Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is my last blog post in my 30s

Yep. Just a few hours left before the odometer rolls over again. At this point, I'm glad to be getting it over with. Maybe tomorrow I can dispense with the "Oh man ... where am I? What the hell am I doing?" crap I've been obsessed with for the last year.

I know that if I look back at my 30s, I can find plenty of positive things about them, things to be happy about. Such as, I maintained and strengthened some old friendships, I hung onto the same job for the whole decade, and I traveled to some interesting places for the first time – New York, New England, New Mexico, Colorado, Southern California, Canada. Not to mention that I moved to a big new city and learned to do a halfway decent job of getting by on my own there.

And I also know that if I look back at my 20s – which I generally regard as my peak years – I can find a lot to feel crummy about. I floundered as a lawyer for a while after getting out of school and bailed on that career after about a year. I got divorced. And I was broke most of the time. Especially that last one. I can definitely say one thing for sure about my 30s that I can’t say about my 20s – I have been solvent. Not rich, but solvent.

Sure, I have a lot of the same furniture I had when I was 20, and I seem to be kind of stalled somewhere in the mid-1990s in a lot of ways. Plus, I tend toward bitterness, self-loathing, and social withdrawal. But at least I ain’t broke!

Let’s see, what else? During my 30s, I co-authored two books, I had several of my zines displayed in a couple of gallery shows in Chicago, and, in the earlier part of the decade, I even wrote about a hundred pages of fiction that isn’t all horrible, even if I do say so myself. I finally got to see Roky Erickson play, along with a whole bunch of other great shows. I did a lot of cooking, and got better at it. I got to see Harry Shearer and Ken Nordine at video showings, and literally bumped into both of them. I even found Ken Nordine’s house, and the apartment building where Bob Newhart and Suzanne Pleshette lived on TV. And I saw Bob Newhart unveil his bronze “Dr. Hartley” statue, and was briefly visible in the cable TV special filmed there.

Oh yeah, and the White Sox won the World Series.

I have lived the whole time within spitting distance of the studio where Charlie Chaplin made shorts in the 19-teens, and almost as close to the site where the Three Stooges hired Larry Fine, which are only two notable examples of showbiz history this neighborhood can boast.

Speaking of this neighborhood, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the food here. I can walk two blocks in one direction to enter a wonderland of pho, banh mi, and Chinese barbecue ... and walk two blocks the other way to reach smelling range of an amazing mix of Scandinavian and Middle Eastern groceries, bakeries, and restaurants.

If I get thirsty, I got the Hopleaf, the Edgewater, and good old Simon's right here. (My first drink at Simon's Tavern was about 9 years and 11 months ago, by the way. Barely - barely into my 30s.) And Carol's Pub is a short ways down the pike if I need it. Until recently, the Lakeview Lounge gave me all the David Lynch moments I could handle.

Elsewhere in Chicago during my 30s, I have gotten stoned on a rooftop in Ukrainian Village and watched the sunset bounce off the onion domes of the cathedral, I have drunkenly watched the traffic on Lake Shore Drive from a rooftop in Lakeview, and I have drunkenly attempted (unsuccessfully) to score coke while simultaneously hitting on (also unsuccessfully) a stripper at (this one was in Lincoln Park, I think, but I am not 100% sure) Thurston's (hey, you gotta TRY, once in a while, even schlubbs like me, I mean, come on -- DISCLAIMER: this one might be semi-fictionalized ... but my story and I'm sticking to it is that it's merely slightly exaggerated for fun purposes, although I'm honestly not certain exactly where reality segues into fantasy, which is, you could say, another sign that my 30s weren't all bad. You could. Say.).

I have also drunkenly danced in a roomful of people on New Year’s Eve in a flannel sack – twice.

And - sometimes drunkenly and/or stonedly but not always - I have been privileged to watch some of my friends raise their kids, which is something I never would have imagined would be so fun and rewarding to see.

Yeah, so, the material’s there, if I want to be positive about it. I guess it wasn’t all a waste. Plus, as my little sister jotted on a birthday card I received today, “At least you aren’t 50!”


Feral Mom said...

Happy Birthday, STDPM! I must say, your sack dances (both of them) were far and away the best. And they (whoever THEY might be...Harsin? Carollo?) can never take your "Millenial Sack" title away. Ever.

I hope you're getting drunk right now.

mr jacobsen said...

you are fabulous...40 0r not 40...P.