Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Diary: October 2004.

I have to point out from time to time that it is completely random which month I write about... half of the time, I flip a coin, with heads meaning that I write from the most recent four year period (ie. 2001-2005) and tails meaning I write about an earlier time. The other half of the time, it's a raw calculation of one year from 1978 to the present. I have to explain this because it sometimes seems like serendipity, the way things add up.

As I've said many times, 2004-05 was one of the happiest and most eventful times in my life, and October was no exception. It started out early on when Sam and I threw a housewarming party for our new place in Edgewater Beach. We'd managed to kill most of the roaches through successive layers of poison, and had just unpacked enough that we could really enjoy the spectacular views. I invited people over early for swimming, but I was the only person to dip in the seashell and seagull crusted waters licking the rocks of the Thorndale Beach. I went home, and changed into my Hawai'ian shirt. I thought Hawai'ian shirts seemed Gothic Funky, and that was a party of how the whole thing started. Amber, who I did not know that well back then, was one of the first guests, and we listened to music and hung out until Sam got back and others started to trickle in. The night was deja vu, because I hadn't seen many of these kids in over a year: Joe and Mercedes and (bless him!) Ben. Maybe twenty or so people came out and we demolished a case or two of Old Style. I know that I drank 10 because I made a pyramid out of the empty cans as I finished them.

I'd spent much of September applying for jobs all over the neighborhood but as this latest unemployed stretch grew toward and beyond two months I had to do what I always did in those years; called up Advanced Resources and ask them for an assignment. After a couple of busted attemps to count people using the urinals at Bears games (I kid you not) I got an assignment at a Lasik surgery center at the Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation. By this time I'd worked at five or six different departments of this institution and while the overall atmosphere was a little grouchy when I showed up, I settled in quickly. It would turn out to be my favorite assignement of all; an assignment I would hold for a year and, with interruptions, eventually become the job I have today.

I was also boring down on this Gothic Funk thing. The phrase was infectious to me. I picked up Walpole's Castle of Otranto and finished it in an afternoon; then I was onto Radcliffe's Mysteries of Udolpho. I remember I stayed up late compiling playlists and soundtracks to these novels. I was really getting into electronic music for the first time, listening to a lot of Orbital and Underworld and a little Infected Mushroom.

I still remember the weekend I took the train home... Amtrak... eating bagels and drinking coffee the whole way, and reading Radcliffe's masterpiece as I went. It was on the train that I read of her first encounter with the fatal castle. I was hooked. This became my favorite novel.

Early in the month, I had applied for a canvassing job that I did not get, but the interview was held in the West Loop and I was so excited that I bought a cover of the New York Times and sat in a coffee shop on LaSalle street read all of the important looking articles with small print.

A lot on the plate.

The real story for me at this time was the election, which is key to what I'm doing with this blog today.

I volunteered here and there, and I blogged a lot. Did I change any minds? Probably not. But it was a start. I wrote this and this and this and this and more.

Where were you in October 2004?

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