Saturday, January 12, 2008

An obstructed view

So I thought I'd write a bit about my adventures last night and my issues with late nights.

A friend of mine was in a comedy show, so being a patron of the arts, I went to see the show scheduled to start at 8. I figured an hour would be plenty of time to travel the 15-20 miles into the city from home. Merging onto the "expressway," I bopped my head from side to side, synchronous to the tunes on my semi-functional iPod. After about 3-4 miles of clear sailing I ran into what some may call traffic. This happened to me before. Here's my notion of driving in Chicago: If I drive after rush hour there shouldn't be traffic/anyone in my way. This notion seems to be invalid. I've never understood traffic, especially on expressways. If everyone goes at or near the speed limit and doesn't drive like a fool there shouldn't be problems. Apparently, merging presents issues for many drivers.

So I'm rolling along at the blazing speed of 15 miles per hour and see a sign for my exit. Off I go to the even slower Lawrence Avenue. The next thirty minutes involved me looking at the clock, 7:45, my speedometer, a red light, the clock, 7:53, red light, stagnant speedometer, red light. It was infuriating because I had to be someplace AT 8.

Pulling a page out of the Andrew Playbook, I finally got to the general vicinity of the theater at 8:03. I parked the beast then hustled out of the car grabbing my phone from the passenger seat and ditching my iPod in a pocket. After walking to the theater I realized I left my wallet in my car. Back to the car. Amazingly both the car and my wallet were still in the lot.

Thankfully the theater wasn't punctual and I didn't miss any of my friend's show.

As to the show, it was Love Is Dead and was quiet good. The ending left me a little confused as to the overall message, which was veering toward positive and uplifting before the end. Here's a minimalist description: lonely mortician, loves the dead a little too much, serial killer, Mayberryesque police staff, song and dance. I did have a man with a Guinness World Record-size melon for a head. It seriously blocked out half the stage. Craning around his notorious noggin did allow me to exercise my neck muscles.

After the show, the various local chapters of the Jenna fan club congregated outside of the theater. I received two questions while standing around: Is this the line for the bathroom? and Is this the line to get in to the show?

After chatting at the theater, I rounded out the night with a quick stop in my jazz haunt, the Green Mill, with Jenna. The quartet was good and we caught their last number.

I made good time coming home after finding the expressway-- I swear it moves. Took about 20 minutes to get home. In bed by 2:30.

Here's my main issue with staying up late. I consider myself a morning person. Some people are able to stay out late and sleep late the following day. My stubborn body clock wont allow it. If I stay out until 2 or 3 a.m. I will still wake at 7:30 or, if I'm lucky, 9. The next day is usually wasted as I catch up on sleep with mininaps. This time I was good about not letting my mind wander while driving home. Usually, my thought process goes something like this:
It's 1:45. I woke up at 7. That means I've been up for, 7 to 7 is 12, plus 5 and 2. 19 hours.
If I fall asleep as soon as I get home and sleep until 9 that will be 7 hours.
That's just part of the thought process. Sometimes I start figuring out the last time I ate. I think that's part of the reason I don't fare well late at night. My stomach, like my body clock, is fickle. It likes sustenance every 4 hours.

Nonetheless, it was fun to get out and see a good friend, some theater and jazz. Truly a complete evening.

You Can Leave Your Hat On

"Nice hat!" the golden-haired young woman said to me as I exited the Green Mill with thespian Jenna Friday night.

My suave response, a mumbled "thanks."

Two seconds later better responses flooded my mind. It's what the French call l'esprit de l'escalier. The literal translation is "stairway wit." According to the Gospel of Wikipedia, an episode of Seinfeld was devoted to the topic titled "The Comeback" and Cheers commonly had characters think of witty remarks as they ascended the stairs.

It's one of the most frustrating things to not have a great remark immediately. Most of the time I'm on my game, but every once and a while a momentary brain glitch occurs.

The initial thoughts for response were "nice face," which I have since found out could have been construed as an insult. So I revised it to "nice everything" or "nice phone number." The winner probably would have been the prior.

Another beef of mine is that the incident occurred as I was leaving. Why do people say things to you as you are leaving (aside from goodbye)?

Here's Your Hat. What's your hurry?

Of late, I have received a few compliments on my chapeau. It is what I refer to as an "old man's hat." Tweed, 1920s newsie-style cap. The first compliment came at the Jewel as I was checking out. Later that night I received another mention. This city seems to love my hat. I must say that my head was quite warm as I slept in the hat.

I'd prefer it if it weren't an ancillary article atop my head and say, perhaps, my movie star looks that were garnering comments, but I'll take what I get.

My decision to wear the hat at all times is similar to the decision of not washing your face after a kiss on the cheek. Which reminds me of a story my grandpa told. When he was young, he had a date which apparently ended quite well with him having lipstick all over his face. When he told the story his voice possessed a sense of childhood glee and pride for his prowess. He woke his dad to show him the evidence.

Also for perusal, is this site. It compiles submissions of witty retorts thought of after the fact from people around the world.

Listening to: Clifford Brown - If I Had You
via FoxyTunes