Or, "My name is Tim, and I have had a very strange and eventful 2 days". You pick the title. This post will get long.
So, from the top. Friday, I did nothing. I just sort of sat around. Fun stuff.
Saturday I stopped by Angie's house and had a horrible time. When I got there, there was about 3 people I knew sitting on the front porch. I didn't really care for any of them. Not even one. Plus there was parents. Parents everywhere, and also younger siblings. Granted, it was for a girl's 21st, but c'mon... why bring the parents and the 11 year old brother? Weird.
I didn't stay long, because I had to be back at the apartment by midnight or so because Jamie and one of her friends was stopping by. I stayed awake, let them in, but when Alan got home, I pretty much went to sleep right then. I was pretty tired, and I had to wake up pretty early to see my grandma on Sunday. Jamie was trying to set me up with the friend she brought along, so I don't think she appreciated it much that I just sort of left after talking to them for only 25 minutes or so. Ah well.
Sunday I went down to visit my grandma. About 3 months ago, they gave her a week to live. She's been doing pretty good considering that, and our trips to visit her are getting much more frequent now... almost every weekend. I go whenever I can, because I would feel horrible if she died right after the time I didn't tag along. I missed my other grandma's last birthday because of a school dance. I've never really stopped regretting that move. My aunt and cousins from Kansas were there, so it was nice to see them. Grandma was better than she was last time I saw her, but it's still so sad to see her, or anyone, like that. She hasn't gotten out of her bed in 2 months or so.
After that, I updated my webpage a little and prepared for my little trip on Monday and Tuesday.
It was a very strange trip. I hadn't been back to Chicago in almost exactly a year. When I left, I was the happiest kid on earth. I lived up there for 2 years, and made the trip back and forth to Peoria many times. I remember dreading the trips to Chicago, but being so happy to come back to Peoria. That feeling of dread hit me this time too, as I first spotted the Sears Tower. My stomach dropped and I felt horrible. I had to remind myself that this time I was choosing to be in Chicago, and there for a really good reason. The whole experience was a bit surreal, driving down streets and looking at buildings that I had seen hundreds of times before, but never in the same light as I was looking at them this time. I'm one year older, but about 200 years wiser. In the last year, I've had tons of ups and downs, tons of new and great experiences, gained and lost friends, improved friendships with others, avoided relationships for no good reason, really.
The hotel I was staying at was right in the neighborhood I lived in my second year. I wandered around a little. It was pretty much the same... some restaurants had new signs, some had closed, but it was all very much the way I left it a year ago. My building looked exactly the same, although I didn't get a chance to go inside. I would have liked to have seen it, since they started really improving it right when I left.
I took the train down to my school. On my way up I was worried that I may have forgotten how to use the public transportation or forgotten street names or something. But I hadn't. I just had to put myself on autopilot and go the way I had always gone before.
My school had expanded quite a bit, and a lot had changed. There was a new student gallery that was absolutely huge, and the library was about twice the size as when I left it. I wandered the halls and ran into 2 people I had some classes with a year ago who looked at me with a weird "Don't I know you?" face, but kept walking. I even saw some of my old drawings and designs, still hanging on the wall, which was a bit odd. I saw some of my old teachers from a distance, but they were in the middle of class and I didn't want to interrupt.
I ate lunch in the mall food court that I always ate in, alone, like I always had. My old meal at Sbarro's was still the same price, and still tasted the way I remembered it tasting. But there were different people working there, and that didn't settle with me.
The outside of the school had been changed quite a bit. Sometimes I'd eat lunch down by the river, but there was all sorts of fences and signs up discouraging that now.
The plan was to meet Wolford down at Union Station at 4ish, so I headed down there. Union Station is huge, so he had to call me on my cell phone a few times for us to finally meet somewhere. We took the train up to Evanston, got lost briefly, but then headed to some little book store to see Bruce Campbell. The place was packed and incredibly hot. The book signing started at 6:30, and we got there just a little before that. We were handed numbers designating our place in line, #157 and 158. There was 30 or 40 people behind us too. The caught the tail end of Bruce's Q&A session, then went outside to sit down and wait for our number to be called.
An hour or 2 later we went inside to get in line. It was weird being in line and getting closer and closer to Bruce Campbell. I would occassionally peek over the shoulder of the guy in front of me and catch a glimpse of him, which was really bizarre.
As I got to the table I sort of freaked out. I just handed him my book to sign and stood there, hoping that something would come to mind that I could say to him. I took my dad's advice and mentioned emailing him back and forth, closing with the line "not that you'd remember or anything..." but before I could, he replied with the overly sarcastic "Sure, I remember that like it was yesterday." He did that on our second trip through the line too, when I tried again, unsuccessfully, to get him to remember me. I still believe he would have if he'd have given me more time to convince him. But I didn't push it, and I was on my way.
I had to take Wolford back to the train station since the loser doesn't know Chitown very well, and we discussed the Angie and Mullens scandal, which made me think of even more things I shouldn't have been thinking about on my little vacation. We made plans again to meet there the next morning to get to the next bookstore nice and early to meet Bruce again.
On the train ride back and the many blocks of walking down streets that were all too fimiliar all by myself, I started thinking more about my relationship with Angie and Mullens. Or maybe my lack of relationship... whatever the case may be. I started thinking about the people I pushed away, and the people I pulled closer, and why I chose to do those things. And most of all, why did I choose avoidance in situations where avoidance was probably the worst choice? In short, they weren't happy thoughts. They were thoughts about my life, the people in my life, their place in my life, my place in their's, and our motivativations for choosing the people and their places. And do we choose them or do they choose us? Should we make conscience efforts and decisions regarding them, or let nature take it's course? Even through my experiences in the last year, I was more confused than ever about relationships and people. I can barely handle myself anymore, much less other people.
But back to Bruce. I slept in 5 or 10 minute chucks all night, and didn't sleep well at that. I guess I was excited about the Bruce thing, but then I was also fighting off those Chicago monsters, and the weird, surreal feelings I got while revisiting certain sections of town. I woke up at around 7:30 this morning, checked out of my hotel, and threw my suitcase in my car, then headed down to the Union Station again to meet Wolford. We made our way to Borders where the book signing was, bought new books (one for Fabish and one for Wolford's friend Ryan), and put our claim on some seats. By 10 there was a pretty good crowd forming, and they started setting up some chairs for us to sit in once Bruce got to the store. the people that had been there the longest got the first row, and I was one of those people. I didn't know it at the time, but I had chosen the seat that was designated "first in line", once the Q&A stopped and the signing started. One of the employees at the store would go up and give a little speech about how busy Bruce was and how he was on a tight schedule, and the system by which our book signing would take place. Every time he made his announcement, he'd call me by name and say I was first in line, and I turn back and flash a cheesy grin to everyone that was behind me (which amounted to a few hundred people). By the 5th or 6th time, he told me I could give the speech if I wanted, but I had to decline.
So Bruce got there and did the Q&A. Most of the questions were repeats from the night before, but here's some highlights:
Fanboy: "Say 'work shed'!"
Bruce: "Ah, funny guy."
Fanboy: "So, you have a bit part in Spiderman..."
Bruce: "A bit part? A bit part you say? I have a pivotal role."
(Bruce later made fun of this guy again and again for using the phrase 'bit part')
Fanboy: "Any words of wisdom for an aspiring actor?"
Bruce: "Yeah... number one, take off the sunglasses."
Fanboy: "Are you going to make an Evil Dead 4?"
Bruce: "Why would we want to make an Evil Dead 4? Sure, sure, we'll make one. We'll start tomorrow. Is that okay?"
Fanboy: "How did you feel about working for Disney on the remake of Herbie and Goldrush?"
Bruce: "How do I feel about working for Disney? I don't know, but I feel really good about paying my mortgage."
He had to cut the Q&A short, since there was approximately 2 million people and he had to leave soon. I got my book signed again, Fabish's book signed once, and at one point I mentioned to him that I had seen him the day before. He said "Yeah, I remember it.... distinctly." He really wanted to say "like it was yesterday", I could tell. I wished he had said it, so I could reply "Yeah, it WAS yesterday." Unfortunately, I didn't get my chance to outsmart Bruce, since it's fairly obvious he's quite a bit smarter than me.
And that was that. We made our way out, and there was huge, huge crowds. It was a tad bit insane, actually. He was a really nice guy, a complete smart ass, and definitely dead sexy.
Here's a picture of me with Bruce:
And my drunk friend Wolford with Bruce: