Anecdotal

On Thursday I was out playing trivia with my roommate and some of her friends from a previous job. It was also El Cinco de Mayo, that tequila-manufacturer-endorsed holiday. So I was sipping a margarita when my roommate’s phone buzzed in time with mine.

It was from a number we didn’t recognize, inviting us over for margaritas at 9:30 PM. There was a vaguely familiar address, and from the tone it was clear that this was someone we knew. Except neither of us had attached a name to this number.

For some reason (alcohol? W-named street? Who knows) I assumed that it was my friend Chris, the one who witnessed my static show at the Trust for Public Land event. So I turned to my roommate and said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of this.”

I have a strange, almost-cognitively-dissonant love for correct grammar and writing coupled with an obsession with the colloquial. I started being horrified of “abbrevs,” then adopting them ironically, and then sheepishly incorporating them into my everyday speech. What all the kids be sayin’ tends to work its way into my vocabulary like a particularly persistent tapeworm. So it was only natural that I phrased my response to (I assumed) Chris like this: “WHO DIS BE FOO’?”

Turns out it was sweet English-major-opera-librettist Lydia.

————

Since joining the new, hip project at work, I’ve been watching fewer TV shows and movies, but I still need a little extra stimulation to make it through the mostly-data-entry day. So I’ve resurrected my Twitter account after months of inactivity, and it’s reminded me of why I loved it in the first place. For a little while I was overwhelmed with the volume of posts I was missing and felt I had to “catch up on” (I know, I know, Twitter doesn’t work that way, but I’m a thorough girl). Now I’m glad to have new, short bursts of information hit me throughout the day.

Twitter informed me that Friday and Saturday (and Sunday? I didn’t pay close attention) would be TEDx Michigan Avenue, a conference and series of events and talks about how to support and maintain the arts. The tickets were a bit steeper than even my newly-salaried self was ready to spring for, so I decided to attend vicariously through teh interwebz.

Then I saw that some of the participants were planning on doing fun things outside of the event, and the most exciting one to me was 360st, an event where people basically get together and tell each other stories. My favorite thing. I decided–I didn’t care if I didn’t know these people, if they were cooler and more arts-involved and big-time than I was. I wanted some m-fing stories.

No one wanted to go with me. Ok, that’s not fair. My writing partner’s girlfriend was in town, everyone was drinking mint juleps I’d made with a strange blend of Splenda, Brown Sugar Splenda, and sugar, and there was a Predator’s playoff game on. So I walked over (and then cabbed over) to Strawdog Theatre company by myself, ready to gate-crash the way I do best.

I found seven or eight folks, hanging out in the lobby, drinking and smashing cupcakes into each others’ faces. They invited me in at once, started engaging me in conversation, and next I knew I was in a circle of playwrights, artistic directors, and dramaturgs discussing the uses of a Golden Shower.

We never did get around to the proper storytelling, but that hardly mattered. We just talked and tried to make each other laugh. Also ate cupcakes. It was lovely. I got a ride home with Ray, a stalwart member of the volunteer ushers of the Saints, and added some smart new folks to my social media ranks.

It’s nights like this, and experiences like the Fringe tour this summer, that remind me that the arts aren’t some kind of secret society with a secret password, handshake, and initiation ceremony. Or if they are, then some Grand High Pooba is saving that until I really don’t expect it. We are all, we have all been, people who love art and want to make it happen. So we do, and maybe we have no idea what we’re doing at first. Maybe we secretly have no idea for much longer than anyone suspects. But what I love about the Midwestern arts scene is that people don’t pretend to be more than they are, or try to make you feel like you’re less than you are. We’re all moved by performance, and we get that by supporting each other, we increase our own chances of being able to see something or create something extraordinary.

And this was going to be a short entry. Sorry, folks. I’m a Dickens and not a William Carlos Williams at heart.

This is just to say

I have eaten

the cupcakes

that were in

the Strawdog lobby.

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so chocolatey.

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