My throat was dry and the back of my left eyeball felt like it was being eaten when I pulled my car into Spot 43 at our Lego-block townhome community. The sandwiches had to come inside and I had to start laundry; everything else would just have to wait. I trudged to my door and unlocked it, cooler sliding down my hip and overloaded IKEA bag nearly strangling me, and proceeded up the stairs in what could only be described as a gracefully-executed upward fall.
I kicked off the shoes, my 10-year-old navy blue adidas Sambas. I wore these shoes to McCarthy Beach the day before, a sinister sandlot that left a murder of grains in my floor mats. As it would happen, this trip began with my father gifting me a Shop-Vac. Eventually.
I also wore these shoes to Sportsman’s Restaurant and Taverna, home of an $8 steak-and-eggs breakfast that nobody in the Cities and their $25 price points could top. It was also home of a rare pot of diner coffee that didn’t make me want to ralph it back into the pot. I peeled off the socks next – one of two pairs to complete the journey back. It was like crossing a river in Oregon Trail and losing all of your supplies and two party members. I just looked in the bag and was like “Shit!”
The white shorts were rushed to the laundry room. We need stain remover, STAT! The Good Ol’ Burger, the tallest thing in Tower, could hide a Smurf in its shadow … but this culinary water balloon got drippy at inconvenient times and left me with some ER work. I also wore these white shorts on Saturday to the Portland Malt Shoppe, and to the Rhubarb Festival. I met Rhubarbara and watched poor-man’s-Dalek-looking robots launch frisbees.
The blue shorts were gone, the shorts I wore to The Anchor Bar for my annual T.W.A. Whaleback and $1 pint of piss-beer. To my left sat a man in a cheap animal-skin vest, Starter athletic shorts, and Adrien Brody’s facial hair (Look what you’ve done, Macklemore, LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE!!). To my right, a pair of men were discussing nautical engineering. Outside The Anchor Bar, on both doors, were signs: “You must be 21 to enter.” Inside, the number of children running around, I’m surprised they didn’t have Nickelodeon playing on the big screen.
Superior, Wisc., ladies and gentlemen!
I won’t tell any stories about my underwear. Lots of sweat, let’s just leave it at that. Lots of sweat. Around me, the air in my house felt stagnant and hot. It wasn’t like the inside of a stove; rather, it was like the inside of a kitchen after the stove had been left on and open for a few hours. Again, lots of sweat.
The Air Force Ones hit the ground sole-first and made a hollow thud. The Forces were on my feet for my first taste of Gronk’s, for the Great Northern Radio Show, for both trips to Tower Avenue, and for both trips up the Lakewalk. As I sat on Lake Superior getting battered by restless waves, they got sopping wet and didn’t get really dry until Monday night.
I pulled out my blue polo and held that up. I had carefully fashioned it into a perfectly-oblong ball and thrown it precisely halfway between “between my jeans and unused dress shirt” and “under a magazine but covering my contact solution.” It looked like Weird Al tried to play it as an accordion. I wore this to Chisholm Tuesday night for “Karaoke with a Real Woodbury Guy.” Bullwinkle and I sang Katy Perry. Thor and I ran the beer pong table at Cheap Thrills. Seriously – if I double-layered this with the purple polo I wore to meet Rhubarbara, I could have probably been taken seriously as a brother at a UMD frat house.
It was getting tough to keep my eyes open, even the one being eaten by an amoeba. Smooth had crashed at her mother’s house; I was going to surprise her tonight, but the risk of falling asleep at the wheel outweighed the reward of waking her mother’s dog up and causing him to bark their whole neighborhood awake just to slur a “Hello” at her before passing out on the living room sofa.
The last things taken off were the T-shirt and shorts I wore for the trip home. The shorts were a brown-and-red plaid, and the shirt read “On your mark, get set, GLORY.” They were gently damp with sweat and the general grime of life. I crafted my clothing into the same elegant ball and hurled them into the hamper. Or maybe I just left them beside the hamper, the way Smooth hates. I can’t remember.
Anyway, let’s get me under some blankets so I’m not standing here in your head in just my boxers. I pulled the bedroom window open and hopped into bed. This was only half of my vacation, and probably not even half of this story, but it’s a good enough start I suppose.