Author Archives: thegnomeknitist

Finals Meltdown



It’s kind of been forever since I wrote on here.  I’ll try to catch up in another blog, but not right now.  I’m just going to tell you the bare minimum so the intended post makes a little bit of sense.I live in Chicago now (again).  I am currently attending grad school for forensic science, and I am a GA for another department in my building.  It is getting towards the end of my 1st semester, which means it is verging on finals time!

Now begins what I like to call “finals meltdown”. Others refer to it as “finals lockdown,” but I feel my term has a certain descriptive honesty about it.  How can you recognize this time of year?

1) Your friends (and probably you) start to smell.  There is no time for showering! Are you nuts!? Hygiene and concern with the opinions of others are the 1st things to go…also sleep.  Sleep goes out the window very quickly. Pro tip:  If you don’t notice that anyone smells it’s because you smell just as bad.
2) Everyone has a constant wild-eyed frazzled expression on their faces, as though they just woke up at 2 am and realized they have a 20 page paper due at 8 am which they haven’t started…Every day for 2 weeks
3) No one can form a coherent thought.  People often interrupt themselves with epiphanies regarding whatever subject they were most recently studying.  Also their eyes become very unfocused.  Most of them are experiencing hallucinations of equations/course material brought on by the aforementioned sleep deprivation
4) Everyone’s book bag suddenly becomes bottomless and contains every book/article/power point presentation/magazine/webpage/scribbled note/etc. utilized in any of their classes.  It’s like Mary Poppins formed an obscure academic literature habit.
5) Everyone loses weight.  Because they stop eating.  You may think you are immune to this because you are broke and already don’t eat.  You’re not.  Once you begin finals meltdown there is no room in your brain to remember such trivial things as eating.  Hell, you are lucky you are managing to breathe!  When you do manage to eat something it’s take-out (read pizza) because you haven’t gone grocery shopping since before finals meltdown and you certainly don’t have time for that now!
Don’t fret my friends!  Soon this will all be over.  On the day of your last final you will go home and crash.  Then you will wake up, shower, eat something that isn’t pizza, and then attend some sort of post-finals party.  You will interact with people in a relatively normal manner compared to how you have been for the last two weeks. You will probably consume large amounts of alcoholic beverages (only if you are of legal drinking age, of course).  You will spend the next few days doing whatever it is you have missed most during finals meltdown.  For me it will be watching stuff on netflix while knitting/crocheting.
What do you expect you will do post-finals?
Are there any tell-tale signs of finals meltdown that I left out?



We’ve Reached Our Peak


Our 2 year anniversary was absolutely amazing!  It was by far the best anniversary I’ve ever experienced, and we definitely went all out.  I’m not really sure why we decided to go so big for the 2-year.  Maybe because we finally are in the same place at the same time and we could.

When it comes to anniversaries I always worry that one person is going to get a gift for the other and the other won’t get a gift and it will be a bad experience so I have always made a point to discuss what we both want out of the anniversary.  E told me that we were going to dinner and we were definitely celebrating.  He made a pretty big deal of it being a surprise and not telling me where we were going.  So I decided I needed to get him something, but  I was having a hard time deciding what to surprise him with.  Then it hit me…

He is in the process if buying a new acoustic guitar.  It is pretty expensive because it’s a Taylor (think really well made beautiful sounding guitar), and the whole process was pretty complicated because E is left-handed so they don’t keep them in stock so he can’t just go try it out.  So they were going to order the one he wanted for him to try, but it turns out Taylor doesn’t make the type he wanted anymore.  Then they were going to order another one in for him, but it turned out the only way they make them is if you order it and purchase it and E didn’t want to buy a guitar without playing it first (I wouldn’t either).  Through some amazing twist of fate the distributor had one on hand because someone bought one and backed out, so they lent it to the guitar store for E to try.  So he did and he fell in love.  Then he had to sell some guitars to be able to afford the down payment (they let him put the guitar on layaway and they gave him a discount because they are amazing human beings and our new best friends).

So my grand idea was “Hey I’ll pay for the rest of his guitar and bring it home and surprise him.”  Then I had to plan the logistics of actually getting the guitar without him finding out…So I went to the music store a couple weeks ago and told them that I was going to pay for the rest of the guitar in two weeks and swore them to secrecy.  I told them when E would probably be in to put more money down for the guitar and everything was good to go.  I planned on going to the guitar store early on our anniversary celebration day while E was running his errands for the day.

Of course as all great plans go this didn’t really work out exactly seamlessly but I’ll get to that…

Our day started with me coming home at 0700 from a 12 hour work day, watching infomercials, then coming upstairs and waking up E.  Then we watched an episode of viva pinata on my phone.  (I was trying to explain the game to him so I showed him the kids show).  It’s basically the best kids show ever, and most demented game, and I want it.  Never mind that I don’t own any kind of console (our roommate has an xbox 360 so I could totally play it)  Then he got up to run errands, one of which was going to the guitar store to put more money on the guitar.  This totally disrupted my plan.  So I told him I was going to wait to run my errands and just stay home to start making myself look like a human being. (It’s a process)  Then he came home way earlier than I expected.  He bought me these amazing orchids and a card, which has the same type of orchids on it!  It wasn’t planned.  He had no idea they were the same flower-in fact he was thrilled that he managed to match the envelope color with the flower color.  And the card was actually a birthday card which he scratched out and wrote anniversary then scratched out all the “you’s” and wrote in “me and you” and “our” it was cute, and he pretty much does this every year.  One year for my birthday he gave me a get well card.  I still have it.  It has a kitten on it-in a vat of soup.

Anyways the whole thing was really cute.  I’m not allowed to actually touch the flowers because I’ll break or kill them.  But I will look at them from afar and enjoy.

So at this point he still hadn’t gone to the guitar store so I practically pushed him out of the house.  When he got home he decided to take a shower and it was my turn to go to the guitar store, which took longer than it had to because traffic was stupid, and people can’t drive.  I talked to the owner of the store for a couple minutes and he was all “yeah, I was a little confused when E came in..” and I explained what happened, and he asked what we were doing for our anniversary.  I told him that E wouldn’t tell me (It turns out E had told him and didn’t even say it was a surprise because he had no idea I wold be talking to the guy at all because I’m good at surprises).  Basically the store owner is the best liar ever and was totally in on both of our surprises so he is the real hero of the day.  Especially since he knew for about two weeks and never gave it away. I totally owe him something like a gift basket or something cool-I don’t know him that well) Then after I get the guitar to my car and drive half way home I realize I don’t have my phone and I have a mild anxiety attack because I can’t remember if I brought it with me or not.  So I turn around and go back to the store.  It’s not there so they call it (and I’m praying for E not to answer it if I did leave it at home), but no one answers it and I have it on vibrate so it’s not like I could hear it that well even if i had dropped it somewhere.  So I go back to my car and drive home in the stupid traffic again (Nothing is simple with me-stuff like this always happens.  I’m used to it now so I just mentally prepare to have some kind of panic attack every time I leave the house.  BTW the phone was totally on my bed at the house the whole time)

I decided to make E do a scavenger hunt to find the guitar and all the hints were a rhyme-ey poem.  They eventually led him to my car and directed him to open the hatch.  When we got to that part he just stared through my back window, speechless.  It was a great reaction.  When he did speak it was something like “That looks like a…Is that? No…It’s…What?  How did you?…”  So we brought the guitar inside and he hugged me for ten minutes then he played his guitar for a bit.  I finished getting ready and prepared for my surprise, which was pretty damn amazing.

I know this post is long but there is just so much detail that made the whole day amazing so I apologize.

E’s brother went to culinary school in Chicago,  and now he works at a really nice restaurant in Pittsburgh called Eleven (I mention it by name because we had an amazing time and they deserve the praise.)  I guessed a while ago that we might be going there but E lied and told me No.  But that still wasn’t the whole surprise.  We got there early and when we gave the hostess our name she told us we could wait in the lounge because she had to tell the chef we were there.  According to E the look on my face was priceless because I’m thinking “tell the chef…what the…”  which was probably confusing for everyone working there because I still didn’t know what we were doing and they were probably wondering why I seemed a little lost (they probably just thought I was slow.)

When we went to wait in the lounge E broke down and explained that they had to tell the chef we were there because we were going to be in our own special area of the restaurant, and.   we would be served an 8-course meal with beer pairings.  None of the food we were being served is actually on the menu.  It is all specially designed and prepared just for us.

Now, neither of us have ever done anything like that-and usually the restaurant doesn’t do beer pairings for this, just wine, but they hooked us up to the nth degree.  All of the food was amazing.  Luckily, we aren’t picky at all so we were able to enjoy the entire meal.  We ate every last morsel.  Our favorites were the sea scallops with foi gras, sweet corn, peach gastrique, and brioche (I only remember this because they gave us menus at the end) and Jamison farm lamb with chanterelle risotto, wax beans, lamb bacon, vin cotto, and chimichurri.  Everything  was a complete surprise to us because we weren’t given a menu beforehand so the brought out our beer and told us what it was, then brought our food and the chef would come explain what it was and we would eat it and discuss, which was basically us pointing at it and saying “oh my god that’s amazing” over and over again.

At the end, last course-the dessert- was a beautiful “candybar” made of chocolate with a creamy peanut butter filling on top of a brownie with home made ice cream with a pretzel and peanut brittle on the side with some caramel sauce.  They also made a beautiful little chocolate plaque for each of our plates with “Happy Anniversary” written on it…I took a picture.

Basically the evening couldn’t have been better.  The food was so amazing I just don’t have words to describe it.

It was a great experience, and we decided we will definitely do something like this again (though it definitely has to be planned for because it’s not inexpensive-at all)

I was completely out of my element, but it was fun to get dressed up and go out and try something new.

If you were at the restaurant last night you may have seen us.  I was the girl in the purple dress with a gnome tattoo on her arm.

Exactly How Large Is Your Stomach?


So my 2 year anniversary with E is one week away, but we are celebrating 3 days early on the 10th because I had to work on our real anniversary.  I don’t have to work on that day anymore, because coincidentally someone needed the 16th off and offered to give me the 13th off in exchange.  Anyways we are celebrating the 10th.

I’m excited because it’s the 1st anniversary we will celebrate and not have to travel across state lines just to see each other, which is amazing after being in long distance relationships for a good part of my history of relationships.

I’m also excited because E and I are surprising each other with surprises!  He’s taking me somewhere to eat and he got me something “little,” and I, for serious, have no clue where we are going or what he got me.  We are even, because he is also clueless about his surprise.  He keeps trying really hard to get me to slip up and tell him what it is.  He’s tried all the tricks in the book.  Like, asking out of the blue what the surprise is, when I least expect it.  But I created that game so it doesn’t work.  He also tried the “compare it quantitatively to this other innocuous object” game.  It went like this:

E:  Is it bigger than a bread basket?

Me:  Hmmm…I don’t know.  Maybe?  I mean I’ve heard of a breadbox, but I’m not sure about a bread basket.  What is a bread basket?  Isn’t that what doctors used to call a stomach?  Exactly how large is your stomach?

so after some very brief googling I determined that it’s boxers that call it a bread basket not doctors.  I only thought it was doctors because of the game Operation.

Close enough.


Cowards Run in Packs

Cowards Run in Packs

Disclaimer:  This post is not gang related. I had already written the title when I realized I’m completely trite and it is already well known for completely different reasons.  But I’m stubborn so I’m not changing it.  So here’s the intended content:

I pride myself on being a fairly logical, rational person.  I have my fears, but when it comes to the big, serious things that matter I’m pretty stoic.  I find myself being the one who “holds it together”  because somebody has to.

So I was really disappointed when I realized what a huge weenie I am…

One night my roommate R and I were sitting in the living room watching TV and vegging.  Our significant others were working so we were a little concerned when we heard rustling.  Keep in mind the fact that we rent a 98 year old house so it’s big and drafty and has old house noises and probably ghosts-ghosts that eat my expensive deli cheese and never wash the dishes.  I may be confusing ghosts with roommates…

Anywho, the rustling continued and finally  became particularly loud and unignorable.  Well, I was ignoring it pretty well but R had to go and say something about it.  The noise sounded like it could be coming from the basement so R got up to check on it and I followed him.  Just to be clear, we do not have a finished basement.  We have a gross, unfinished, 98-year-old-house basement complete with foundation cracks, dampness issues, and (most-likely) asbestos.  Needless to stay, I only go down there to do laundry, and I put that off as long as possible.  There is a door in the basement that goes outside so our first thought (or at least mine) was that someone broke into the basement.

So of course I waited at the top of the stairs while R checked.

In my defense, I’m little and not a fighter, and extremely uncoordinated.  I’m not trusted with a glass of water let alone a weapon.  I’m not even allowed to say the word brawl.  It’s been banned from my vocabulary because (apparently)  I’m too cute.  I can say scuffle, and fisticuffs, and sometimes scrap (if I say it when other people are talking and not paying attention to me) I might be able to say duel if I’m in period garb, but I haven’t tested it yet.

Basically if an intruder had intruded and saw that I was the one who decided to resolve the situation he would laugh.  Then dice me into several pieces.  It’s all very Kill Bill in my head except the intruder is very graceful and coordinated and I have assumed the duck-and-cover nuclear war position  (you know with the turtle who sings “duck and cover” and instructs children to hide under their desks in the event of nuclear fall out because that’s really going to improve their chances of survival) and I’m singing I will survive at the top of my lungs.  (My theory is that if you confuse them they’ll go away, but again, I’ve never tested it.  Also, the intruder looks like the kick-ass school girl with the mace, which makes it scarier, because the intruder is a man.  So there’s a transvestite school girl/boy thing with a mace and I’m huddled up, channeling the amazing Ms. Gaynor.  It doesn’t end well for me.

So I’m at the top of the stairs and it’s very uneventful because…

ok I’m totally interrupting my own blog because I just broke my computer more than it already was and now it is completely unusable as a laptop, and I feel like stabbing something.  I’m going to write an ugly letter to the computer company later.  Actually it will be the second letter I’ve written them.  I may also include their original response in which they maintained that an LCD crack is not covered by the warranty because it is superficial damage.  Yeah really effing superficial-I have a 2″ x 3″ window of usable space in the top right hand corner of my screen now and, I don’t have good eyes so I can’t read anything that would fit into that space!  Also they claimed they returned my lappy in the condition they received it even though when I got it back after sending it to them broken and getting it back (broken because I wasn’t going to pay $800 for a computer I spent $1000 plus for less than year ago)  it was more broken because it wouldn’t turn on.  And I had to do computery stuff to it because it had a software issue-and the tech support guy pretty much said that the damage could be due to the trama to the screen!  omg I’m livid.  They are so getting a picture of wil wheaton collating paper

OK I apologize:  back to your regularly scheduled blog

…I totally forget where I was going with that sentence.  So I’m at the top of the stairs and R searches the basement and there is no one there and we don’t hear any more rustling.  So he comes back up stairs and leaves the room and I hear the rustling again, and then I see something scurry past me (I can use the word scurry because it’s cute and tiny-sounding) and then I realize it had a tale and it was brown and icky and was not poop with a tail.  It was a rat.  (I don’t know why but moving poop with a tail would have been less disgusting somehow and I could get famous for discovering a new evolutionary development or something.)

At this point I’m yelling my face off-and not girly shrieking yelling, manly “Ahhhhhh” kind of yelling.

R yells in from the other room “what, what is it?” and I very intelligibly replied “Ahhhhhh” and then I realized we had thought there was an intruder and now I’m yelling so he’s probably thinking I’m being maced by a transvestite so I forced myself to say some words, which were “ew ew ew rat…just. saw. rat. ew ew ew” accompanied by the “I feel dirty” dance and some more manly yelling.

At this point I will just say R did not rush into the room after hearing me yell and probably thinking a transvestite is on the loose with obscure weaponry.  I’m keeping that in mind for a later date…

Apparently he is terrified of rats so he was really no help.  He threw some mouse poison in the basement from the top of the stairs, shut the door, and we both sat in the living room on couches with our feet up the rest of the night.  We are freaking basketcases.

Since our significant others were working we had to warn them of the rat situation so we texted them.  R texted his gf S and his phone immediately died, so he couldn’t even explain.  I was sure she wasn’t coming home because she works at  hotel so she could just stay there…

but she did so that’s good

E came home and hadn’t even read my text because he’s a devoted boyfriend so I had to retell everything I had texted and relive the disgusting moment.  Then he mocked R for not going downstairs to place the poison.  He put down six poisons in the basement and we put a bunch upstairs and I felt a little better, but still not great.

So now I defend our living conditions because I think rats are dirty and live in dirty places (even though it’s sort of unavoidable in the city), and we are not dirty except for the dishes thing, which I totally try to keep up on but they asexually reproduce when I’m at work.  Other then that we are fairly clean.

I blame our neighbor for the rats.  We live in a pretty urban area so the houses are close, and our neighbor has four pheasants he keeps in habitats right next to his house that he built out of wood and chicken wire (the habitats, not the house.  pretty sure he didn’t build the house.)  and rats are attracted to fowl.  And he has dogs.  He keeps them outside on the porch all the time and leaves dog food out there.  So he basically calligraphied an invitation for them and hand delivered it to the ratties who gladly obliged. Except one of them got bored and went exploring and found our house.

So we told our landlord who paid for all of the rat traps and poison we bought and told us to contact the health department (which I did and never heard back.)

I was really anxious to be rid of the rat because we had just invited a bunch of people over for an ugly sweater/house-warming/E’s parent’s 34th anniversary/my brother’s b-day party (we like to multitask), and I didn’t want a rat hanging around.  Plus they are disgusting.  I don’t mind the pet type of rat but real rats who come to your house and make you think a murderous transvestite is lurking nearby are icky.

Then it was a waiting game, and I was really surprised we hadn’t found the rat in one of the traps  because we put peanut butter on them and who can deny the lure of peanut butter? Though, I had noticed after the first night that two of the poisons from upstairs were gone .  I put 2 more in their place and 2 days later they were gone too.  We noticed after a few more days that all six poisons in the basement were gone So after about a week the basement started to smell worse and I noticed some really large houseflies and I thought maybe the rat was dead and rotting somewhere, but I tried really hard not to think about it.

Finally I was at work one night and got a text from E-the convo went like this:

E:  Found the rat.  It’s dead

Me: Ewewewew and yayayayay where did you find it?

E: In the basement.  Back corner.  Covered in maggots.  We got it all into a box and then bleached the area

Me:  Ewww that may be why we’ve had a lot of flies lately…

So it was done.  It took ten poisons because apparently it was some ridiculous mutant rat that loves poison but not peanut butter, but the rat is now dead.  And I didn’t have to clean it up.  Honestly, given my forensic science education I would have been less freaked out by the dead, rotting maggot infested rat.  E was quite intrigued by it and kept having to stare at it to make sure it really was a rat and not a new basement-dwelling species.  The tail gave it away.

Now we just need to do something about the flies…

Things this experience (and blog) taught me:

1) I don’t have a girly scream, which I am strangely proud of

2)  R may be in cahoots with Kill Bill transvestites who plan to murder me.  And for the record, I have nothing against transvestites who don’t want to kill me.  I just tend not to like anyone who wishes me dead.  It’s a self-preservation thing.

3) For someone who describes herself as stoic I can really work myself up into a nice rabid rant

4) I am a huge wimp when it comes to rodents being in my house

5) E is amazing and cleaned up gooey rat remnants when he could have left them for me to clean up, which he considered doing

Here is a copy of the invitation for the rats I found in my neighbors trash:

Pssst…Wanna Know a Secret? I’m Awkward Pretty Much all The Time and Have Anecdotes to Prove it:


Such as:

…That time I went to an open mic night and played to a cardboard cut out of elvis.

…That time I went to a bar and got hit on by a guy who’s pick-up line was “Is that guy your boyfriend or brother?”  The honest answer was “neither.”  I should have said “both.” and walked away.  What I said was “brother.”  But it was OK…the guy walked away anyway…only to come back to try again.  and take himself out of the game by declaring I was too young (After I had told him I really did have a boyfriend. It just wasn’t the guy he thought it was)

…That time my professor called me closed minded for not being open to cannibalism, and he expected more of me because I am obviously very liberal.  Never mind the fact that I never told him I’m liberal.  I don’t discuss politics.  Ever.  He explained that it’s obvious.  (I think this story proves that science professors are incredibly strange and frightening more than anything but it’s a good story…)

…That time I had a meeting with my advisor regarding my senior project and he kept sniffing the air only to break down and ask “Do you smell fish?”  and I had to explain that it was me because I had come from my job as a lab assistant and had just finished washing the shark dissection trays.  He apologized and admitted he only asked because he thought it was him.  I’m not really sure why he would smell like fish…

…That time I realized it is never acceptable to smell like fish even if you have a legitimate explanation.  (See above)

…That time our entire class debated what the best tasting human would be and unanimously agreed that it would have to be vegetarian babies. (There is actually logic behind this conclusion)  BTW this class was run by none other than the “closed-minded” cannibal professor…are you sensing a them?  (He was actually one of my favorite professors)

…That time I drank an absinthe cocktail (no wormwood just incredibly strong alcohol) on an empty stomach before playing my first solo gig and I had to stop half way through to go pee.

…That time I accused someone of getting a spice girls song stuck in my head  because he had been humming it, and he looked at me like I was on acid and very earnestly said “I wasn’t humming anything…” (Pretty sure it was spice up your life)

…That time I was discussing the weather with a toothless man at the bus stop and he interrupted himself mid-sentence to say “by the way you’re very beautiful.”  That’s not even the awkward part.  The awkward part was when I said “thank you” and he replied “Don’t thank me.  Thank your parents.”

…That time I wrote a really creepy song for my friend about being stalked but secretly stalking your stalker, and I played it for him for the first time in the back of a VW bug.

…That time I caught a gay boy and a straight girl in serious conversation about my breasts…and when I realized what was happening the gay boy broke down and very tormentedly admitted “I don’t even like boobs but I just can’t look away.”  BTW, can I just say if I ever doubted the power of boobs, I didn’t after that night.

…That time a guy at an open mic night asked me and my female friend (who also sings) if we knew of any girls who could do some background vocals for him, and when we said “hello!?  us!”  he responded “oh…well I really need some singers with a lot of soul.”  We took it in stride. Our very mature reaction was to stomp up and down and loudly whine “we have soul!! WE HAVE SOUL!!!”

…That time a guy at the same bar was hitting on me and that same friend and was asking a lot of very personal questions, such as the year we were born, and an old ex-roadie saved us by interrupting with an anecdote about how he was pretty sure he had been tripping on acid that year, but he can’t really recall…

…That time we (same friend-KT) were on our way to our first open mic night and got a flat tire.  Several men stopped and attempted to help us change the tire by kicking it.  The AAA guy finally came and mocked us by removing the tire in two seconds.  Then we had to go to my house and get my car because the spare tire was also flat…and we got to the open mic in time to play one song to the bartender and guy running the open mic.

…The time I developed a strange person-crush on the guy who ran an open mic and went very fan-girl one day when I saw him for the first time outside of the bar we played at.  And I loudly yelled “Oh my gawd it’s *Henry!

…That time I wore a corset out to a goth night with friends and my male friend approached me and very seriously asked “Do you know what motor boating is?”  I said yes.  He grinned and walked away.

…That time I was at a bar with E (we were dating at the time) and I watched him get hit on by two very drunk, very spazzy girls, and I laughed the whole time.  Then later explained to him that he was being hit on because he was completely oblivious.  (Remind me to tell this story in depth another time-It’s very amusing.  It includes E very determinedly saying “excuse me I’m trying to work” while pushing two drunk, scantly glad girls out of his way as they tried to grind on him (literally on him…they were far too drunk for personal boundaries)

…That time a wrote a nearly 1,000 word post only using real stories about how awkward I am and starting all of them with “…That time”


*This name changed as a half-ass attempt to protect my ego in case he ever reads this blog

That Time I Did That Thing And It Was Stupid


Also known as:  That Time I Did That Thing And I Was Excruciatingly Awkward

Sooooo many stories come to mind…

Some of my favorites occurred while I was living in Chicago.

These stories require some set up (I apologize in advance)

I was living in Chicago for a summer for an unpaid internship and working at a pizza shop 12 hours a week for minimum wage (because that’s all they would give me), subletting a room in someones condo whom I met on craigslist.

This isn’t the stupid part yet.  I swear.  The craigslist roommate/live in landlady thing actually worked out.  She owned her own cookie company and had two awesome dogs. (Apparently, those are my requirements.)

I really didn’t know many people in Chicago except for a friend of a friend, I’ll call him E for  now (E is now my boyfriend of two years, which is an entirely different, complicated story).

E and I would hang out (when he remembered I lived in Chicago, which was when I would text him to ask if I could come hang out because I was bored.)  Generally, I would come over to eat (or shower during the agonizing two weeks that the gas was shut off and I was living with cold showers and no way to cook-again another story for another day.)  Occasionally, E and I would meet up and play an open mic somewhere.  We did hang out quite a bit, but it was pretty sporadic during the beginning of the summer.  As I said, E often forgot I lived in the same city as him.

During the early bit of my time in Chicago I realized I could not sit around in my bedroom and mope because I am not enough of a hermit to tolerate myself alone that often.  So began the adventures of trying to find an open mic night to play.  The bigger battle was forging past my anxiety and pretty extreme awkwardness in any new situation.

Fortunately, my determination (and alcohol tolerance) are stronger than my social inadequacies.

On one of my epic adventures,  I set out to play an open mic I had tried to play (and failed) several times before.  This time I meant business.  I was actually of legal drinking age and there was no way they could kick me out before I got to play. And I actually knew how to get there this time.  So those prior obstacles were out of the way.

On the bus, I noticed a boy-type person relatively my age and made a bet with myself that he was going to the same bar I was.  I thought I won the bet when we got off at the same stop.  Then I was sure I had lost when we walked in opposite directions.  Then realized I had won after all when I got inside the bar and he was already there sitting at a table.

Now this bar was Irish-themed, and had the amazing incentive of free food during their open mic night.  The catch being you had to buy something.  I settled on a $5 pitcher of relatively good beer (cheap for Chicago.)  Yes. I bought a pitcher of beer.  For myself.

To paint the picture imagine a 5’2″ girl, looking awkward, all by herself, with a huge pitcher of beer and no one to share it with.

Yeah.  Giggle.  It’s OK.  I do all the time.  It get’s sillier.  Starting now…

Bus Boy was sitting at a table alone, equally awkward looking, with his own pitcher of beer!  Alas, I thought I will ask to sit with him because, surely, two awkward strangers drinking beer will be much less awkward if one invites herself to drink with the male counterpart!! Great idea, right!?!  No!  Wrong!  Very bad idea!

Basically it went like this:

Me (holding a pitcher of beer and pint glass):  Can I sit here, with you, at this table…

Bus Boy (we’ll call him BB from here on out):  OK

Me (After placing my precious cargo on the table):  Hi, I’m Kristy.

BB:  Hi I’m K***

15 minutes of silence

Me (In my head):  OK this whole socially awkward thing is a killer and this was obviously an awful idea but I’m here, and he’s here, and I already bought this beer, and we are ignoring each other and paying an exorbitant amount of attention to our respective adult beverages.  (Mind you, I didn’t have the internet on my phone at the time.  Or apps. How did I ever live without Words With Friends, Mine Sweeper, and You Tube?)  How the hell am I supposed to cope with this situation.  Oh I know!  Let me play the ever so popular, “let’s see who can drink their pitcher faster” game but not tell my opponent we are competing.

I swear I was half a glass ahead of him, but there was a 15 minute time-period when I was on stage playing music, so BB caught up with me (Curses!)

So then I was playing the even more popular and ill-advised “let’s catch up” game.  I returned to my seat and we continued to ignore each other, except now we were also shoveling free corned beef hash into our faces along with our beer.

Finally he got up to get more delicious free food and spoke to me.  He said “hey, don’t drink my beer.” and walked away…Now, I could take him seriously or take this as a joke and make a joke back.  Considering I had about half a pitcher left (as did he), and I was feeling less edgy (due to drinking half a pitcher in a brief time span) I decided to joke.  He came back to the table and the conversation resumed:

Me:  How big of an alcoholic do you think I am?

BB:  Well, you do have an entire pitcher to yourself…

Me (head tilted and quizzical expression):  uhhh…so do you…

After that it was easier.  We broke the ice.  It took some alcohol and pseudo-judgmental banter but we did it!  I later discovered that he majored in clarinet performance in college (as did my best friend at the time) and he graduated with the guy who ran another open mic I went to on Mondays (the current day was Sunday).  We unofficially agreed to meet up the next night at that open mic night (where I realized our ease of conversation was more due to the alcohol than anything resembling a comfort level between us).  We never saw each other again after that Monday but I did witness him playing the clarinet with his nose…so it was worth it.

Oh, and I totally won the “who can finish their beer faster” game.

What can I say?  I’m oddly competitive at games only I know I’m playing.