All yesterday’s parties

Last night I took advantage of the bonus weekend night to go to a “prom” at the Empty Bottle. I wore a secondhand green dress and stood in a corner fighting off emotional surges and wondering why I was trying to pretend to know how being around people works. So basically exactly like my real prom except eight years older, legally able to drink, and not in the throes of a horrific UTI. Also, the music was better. Exhibit A and Exhibit B from last night vs. Exhibit C from 2005, submitted for the jury’s consideration.

Bar tips from your friendly neighborhood lightweight:

– The walls of bar bathroom stalls are the proto-Internet. This observation has probably been made before by someone far more clever than I am, but it bears repeating.
Read them.
Even in the seediest corners of the online world, it’s hard to find that elusive combination of camaraderie, vicious insults, misguided advice, social awareness, sexual innuendo, and existential dread in one place. It’s far rarer to be trapped with it rather than surfing away to a cat video immediately. Also, it’s a different experience to know that the people who wrote it were physically here, to wonder where they are now and if you’ll run into them on the street somewhere. I feel like this would be a valid subject for an anthropological study, or at least a Tumblr page.

– Photobooth pictures are inevitably awkward. Make them more awkward. The only way to win this game is to outdo it.

– If you have even the slightest inkling that your judgment is going to be impaired by alcohol, do yourself and everyone you’ve ever fucked a favor. Have a trustworthy friend confiscate your phone and not release it until you can pass a sobriety test. Sure, maybe you’ll Tweet something mildly witty when you’re just buzzed, but after that point the best-case scenario is that you’ll exchange sexts with someone you broke up with last decade, and the worst-case scenario is that you’ll text Feelings to someone you broke up with last week. (These situations are, of course, purely hypothetical.)

Also? Eggs for breakfast. I’m just saying.

The art of the dérive

Chicago finally deigned to grace its residents with some decent weather last weekend. (Not actual spring weather, just straight to 80+ degrees. Because fuck you, is why.) Supposedly this will be happening again this weekend, though given the drop in temperature the rest of this week I call shenanigans.

With the return of climes that don’t bring on crushing seasonal depression, I’ve been able to take up one of my favorite pastimes again: aimless wandering and exploration. It’s like a real hobby except I don’t have to think that much, which is good for shaking ideas and inspiration loose and generally making myself less neurotic.

I was pleased to learn a few years ago that there’s a word for this that makes me seem like a glamorous French philosopher rather than a bored burnout on a long walk. The Letterists and Situationists called it a dérive. As defined by Guy Debord, it is “a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances. Dérives involve playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects, and are thus quite different from the classic notions of journey or stroll.” The intention, as far as I can tell, is to have an experience that’s not consciously planned around certain activities and obligations, but is instead a series of reactions to the environment around you as you encounter new areas and situations.

On Sunday, I went north on the street I live on. I had no real reason for doing this except that I hadn’t been more than a block north of my apartment on this particular street. I let myself be led around certain nearby blocks by whichever blooming tree or interesting building caught my attention until I found myself at a park I had no idea existed, lying on the grass under a tree covered in white blossoms, letting the wind cover me in petals and staring up through the tunnels the branches created. (It confuses your brain into thinking the tree’s way taller than it actually is. Try it!)

After that I went to find kulfi, which probably deviates from the true purpose of a dérive but is also delicious, so who cares?

A translation of the original Debord article can be found here. It’s interesting stuff if you like the concept of seeing your surroundings in a totally new way. If nothing else, it’s a way to get on your feet and out from in front of whichever glowing rectangle you’ve been staring at. (I admit that my laptop’s been intermittently throwing tantrums for weeks now, so its hold on me has lessened somewhat. Yay for more roaming!)

Here comes the sun

Okay. So. I’m still here.

The much-heralded return of Hyperbole and a Half has been resonating deeply with me. The “fog of depression and things just generally seeming like a pile of dicks” part, not the “coming back after a long hiatus to universal rejoicing” part. It’s hard to motivate yourself to write when not only are you too anxious to believe you have anything worthwhile to say, but you’re also so apathetic and generally irritable that you’re not so sure anyone else does either.

I started my first “real” blog ten years ago this past fall (after a couple of brief toe-dips into the world of Diaryland, which is apparently still a thing, bless their hearts). At fifteen I was not yet self-aware enough to realize that melodramatic play-by-play accounts of high school activities are of interest to very few people, but I miss the rush of sitting at the public library frantically typing against the clock, trying to get everything out of me and onto the screen before the parent who had us that day would come to pick me up. It was an exorcism of sorts.

Now my head is cluttered with ghosts.

Also, cat anecdotes and boner jokes. (Not related!)

I have ideas, and the amount of sunlight these days is helping to nudge me closer to normal functioning. Time for a sequence of posts that don’t contain apologies for not posting more often, because that is bullshit and no one cares.