May 11, 2010

Library-ing in the Chicago Suburbs


That's Aaron and Billy, who drove four hours from Indiana to see my little presentation in Palantine, IL's public library this past weekend, and almost made it, arriving just as I was packing up. A ways back, Aaron had sent me a dollar bill to autograph to add to his collection of autographed punk rock dollar bills. Flake that I am, I hadn't got around to doing that. But also, flake that I am, I still happened to have his envelope in my computer bag where I put it when I picked it up from the post office a couple of months ago, intending to get around to it at some point. So I was able to take care of that right there. Another thing to cross off my to-do list. Sweet.

It was a good time, and seemed to go pretty well. Thanks to everyone who showed up, and to Tom Spicer and Megan Ower, the librarians who arranged the whole thing.

A few of the attendees on Sunday were punk rock type couples who came with their babies. The antics of one of them (Rose, I think, the daughter of Cpt. who is a frequent commenter here) were so adorable that I got distracted and forgot the words to a song or two. Okay, so that probably would have happened anyway, one way or another, but still. Sometimes a baby would start crying or "fussing" and would have to be taken out of the room for a while, reminding me of church.

After the presentation in Arlington Heights the previous day, one of the attendees invited me to his girlfriend's graduation party, which was at a place called the Wellington which happened to be just down the street from my hotel. I'm sure they didn't expect me to come, but they were nice people and I was at a loose end, so I stopped by.

Now I'd expected The Wellington to be a bar, with maybe a HAPPY GRADUATION banner somewhere, and a bunch of friends just hanging out, saying "woo" from time to time, playing quarters, that sort of thing. And I figured I'd walk in, find the folks I'd met, be introduced to people, have a drink, say "congratulations," maybe say "woo" now and again, play quarters, and such. But what the Wellington was, as it turns out, was a complex of multiple banquet event rooms. And the party to which I'd been invited turned out, in fact, to be a catered dinner, a family gathering with a generous assortment of uncles, aunts, grandparents, little nephews and nieces running around, etc. I was thrown for a loop by this, but I regained my composure almost immediately and tried to blend in as best I could. When the surly, gravel-voiced waitress asked me if I wanted a Harvey Wallbanger "or what," I had the presence of mind to say "just a beer thanks" as though I really belonged there.

It was surreal to be smack in the middle of someone else's family like that. But the folks who had invited me were really nice and the conversation and joking around was so successful I might have even forgotten they weren't actually my own family for moments here and there. It was a good time and a lot less awkward than it sounds.

Also, the food in Chicago rules.

Posted by Dr. Frank at May 11, 2010 08:16 AM | TrackBack

So sad I missed this happening.

Posted by: Dan at June 3, 2010 07:45 PM