Monday, November 20, 2006

At Night...

Sometimes, the voices sing a little bit louder. Sometimes, the ghosts don't haunt you, they make themselves ham sandwiches, grab some beers, and use your credit card to order products from cable TV infomercials. Sometimes, the pictures on your walls scream like banshees. Sometimes, your animals know exactly how much you need them. Sometimes, your silent phone is a little too silent. Sometimes, you lie awake waiting for something to happen. Sometimes, you start to fall asleep watching football. Sometimes, the heater conceals mysterious songs. Sometimes, you wonder about the future. Sometimes, you replay the day over and over. Sometimes, the room spins because you drank too much. Sometimes, your calves cramp. Sometimes, you plot your next move. Sometimes, you breathe in and pause. Sometimes, the blue light plays off the window panes. Sometimes, you resist the urge to get up and check your football confidence pool on the internet. Sometimes, you think about calling in sick. Sometimes, you wonder if you actually remembered to take a sleeping pill. Sometimes, you listen to a dog sigh and mumble. Sometimes, you worry... and worry... and worry... that it won't get any better. Sometimes, you drift off to sleep and dream of big buildings, of songs, of pain, of loss, of sex, of drugs, of rock n' roll, of more sex, of still more sex. Sometimes, you always wake up and it's always tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Big Crapple

My trip to New York last week was a resounding success with respect to just about everything but sleeping. But New York is the city that never sleeps, and I guess one can't be expected to sleep much if one's very locale is setting a bad example. Also, if one is out until 4 am every night. I'll blame that on the city too, or maybe on my completely insane friends. The consumption of massive amount of beer, I guess I have to take responsibility for myself.

Anyway... After arriving late last Wednesday due to bad weather and seeing Queen Latifah in the Newark airport, I made my way to Colin's apartment on the upper east side of Manhattan, where he lives with his sister. We had a late dinner and some beers and then crashed out. I read Busting Vegas and it seemed like I'd barely closed my eyes when my alarm went off at 6:15 am.

I headed downtown to meet Baker's New York Office HR Manager Kristina at the Broadway Millennium Hotel for a conference on I-9 Enforcement. After a scintillating two hour lecture, we headed to the Baker New York Office and I got settled into my office for the day. I met with a couple of clients from whom I do work, and the day passed without much excitement, save the beer I drank at lunch. And that wasn't really exciting as much as it was a harbinger of the evening to come.

After work, we went out for awhile, and Colin and I wound up in a German beer garden at about midnight, babbling at empty pitchers of strong German beer and empty plates of German sausage. Friday was nothing short of stunning. After sleeping in a bit, I wandered down to a breakfast place in Colin's neighborhood, and proceeded to have a leisurely meal, drink coffee, and bask in the New York Times' reporting of the Democrats' triumphant retaking of both houses of Congress.

Following that, I plunged into the perfect fall weather and did a six-plus mile jog all the way around Central Park. After cleaning up, I navigated the New York subway down to the East Village and stopped in on my friend Hannah's boutique on 4th street. Hannah's husband-to-be, Pete (also a great friend from high school), met me and we proceeded to kick off an evening's worth of festivities which began with drinking, then there was some drinking in the middle, and I believe we finished off with some drinking. We also may have drank at some point.

Colin and I wound up in an all-night diner at about 4 am, shoveling rice pudding into our mouths and drinking hot chocolate. I have no idea. Saturday was another beautiful day, and we walked around the West Village checking out some stores and just generally enjoying ourselves. After a short semi-nap during which we watched The Hitcher 2 and Cabin by the Lake, we headed back down to the West Village to eat at Wallse. Our friend Cornell joined us, and a good time was had by all.

We walked back east, and while I foolishly stayed out to meet a friend for drinks, Colin and his girlfriend Judy went home. I cursed myself as I stumbled home at (all together now) 4 am, and fell asleep with dreams of Sunday night football dancing in my head.

After an uneventful rainy Sunday afternoon, Colin and I head out to Cornell's in Brooklyn to do some inside tailgating, aka ordering pizza, drinking beer, and watching football. A bit before six, we piled in Cornell's car, picked up Colin's brother Seth and Cornell's cousin Sean in Manhattan, and made our way out to Giants' Stadium in New Jersey. After drinking a couple of beers (notice a theme here?) in the parking lot, we walked to the stadium and took our seats up in the upper deck.

Words cannot fully describe the difference between the first 28 or so minutes of the game and the final 32, but let me try to break it down in fairly complex terms:

First 28 minutes: Sucked.

Final 32 minutes: Rocked.

As we huddled together under our cheap ponchos in the rain and 45 degree temperatures, we watched the Bears go down 13-3 and look like shit. The Giants "fans" in our section hurled down verbal abuse, which included broad assessments of not only our sexual preferences, but also the Bears' in general. 

Of course, as the Bears somewhat improbably pulled to 13-10 at the half, and the rains ceased, and the Bears definitively went up first 17-13, then 24-13, then 24-20, then (thank you Devin Hester, thank you) 31-20, and finally 38-20... the stadium emptied of Giants "fans" and the triumphant walk back to the parking lot felt like Soldier Field as we mixed with a thousand Brian Urlachers and at least as many Walter Paytons, all screaming Bear Down Chicago Bears at the top of our already hoarse voices. 

Monday morning was a blur. I dragged myself from train to train and somehow got on my flight at 9:30. Instead of sleeping, I powered through Running With Scissors, pondered my whirlwind 5 days in NYC, and drank a beer. Just kidding about the beer.

The energy... the feeling of being in a big city... I don't get that anymore in Chicago. I know my little world here too well to ever feel truly overwhelmed by the size of Chicago, even though I know it's big. New York, however, continues to take my breath away with its sheer size, its possibilities, its people... 

As I curled up on the couch at home with my animals for what turned into an almost 16 hour night of sleep, I faded in and out of consciousness and I imagined that I was standing on top of the Empire State Building, singing a song to the world:

Looked across The water blue And saw a sea Of tears As darkness fell I thought of you and When You Left Couldn't tell Where the city ended And where the night Began The buildings sang A silent song like When You Left I can't Believe You're Gone


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gone Bearin'

If you're watching the Bears-Giants game this coming Sunday, be on the lookout for me sitting somewhere in the Meadowlands. I'll be the one getting pummeled by the Giants' fans up in the cheap seats. A fitting cap to a 5 day trip to NYC, which starts in T-minus 6 hours.

Keep an eye here for a, um, blow by blow.



Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Falling Into

I have walked up to the edge I have pushed through the storm Found some comfort in the night As the city cried forlorn Seen the Tower come to life As the day began to bloom Held a candle to my hand In a dark and empty room I have stood beneath a sky Colored with the changing leaves As the birds escaped my eyes I felt the fall begin to breathe Left my heart out on the stones For you to find, for you alone It still beats in perfect time For you, it beats in perfect time And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm falling into... When the skies are getting dark And the wind is blowing cold When my voice is getting faint And the fall is growing old When the ice has reached the Drive And the waves are crashing in I will hold onto that night When you first let me in And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm calling you And I'm falling into...