TODAY'S QUESTION FOR COMMENTING: Am I crazy or is a certain store with the initials A.A. the most annoying clothier in decades? Vote in your comment below. (And if your answer is NO, which store do you think really deserves the title?)
OBSESSION OF THE DAY: Chicago band Alkaline Trio. Love them. And now, back to our story . . .
(Continued from last week.)
October 2006, Evanston, Illinois
If we shant go to Kenosha, we shall shop. Shopping is the next best thing to Wisconsin, right? But I can tell you where I will not be going in Evanston on this fateful day. I'll give you a hint -- soft t-shirts, unsupportive halter dresses, and more attitude than an international Chloe Sevigny fan club convention. Yep, Evanston has an American Apparel now!
Oh, how I loathe that store. Not the products, per se -- I’m sure the Personals will have our yellow car logo on a girly tee or two before too long. I just wish the company would stop hitting me over the head with how cool they are. In the Chicago Reader! On the back of the Onion! Via hipsters who seem planted at my favorite bars, wearing gold lame hot pants (that's supposed to be pronounced "lamay," like the fabric, but I couldn't figure out how to make an accent over the "e," and "lame" is just as accurate).
The hot pants people are hanging around strategically, just waiting to tell me how much they LOVE American Apparel. Well, good for them. But as far as I’m concerned, AA is the 21st Century equivalent of Units. (Remember that store in the mall? Everything you bought there could be a shirt, or a dress, or a belt, or a headband. Or a jockstrap or a diaper or a plug for a gaping head wound! Fun.) So needless to say, when I see the new AA, I spit on the sidewalk and keep walking.
Next, I pass a Mexican restaurant that reminds me of the first time I ever got sick from drinking. I didn’t know it then, but that night would become the prototype for all other drunken barfing experiences in my life. The main elements include: margaritas and nachos or other greasy food at dinner, followed by pre-night-out drinking in someone’s apartment (It’s free! And it’s the worst idea ever -- wine for a while, vodka for a while, a cigarette or two on the balcony). It all culminates with a ride on public transit to some dance club to which I will never actually arrive, because three stops out of Evanston, I will have to get up and yak. Hey, it's classy, and that particular El platform (I'm not naming names) is my disgusting territory forever and ever, amen.
And speaking of drinking, I also pass the apartment where, at a party, I remember being very excited that some guy I didn’t know had a neon Shiner Bock beer sign on his wall. I must have been pretty starved for Texasness, since I hate beer. I also pass the sports bar where I ordered a mudslide and proceeded to drink it with the same breakneck speed I drink normal milkshakes, not really considering the alcohol content, and causing both an instant brainfreeze and an instant hangover headache.
These stories may suggest I drank a lot in college. I wish. Northwestern was the kind of place where people declined invitations to go out on Friday nights. “I have bio homework,” they would say with a straight face, as though that were some kind of excuse.
I was not remotely intoxicated during my college graduation, but I'm sure the dean thought I was. There were silver pants. There was screaming from the stage. And we will get to that tomorrow.
(To be continued . . . )