BELOIT October 2007
I start this blog at 7:11 on October 4 at the Delta Shuttle terminal at LaGuardia Airport. I'm worried. Things have worked too smoothly. Dale was supposed to meet me last night at 9:30, just when I got home from work. I walk in the door from work, immediately the doorbell rings. It's Dale.
This morning, he's supposed to be in front of my building at 6:15. I take my suitcases on the elevator to be downstairs waiting for him when he arrives. He's there when the elevator door opens. We make it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. That's where I am now.
Not much sleep last night, but I rarely sleep much before I travel. I'll sleep on the plane a bit or not. I'm trying to think of all the stuff that can go wrong. Dale is staying at my apartment so it doesn't even matter if I locked the door. There WILL be something, but I'll be nervous until it happens.
Sunday October 7 1:24PM Des Plaines Oasis, Des Plains IL: Except for a weird period of spaciness yesterday. Where I forgot people's names, was unable to come up with snappy answers, and felt an odd piece of blankness where I think my frontal lobes are, (This went away with increased alcohol consumption), things continue to go too well. The weather is HOT. In the 90s. Not Beloit in October weather.
The Beloit Reunion itself is disappointing. Many of the people I hope to see are not there. Being old, the first thing we talk about is who's dead. The only new death is the wife wife of a pal of mine who went from Beloit to being a brewmaster (imagine that!). His Japanese wife offed herself. The details are unclear, but it appears he was spending too much time in China and she hated China. Japanese people do these things.
Embarrassing moment for me: Jesse is the couch-surfing girl I'm staying with. She's in the Beloit Latino students leage. From Maine, she's a Latina by choice, not by birth. There's something Latina in her style too. The way she walks. The way she carries her body. It makes it necessary for me to... er... adjust myself. Cool, funny, with Mexican friends. She tells me about her adventures in South America. We take a walk to hit a new local food place. She's as friendly as a Brazilian.
When I walk in I see that she has her refrigerator planned for me, as well as her own future:
Later in the evening we hang at BERT'S BAR. That's Bert all the way to the right. Next to Bert is Jesse, and next to Jesse, her roommate Anya. Next to Anya you know, and the two on the end, I forget the names.
Everything goes great, except that the first night at her place, the air mattress slowly loses air as I sleep on it. At night I'm floating. In the morning I'm getting splinters from the floorboards. Then, there's the cow.
Jesse works at the Beloit “coffee house.” No coffee there. It's an on-campus bar. One of the beers they serve there is SPOTTED COW. (They also have a beer called FAT SQUIRREL.... but I do not accidentally ask her for a FAT COW. Jesse's not fat so it wouldn't make sense as an insult. But I could imagine ordering a FAT COW when a large female is sitting next to me. Hooey! My nose would still be in a splint.) I notice that behind the bar is a cow that just hangs wrinkled. I ask Jesse about it.
“Oh,” says Jesse, “it used to be blown up, but all the air went out of it.”
“I guess everything you touch deflates,” I say without thinking.
Jesse suddenly looks deflated herself. Then, thinking about my private IN-flation when we met, I realize how I've been misinterpreted. It's like an insult! No! No! No! But what can I say? That's not what I meant. Touch here! Check it out?” Too late! Sometimes I just say the wrong things! Who me?
The Beloit reading: As has happened from Harvard to Stamford, Barnes and Nobles has taken over the administration of the college bookstore. So far I've been able to avoid ever reading at a Barnes and Nobles, but now I've got no choice.
I'm competing with the college football game, Arab Women Speak Out on Arab Dress, folk dancing in commons, and several welcome back fratboy parties. I expected attendance to be sparse. Sure enough, at the appointed starting time, there's NO ONE! Within a half hour, though. The place is packed. Yowsah! The bookstore sells a ton of books. I sign 'em all. I'm happy and $35 richer from books the store had to buy from me because they ran out.
Despite it being a reunion, the greatest discover of the trip is the current students. I have more fun with them than with the old farts of my class.
Oh I like these people. Some of them are really good friends. But I know them. They're comfortable. I'm not such a fan of comfort. Give me adventure! And besides, I admire these new Beloiters. They've got something we didn't have.
I project backwards: It's 1969 and a bunch of alumni are back at school to celebrate their 30-something, or 20-something or something-teenth reunion. Keep them away from me! Those dumb fucks. They don't know anything's wrong, let alone that the revolution is just around the corner. Fuck 'em. They're part of the problem. I'm the solution.
Ok, if they want to talk to me. I'll talk. There's plenty they can learn from me. But I sure as a black flag aren't gonna sidle up to them and ask questions. What could I ask them? I have the answers already and they don't even know how to ask.
That's how I would've been. But now? The kids wanna know. They wanna hear stories. They want me to tell 'em about how we threw a piano out a third story window and spelled USA on the football field in partially dissected fetal pigs. They want to hear about the drugs, the riots, the firebombed dean's office (I didn't do that) or the plaster of paris in the keycard locks (that one,,, er.)
I'll have more to write about Beloit. I'll probably take this down after updating and rewriting... or maybe not. These adventures tend to fizz out, being replaced by new adventures that I start to blog and never finnish.