Home | About | Reading | Listening | Archives | Contact

                A Little Benadryl and Alcohol - Dec 08

The same four walls can wear you down; you have to go out to keep your sanity.  The problem in Naperville, or possibly any suburb, is it’s hard to find something entertaining.  In the winter it typical involves warming up in the car and listening to down-tempo as the ice on the windshield melts enough to be scrapped, and spending only a short time in the small downtown, walking close enough to the bars to see in their windows.  It’s easier to sleep when you get home, not because of the alcohol, just the time in different surroundings.
There’s usually one bar with a crowd, fueled by dollar drafts, two-for-one wells, or a local musician playing for vodka.  Rizzo’s on Monday has the one dollar drafts, and an Irish looking boy playing the guitar.  I’m cynical at first, but he's gifted.  Someone tells me he was John Mayer’s roommate in college, which is interesting, but then it makes me sad, as I realize he’s playing at a bar in Naperville on a Monday night.  All he has now are stories about John’s sexual eccentricities.

I go to the fridge; I’m hung-over after a night in L.A.  The fridge seems typically Californian, dried-out gourmet pizza, sugar free red bulls, salmon, and a single beer.  I push things around and find bottles of water in the back.  I couldn’t find my toothpaste, and I need something to wash the taste of stale beer out of my mouth.

Every night in L.A. we go to a different club.  Most are full, but not overcrowded, and pretty girls continue to pour in as the night goes on.  The bars close by two, which seems early for a city of vampires.  We talk about speak-easys, but instead eat at late night dinners.
Most of the negative stereotypes about L.A. are true, but not to the extent of being ridiculous.  Before coming I dismissed how infectious the city could be, but it grabs a hold of you, even more so than New York.  It’s not better than New York, but I found myself racking my brain for a way to be a part of it all.  The city itself is forgettable, dry and dirty, nothing breaks down in the heat.  But that infection leaves on the airplane with you, until on the streets of Chicago it goes away, and then there’s nothing to remember, except that once you had a feeling.

Everything is covered in salt, the roads, cars, buildings.  You can taste it on your fingers, and it leaves white water patterns on anything with color.  When I walk towards my car in the morning, it is enough to cover the tips of my shoes in salt.

I pack my laptop into a bag a drive to Borders, because it has the only close coffee shop that isn’t a Starbucks.  In the strip mall I notice the parking lot is unusually full, and I watch as three people cross the street to enter Borders, and they meet with three more people at the door.  I drive by slowly, and in the window I see the crowds gathered and I realize it’s too much for me.  As I’m driving back to the highway, the thought, ‘what if this wasn’t a recession Christmas?’ almost chokes me.

My extended family meets in Arizona for Christmas.  The air is dry, and when it begins to rain I don’t believe it.  As if I could step outside and not get wet, and that the clouds would break, and everything would become sunny again in minutes.  The rain continues all day, and never lets up.

At my relatives I drink wine out of courtesy, but I don’t have the taste for alcohol and I mostly struggle not to fall asleep.  Upstairs the cousins play Wii, while downstairs the adults talk about babies and weddings.  On the day after Christmas it snows, and eventually turns again to rain.  We visit Saguaro National Park, and I’m surprised by how much I enjoy it there, and I’m thankful for the rain because I like it better when the rocks are wet.

2008:  Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |
2009:  Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May |