Uptown Rantz

Don't Wanna Be No Uptown Fool

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That’s My FWB!

jessicaJes2

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Ever have a FWB (if you don’t know, click here), and then you see your FWB out on an actual date with someone else? A little jealousy creeps in followed by the guilt of feeling jealous because there’s a supposed mutual understanding that you’re not dating each other.

I stopped in two nights ago at Green Mill Uptown after an evening of Christmas shopping traffic. I sat at the bar and immediately saw Jessica (not to be confused with my ex-g/f Jessica) at the corner table with some dude. His back was to me and she was facing me, but she hadn’t noticed me yet. I sent her a text. I saw her type her reply right in front of him. He got up to go outside and smoke, so I walked over to her table.

“You cheating on me already?”

She smiled, stood up and gave me an unusually long hug (she smelled amazing). Her date saw the hug through the window and immediately put out his cigarette. He returned to the table while I was standing there talking to his date. Jessica introduced us, he shook my hand and I returned my attention to Jessica. He was prematurely gray, shorter than me, and I was standing tall after seven straight days of workouts…stomach flat, delts bangin’, arms jacked (I know that sounded douchey as hell, but he was with my FWB!)

Jessica and I were talking about her work and her family, so he easily figured out that I know things about her that he doesn’t know. She told me she has more free time later in the week and that she would text me to hang out. I didn’t look at his reaction because I didn’t have to. He’ll shell out money for dinner and drinks, get a friendly goodnight hug and never come close to seeing Jessica naked. And the chance of him reaching the stage with her where she’s peeing on the toilet while he brushes his teeth, zero.

I returned to the bar and we continued to have text with each other right in front of him. I win.

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The Movie in My Head

The small mail drop built-in to the front of my house could hardly contain all the mail and magazines. It looked like a giant mouth spitting out giant Chiclets. The letter carrier resigned to wrapping my mail in a rubber band and leaning it against the front door. The snow made it wet, heavy and useless.

I was well into my second day of training in California when I realized I neglected to put my mail on hold. I paid the cab driver and dragged my rolling suitcase up the walkway to my pitch-black bungalow house where I haven’t been for two weeks…a week in Austin and another week in Southern California. I grabbed the mail, opened the door, turned on the living room lamp and saw that I keep a really clean house. I laid down on the Asian area rug that I bought at Target almost 10 years ago and that feeling of being alone and feeling lonely crept into me like an all too familiar, and all too unwanted roommate. I was too exhausted to fight it.

I didn’t want to open the soggy stack of mail resting on my chest. A small, handwritten, pink envelope caught my eye. I opened it, and it was from Jeanine…an invite to her party. A text when I was in Austin, an E-vite and now a handwritten invite. She really wants me at her party. I don’t want to go.

Then, the little six-second movie started playing in my head again. It used to be in color, now it plays in black-and-white.  Not even my Ipod on the plane could drown it out…Amanda’s frustration-fueled words when we were still together: “You need to grow up and earn a real salary!” It was on a sunny spring morning in my old Uptown apartment. It was the result of my then-constant limited cash flow and my noisy, tiny apartment. When I played little league baseball, I got beaned at the plate a few times. I ran to first base with tears welling-up in my eyes, but I didn’t want anyone to see me cry. That’s what her words felt like…like a baseball from a 10-year-old arm striking me on the shoulder.

It was the one and only time that I ever heard her speak in an angry voice. It’s been on repeat in my head and it resonates like a cough in church. She has no idea how completely different I live my life now. I finally have what she expected me to have, and I can’t even tell her. When I found out I landed my job, she was one of 12 people I e-mailed in my fury of excitement. She’s the only one who didn’t respond.

Some people spend a lifetime seeking approval from a disappointed parent.  Am I destined to spend my life seeking approval from a disappointed ex-girlfriend? Everything these past few months – the new career, new car, new wardrobe and new tax bracket…it all feels like a pile of poker chips. Being able to tell Amanda would turn the chips into real money for me.

Visit from an Ex and Prozac Nation

My ex, Amanda, came over today. She never liked Uptown. The lack of available street parking often caused her to enter my place in a bad mood. She would circle from Dupont to Fremont attempting to find a spot for the night. I always felt like I had to apologize to her for the poor city planning.

I open the door and our hug is slightly forced and stiff, like we’re reluctant to touch each other. It seems odd considering that I always had my hand up her shirt while we lied on the couch watching TV, and she liked to sleep next to me with her hand on my crotch. She looks exactly the same but I know she’s had experiences in the past year that I know nothing about. I don’t even know if she’s seeing anyone, and I don’t think I want to know. But her hair is kind of curly, and I know she only takes the time to do that for special occasions. I don’t know if this visit is that occasion, or if this visit is a stop on the way to that occasion.

I notice her eyes scanning the room. I can’t tell if she’s having flashes of good or bad memories at the moment.

Some things are still the same around my place…like the copy of Prozac Nation that rests on my toilet tank. It’s creased and its pages are warped from shower moisture, but it’s the only book that I can open to at any page and begin reading. I’ve never been Prozac depressed, but I know what it’s like fearing that your present life is the best it will ever get. And the can of Raid atop the fridge, Morrissey CD serving as a paperweight on my desk, scattered post-it notes with scribbled items to be purchased at Target, canvas tote bag hanging on the kitchen doorknob, dusty TV remotes on the coffee table…all still there where she last saw them.

The only noticeable change is the three month old couch that replaced the seven year old futon in the living room. I sold that to a young college girl moving into her first apartment. My Craigslist ad described it as only two years old, which I thought was believable. When I helped her haul it to her truck the stains became highly visible in the bright sun, and I could tell she was questioning my honesty. But I already had cash in hand and I was ecstatic to be rid of that thing and the years of procrastination it brought me.

Amanda compliments the new furniture as we sit. She doesn’t lean back on the couch. Instead opting to sit up straight with both feet flat on the floor, which denotes that she won’t be staying long.

Few things equal the awkwardness of making mindless small talk with someone you used to share your entire life with. She tells me about her new apartment and all I can think of is whether a boyfriend helped her move into it. Her birthday is in less than two weeks – I think about asking what she has planned for it. I don’t ask because I know those plans don’t include me and she’ll have long forgotten about this visit two weeks from now.

Brazilians in Uptown

The Brazilians – Oh, we know a little about y’all.  You’ve lived as renters in the same house for over 10 years.  Renting for that long either speaks to your seemingly lack of gainful employment, or maybe you just like that house that much.  How are you always home?

There’s been a rotating cast of inhabitants in your house over the years.  The only constant being the short, skinny guy whose dreads make him look like Predator.  You’ve pissed off numerous neighbors with early morning bongo drums, late night parties and your belief that the entire street wants to hear your Caribbean-inspired music.  You give us no choice but to call the Minneapolis Police dispatcher.  Remember that time when the squad car pulled-up to your party and your entire front yard of guests took off running in all directions?  Fuckin’ hilarious!   And that time you decided to try and mow your lawn with a noisy-ass weedwacker?  Don’t ever do that again.

You all stand in the front yard and cat-call the pretty Uptown girls that park on the street and walk to Drink and Stella’s.  I feel compelled to tell you that American women are not attracted to skinny men with rancid body odor…unless the woman in question is named Audrina Patridge, but you’re all old enough to be her constantly-high dad.

The suburbanites that brunch in Uptown on weekends think you’re unique and a part of Uptown’s character.  But if you moved next to them in Eden Prairie it would be a case of white-flight the likes this city hasn’t seen since the Jews fled North Minneapolis.

Relax, no one wants to run you out of Uptown.  But if you decide to leave on your own, no one is stopping you either.

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