No Punchline

One day in the fall of 1991 my friend Michael and I were in a lounge at the student union at University of Iowa. It was my junior year, and I spent an astonishing amount of it smoking cigarettes in the Wheelroom with Michael. It was a cold, shitty gray Friday; somehow we decided this was enough reason to ditch our afternoon classes. So we set out up the hill through campus and downtown; we stopped to rent a couple of movies, then continued up Washington Street another half mile or so to my place. There were flurries in the air. It was November 1st, which was way too early for snow.

I had never seen Female Trouble so Michael insisted we rent it. I can’t remember what else we rented. We sat around my living room on my yellow couch and watched Divine scream about cha-cha heels. Out the big drafty window we could see the flurries getting heavier. We were glad to be inside. We might have even ordered pizza or made popcorn. Near the end of the movie Divine jumped up and down on a trampoline, and then she took out a gun and started firing away at people. I’d seen Multiple Maniacs and this was even better.

At some point between movies I went into my room and turned on the radio for a moment. It was on KRUI, the campus station. The student deejay was saying something like just stay inside until we find out more. He spoke in that usual flat student deejay tone, so I didn’t think to wonder what it was besides the weather. I could see it was snowing steadily outside. Maybe it was worse than it looked. “Something weird’s going on with the weather,” I told Michael. But we weren’t planning on going anywhere for a while. I started playing a tape on my boom box, or else we watched the second movie, whatever it was, I don’t remember.

It must have been a couple of hours later when my roommate’s mom called. Yes, I told her, Kelly’s at work. No, I hadn’t heard what happened.
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Quick and dirty in NYC

1. I’m in New York right now for a very very short visit, which will be interrupted by an even shorter side trip to Boston to read at the Great Scott with Jami and Janice. Come see us! (And I’ll be back in NYC next month to see people I haven’t gotten a chance to see this time, which is pretty much everyone.)

2. The winner of the spelling bee I judged Friday night at the Book Cellar was someone who reads this blog, a woman named Rachel with a beautiful buttery leather jacket. I would have let her win on this alone but she won fair and square. I would tell you the winning word but then I would have to spell it.

3. Last night we were in a cab and the cabbie showed us a backpack that a stripper left in his cab and inside were the most amazing shoes ever. There are pictures. You’ll see them soon. Update! Photos here.

When Chocolate Rabbit Howls*

It was Sunday morning and there was a solid chocolate bunny. “You go first,” said Chris. So I bit the ears off. When I was younger I had certain rules regarding the ethical treatment of candy animals but this time I didn’t even snap the head off until after Chris had chomped the feet off and handed it back to me. I ate the head and passed it to Chris. Chris took another bite from his site and passed it back to me. It was a Dove bunny and it tasted holy. Then it tasted whole-milky, which of course is still really freaking good. By the fourth or fifth bite it was humming with sugar, and eating it was a little like tasting a 9-volt battery, a very very very very very delicious battery.

Around that time I whispered, “Should we stop?” Only half the bunny was gone. We were getting to the part of the bunny where you really have to gnaw. It was only going to get uglier from here. We ran into the kitchen and buried the carcass in the trash. “Oh God, hurry,” I heard myself saying. That was our Easter.

I’m finally beginning to accept all this almost-springness—even though it’s cold out there is sunlight and birdie noises and vague bits of green in the trees, and I’ll take that. I’ve stopped waiting for the sixty-degree weather to come back. I get it, Spring: you are a big flake. Maybe I’ll just start riding my bike anyway.

Some of you saw this map thingy I put up on Flickr a few weeks ago, where I traced a bicycle route to work using as much of the local off-road trail system as possible. It’s too far to do every day, but I can’t believe how much I want to try it. I bought a bike about three years ago but I never quite got the hang of riding. It’s a lot different from the way things were back when I was twelve and was way more scared of drugs (hello, I had just read Go Ask Alice) than traffic. But I think the trails nearby will be a good place to start, plus my legs might be stronger than they used to be, since I’ve been doing Weights & Hates since November, and all those (hateful) squats and lunges (of loathing) have to be good for something, right? That’s what I hope at least.

You Chicago people are going to come see me judge at the Spelling Bee at the Book Cellar this Friday, right? (Bonus: find the spelling error in that listing!) You Boston people are going to come see me and Jami and Janice and Hallelujah the Hills at the Great Scott NEXT Friday, yes? Good.

*Does anyone remember that book? And how it was made into a TV movie? With Shelley Long? Playing a woman with 92 personalities? Chris did not know until I told him and then it was like Christmas morning.