Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bad Pennies

This weekend, The Joans played a private event for an international gay sports group, held at an elegant venue downtown.

The audience, who were almost exclusively gay men--rather inebriated ones--really enjoyed the show and loved the way Jennifer and David played off of them. (Jennifer understands that "little bitch" might be an insult in most circles, but when spoken to a gay man in public, it's equal to a blessing from the Gay Pope, if such a thing existed.) David got off a good one-liner about having something in common with the the players: "We both love balls."

I fucked up a few times, since I moved my mic stand too close and inhibited my range of motion, but nobody seemed to notice (did I mention that they were very inebriated?). Besides almost getting locked into the loading dock for almost a half hour, calling security to open the door three times, nearly missing sound check because of it, and getting our bags searched like criminals on the way out (because we had to use the Associate's Entrance, and they have better security than an airport), we had a good time.

It was what happened before the show that twisted my insides.

A few years ago, I wrote about a chance street meeting with my first ex-boyfriend, "Dagwood (not his real name, although it would fit). In a two-part blog entry at the time, I described the entirety of our relationship, which, although it essentially lasted no more than three months, loomed large in my life ever after (since our acquaintance continued for two more years, and also because the initial experience has made me afraid to ever try a relationship again, hence my bitter bachelorhood).

At the time, I never heard back from him, so I assumed that it was a one-off encounter and perhaps he'd moved away from the area again.

But fate is a cruel and dessicated bitch.

Sunday started off nicely. I had a nice big breakfast and started laying out my clothes, doing last-minute ironing as needed. I picked up my drums at Taylor's and headed down to Lincoln Park to pick up Jennifer. We got to the venue right around 6:00PM and called our event contact, who was going to send a security officer down to open the loading dock door. I put my hazard blinkers on and Jen and I got out of the car to stretch our legs and wait.

I heard my named called. "Oh," I thought to myself, "are Taylor and Steve here already?" I turned around. It was not either Taylor OR Steve.

It was Dagwood.

At first, after my asshole unpuckered itself, I felt a little confused. That lasted about half a second. Then I remembered that Dagwood had, in fact, worked at this place when we were together (although I'd thought he had left there at some point). So of course, it would make sense that he would be there. If he worked there. Sadly, I did not know this beforehand, so I could not take the precaution of disguising myself--say, by donning a fake moustache or perhaps disfiguring myself with acid.

His shift was over and he was waiting for a co-worker and they were going to dinner down the street. So there I was, a duck in a gallery. Right out in the open on a brisk early evening in downtown Chicago. Wearing a white undershirt that made it amply clear just how brisk it was.

The thing that bothered me the most was that this time, another person (Jennifer) would be subjected to him. My history with him had previously been something I kept as a sort of shameful secret, like nail fungus or a past as a Mouseketeer. I introduced the two (actually, I was kind of a daze--Jen may have had to introduce herself) and she and Dagwood chatted. As our encounter entered what must have been minute five, my mind flashed over the several chance encounters I'd had with Dagwood over the years since our breakup. And they all had one thing in common: subsequent digestive upset.

Finally, after he was done pumping us for details about our gig, regaling us with tales of his current activities, and trying to impress Jennifer by dropping names, and I had drawn blood from the palms of my hands from digging in my nails, his co-worker emerged from the building and, their shifts over, they walked down the street to the restaurant they'd selected. As they walked away, I had a sense of deja vu--I remembered a time I would have longed to be part of their group and feel his approval. (Was I ever that stupid? Apparently. Jesus.) This time, I watched him leave with an enormous sense of relief, rather like the one we feel when a Jehovah's Witness has stopped banging on the door and moved to the next house and we can safely emerge from behind the couch.

By this time, Jennifer knew who he was (we'd had a murmured conversation when he'd stepped away for a moment earlier) and after he was safely out of earshot, she turned to me and said:

"I hate that creep."

That's why I love Jennifer. It took her five minutes to figure out what it took me two years to learn.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we all have to face our Dagwood sooner or later. a bad penis I mean penny always turns up. You handled the situation very well indeed. Here's how I handle Jehovah's Witnesses: First of all refer to them as Millenium Dawns (they hate that) for that is what they used to be called years ago. When they ask if you'd like a watchtower magazine have some religious literature from a "real" church to offer them. Display an American flag near your door. (for some reason they'll stay away)
For Mormon's I just tell them that Joseph Smith is burning in hell and for some reason they never come back for a return visit. ed

4:17 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I just hid behind the couch. It was easier. I wish I'd had that kind of intelligence the night I first met Daggie.

5:42 PM  

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