Home | About | Reading | Listening | Archives | Contact

                The Bends- Jun 09

My last eight months of life in a paragraph (so this is ambivalence):

For reasons that are difficult to explain, I’ve found myself in a job that has me driving around five hours every day.  I’m living outside of a city that I love (Chicago), in a town that is peaceful (DeKalb), and having to pass through suburbs that I despise.  I’m a soon to be home owner with severe commitment issues and flight tendencies.  I work in an industry I have never studied, and that I care little about, in order to prepare for a birthright.  I can do whatever I like, but I’m not free.  My sex life has hardly changed, only the ethnicity of the girls, and that less than it would have in any other American city.

I’m woken up from a noise coming from the room next to mine.  A girl is moaning and I can hear the sounds of sex.  The black Jewish girl I’ve been dating for the past few months is still asleep next to me.  I try falling back asleep but the walls must be paper thin, I can’t be too upset, I’m sure I’ve kept him up.
In my head I have an image of the girl he’s with:  Italian, short, a little chubby.  However I’m surprised when I walk out of the bedroom.  She’s tall, at least as tall as him, with dirty wavy blonde hair, and very pretty if uninviting.  I talk to my roommate; he’s in a good mood.  Both of the girls remain silent.  When I’m outside I turn to my girl.
“Wow she is much better looking than my roommate,” I say.
“I was just thinking the same thing,” she says.

In a small town outside of Rockport people are protest a Taco Bell.  They’ve set up a giant inflatable rat, and their sings read ‘no jobs, no tacos’.  I don’t realize it until I’m past but the rat is effective.  My appetite has been smothered and there is a bad taste in the back of my throat. 

A friend, a Young Turk literally and personally, sends me a text message as his plane that left LA lands in St. Paul for a layover.  I first met B in Prague when I was twenty, he was twenty-two.  The way we tore through the city made me question my soul.  It was with him that I met twins outside Akropolis in Zizkov.  We were taken back to their mother’s house; each of us took one into a different room.  In the morning we laughed as waited for a tram, knowing we would never see them again.  Somehow that little girl became one of the loves of my life, and it was losing her the second time in Prague that drove me over the edge.
While my life was dissolving in Prague, his life was beginning in LA.  He was a Muslim boy in love with an American Jewish girl, he was living in the States for the first time, and he had money to spend.   A year later his life would be in fragments: star-crossed lovers simply becoming cross, a hollow shell of designer clothes, and frantic eyes.  He was bitter about the people, and he hated LA.  When I visited in December he was a cornered man. I tried to convince him to move to move to Chicago.  He told me he was afraid of staying and losing the hope he had left in American.  He wanted to rest in Turkey.  I told him to drink tea and raki on the Turkish beaches.

The end of our texts from the airport in St. Paul:
“Well, u are more than welcome to join anytime u want.stay in touch and we might end up going somewhere in europe together.”
“We will, don’t worry about that.  Take care of yourself.  We all get the bends, they suck”
“Thanx man.ps-air france air stewardesses are smoking hot.I’d love to crash and get stuck in an island with them.”
“Careful, its Air France, you just might get your wish”

Sunday night I’m taken to Chicago’s China Town.  I buy a small anime-like solar-powered owl for my sister from a knick-knack store.  We eat dinner at Joy Yee and play a game where we decide if the people are Asian-American or Asian.  The two Asian-American girls eating with me call laugh at the other Asians and call them FOBs.  After I order a smoothie with tapioca balls, the tapioca feels like nipples after they’re sucked through the straw.
We walk the streets of China Town looking for bars.  I daydream about coming back and hitting on Asian girls, but the only thing we can find is a deserted karaoke bar in a basement.  We drive into downtown and drink Budweiser at an Irish Pub.  I’m sleepy after, but the girls drag me to the beach where we share the sidewalks with teenagers and the girls drunkenly bury dead fish in the sand.
The next night as I’m talking on the phone I become tense, I realize something is watching me.   It’s the toy owl and it moves its head slowly back and forth every thirty seconds from the light of the kitchen.  It freaks me out, and I move the owl out of the shadows and under the window where I can keep an eye on it.

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