the outward opening door, you immediately invalidate your sexual identity for a vast majority of the queer community while simultaneously giving your ex-girlfriends friends immediate reasons to shake their heads patronizingly and tell her, “I told you so.” Suddenly, you are the one they are referencing in vague facebook statuses bemoaning the straight women they dated who “tricked them” by ending up with a man, because a spectrum of sexuality is only a nice idea in theory, and bad when applied to their own dating lives.

Another puzzle you must continually tackle is to figure out if this guy actually likes you, or is just fetishizing you for the three-some he’s always wanted but his ex would never girl him. He too may harbor the same insecurity as your ex girlfriends, and any time you spend with your female friends now becomes a potential threat to his masculinity. Ex-boyfriends will text you six months later asking, “I hope this isn’t rude but...are you dating a woman, now?” Word will get back to you the last guy you went on a date with with before you started dating your girlfriend is wondering aloud to friends if he “made you gay” as if he had been given the last shot for all men everywhere to keep your vagina on the straight and narrow, and failed.

Last week, several men I considered my friends were overheard gossiping about how “hot” it was that I was “into girls.” This kind of attitude is why the male gaze is garbage and why I also have two less friends.

Being told you are a door when you’re just a person is very hard.

You have to continually remind people that you have thoughts, feelings, and emotions and are real, and that you do not to be need to be “fixed” by anybody. Frida Kahlo has a lot of beautiful famous quotes that describe enduring hardship and defining yourself. Perhaps to sum up the situation she would say “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”

I would say, Fuck doors.

Tim Poison

About a year and a half ago, my car went missing.

It wasn’t towed, which is what I first assumed. The parking spot my car was last seen it was now a full blown construction site. It was also not relocated, a term that I learned from the kindly 411 operator, which means that if the City has to start construction without giving residents at least a 24 hour warning, they will move your car somewhere nearby. I spent hours on the phone to 4-1-1, searching for my car, who emphatically told me over and over again that it was not towed or relocated.

At a loss for what had become of my beloved 1997 Toyota Corolla, which, with only a radio (no CD player clock, tape player to be found inside, except the existence of all of those things in the vast majorities of cars in 1997 assured me it could not have been stolen, I just started walking around the block where I had last parked it.

Within 15 minutes I found it, on a completely different street from where I had parked it originally with a ticket for $100.

I feel like this anecdote exemplifies how I feel now about the City of Chicago as an adult. But when I was 14, Chicago still had a bit of that shiny glow, the aura of a forbidden fruit. Like, getting my car stolen would have been a fun and exciting idea to me then, cause it would imply that I had a car to BE stolen in the first place.  

I grew up in the Suburbs, although to anyone who I met in college, I emphatically was “from” Chicago. When further pressed, I would crack and confess my sin of being from a suburb, but would quickly remind them all that the CTA ran through Evanston so it was basically an extension of Rogers Park (it wasn’t). When you go to college with a majority of people from New Jersey, you can get away with a lot of things.

The purple line is solely responsible for the majority of my teenage sins. A gateway drug to the red line, to belmont and clark, to smoking weed outside of an open mic with kids who went to art high schools and had mohawks, to trying cocaine for the first time in a Walgreens bathroom before a punk show at the Ukrainian Cultural Center on Chicago Ave with my friend Christina, who went by Xtina at the time. She knew someone who was way too involved in the coke world for an 9th grader, but could get us "good" stuff. I was a pragmatic young teen. If I was going to try cocaine, I might as well try the best possible cocaine I could. So I did.

Now, I live 2 blocks away from the UK Cultural Center, and the Walgreens is now a CVS.

The first “boyfriend” I ever had went by the name Tim Poison. Obviously, that wasn’t his real name, which was Tim Pierzchala. He was very polish, he attended a private Catholic school, but he went by Tim Poison because it was punk rock and in keeping with his punk rock band, Poison Control. We met at a punk rock show for a band called the Infected (their lead singer went by moniker Luke Infected) and we immediately started chatting on AIM and within a week, he had asked me to be his girlfriend. I remember hanging up my Nokia phone and looking at myself in the mirror, looking for the physical proof that THIS is the Clare Austen-Smith with a boyfriend!

Tim Poison was the first boy I kissed - in winter of 2004 outside of a Burger King, now known as the 24-hour BK Lounge, in Downtown Evanston.  If you’ve ever been an adolescent, you might remember the visceral elation and disbelief that comes with realizing that someone actually likes you, and your high school years and therefore the rest of your life might not be, as you feared, a stony path of rejection and celibacy.

And if you’re a 14 year old girl as I once was, you are immediately convinced that yes, you must like and date this person because this is probably your only chance at finding another being on the planet who thinks you’re attractive and is interested in you romantically. My low level of self esteem and ache for romantic success at the time is really the only way I can justify my eagerness to be in relationship with someone named Tim Poison. I mean, he wasn’t a super attractive guy either, but a particularly cruel girl at school used to “tease” me by saying that he had downs syndrome.

But, appearance and unfortunate monikers aide, he very excitingly lived in Chicago. I mean, it was Albany Park, but Chicago was better than Evanston. I not only had a boyfriend but a CHICAGO boyfriend. I had a very happy, stable, home life (aka, not punk rock), which of course meant that I wished I had divorced parents so I had much more to write about in my Emily the Strange Brand Diary. Tim’s religious Catholic school gave him a lot more to rebel against via angry AIM statuses - very cool.

The colors him and his friends chose for his punk rock band were purple and orange - are unpleasing to pretty much anyone and still gross me out when I see them together today. Yet, I still purchased multiple purple and orange bandannas - because that was the punk rock thing to do - to “rep” poison control at my suburban Evanston high school. Who I was “repping” to was an unanswered questions since literally nobody knew what Poison Control was or who Tim Poison was or who I even was. My incoming freshman class was 1,000 students and if anything I stood out as a girl who had really large ears.

This period in my life also correlated with taking the CTA down to Belmont & Clark without telling my parents, attending 5 dollar punk rock shows, and wearing this jacket that I purchased from a TJ Maxx, J-Lo brand, and then reconstructed as a physical symbol of my punk rock attitude and desire to get away from the man, aka my parents, who also, it’s important to note, paid for the jacket in the first place. My friends and I would also sew our jeans tight - you couldn’t yet buy skinny jeans anywhere but online - with not thread, but dental floss. This also, apparently, was punk rock, but also spoke to the ignorance that you could buy thread for sewing denim at a fabric store for about the same price as some Oral-B Comfort Plus Floss, Mint Flavor. Unlike Tim Poison and Luke Infected, I never quite figured out my punk rock name, although my Xanga username was alternately “Clare In General” and “Ballroom_Reject.”

Tim Poison and I broke up when I told him that I did want to try beer, and I wasn’t going to be straight edge with him. The next album Poison Control wrote was exclusively songs about how much he hated me, with one of the tracks describing his hope that I would get run over by an 18 Wheeler (Entitled, 18 Wheeler) and a titular song called “Walk Away Girl,” with a catchy chorus that went “I knew you’d walk, walk away from may. Walk Away girl, you walk away.” Even at the time of being insanely vulnerable 14 year old, this was hilarious to me. However, the album was just the tip of the iceberg.  I started getting messages on AIM from his friends and prank phone calls from anonymous numbers calling me a cunt, a bitch, a whore for breaking up with Tim. He told me that it wasn’t his fault that they were doing it to me, and he just wanted me to hate him so that it would be easier for him to “get over me.” About a month after the breakup, I went to a concert in which Tim’s band was playing. The lead singer of a band I had never seen before yelled “Fuck Tim Poisons Ex-Girlfriend” into the microphone. Later, he hit on me, not realizing he had told me to go fuck myself on a microphone hours earlier. Tim Poison sucked.

Despite the break up and the online and in person harassment, I was determined to persevere in my love affair with Chicago. I continued my deviant ways of sneaking into the city by lying to my parents about taking the train down with my wholesome grade school friends I had know since I was six, when really I was going to meet up with my punk rock myspace friends with the assistance of my friend Monet, who was one of those girls who was cool because her parents didn’t tell her what to do but also were very bad parents.

Once, coming back from an illicit hang out with my friend Kyle where I smoked a cigarette for the first time, I was caught in my web of lies because I became lost in the loop, thought the red line was the orange line, made it back to the red line, only to be told by a misinformed CTA employee the purple line stopped running at 4pm (later I realized he had meant the purple line express), and having to call my parents to pick me up from the Howard train stop at 10pm while a disapproving orthodox jewish couple listened intently to my phone conversation with my parents. I told my parents I had simply been watching the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and had miscommunicated the start time of the movie, as if that made up for the 2 hour transit nightmare. Why I thought Wes Anderson would be my saving grace, I do not know. Recently I watched this movie and it was pretty good.

We spent many nights drinking in plastic water bottles at house parties with punk rocks guys who were in their early 20s and had names like Bubsy (who once pretended to be in a gay love triangle to get on Jerry Springer and was kicked off the show), Jimmy Boombox, and Ping Pong. They were trash people, and you’ll notice I never named any women, because they were sane enough to realize that hanging out with 15 year olds in your early 20s is not only really fucking lame, but creepy. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to hang out with people who lived closer to me, both in locality and age, and my closeness to the punk scene of Chicago faded.

I saw Tim Poison at Delilah’s three years ago when I moved back to Chicago. He didn’t even recognize me at first, which was in a way a relief. Clare in General had evolved! In a way, it felt weirdly fitting that the first person I ran into as an adult on my own in the city was the reason I had started exploring it in the first place, regardless of how much of a garbage can he was. But It felt better to find out that he worked a Guitar Center while I had health insurance.