Mulch, Ado, A Snout, Nothing (from the Waist Down)

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(Graphic: Never forget to visit your dressing room when you wake up in Marina City. Credit: Marina City Online.)

I held onto Ben Helpinghand’s beans for as long as I could. But what’s a boy with a balcony to do with a bag of bean seeds in search of a backyard? Pawn them off on Muir Woods, the accommodating owner of Marina Management, the independent apartment broker on the lobby level of the corncobs.

“They need a bean pole,” I told him yesterday as I handed him the little envelope of seeds. “Where would I have found one of those?”

Muir smirked as he responded. “I’ll do my best to find one for you up in Lakeview.”

“Say, when are you gonna ask me to blog for you?” I nudged. “You know, I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal this morning.”
___

I was lucky to wake up in time to respond to the email when it arrived mid-morning from a media reporter at the Journal. I’d been throwing myself pretty heavily into my new ChicagoNow citywide byline, CHICAGOSPHERE, and felt like I had slept for seconds when the always-unexpected banging from my upstairs neighbor, Mr. Shnozzle (suitably pseudonymed as a portmanteau of douche and nozzle), jarred me awake.

Sun streaming through my floor-to-ceiling windows, there was no further point in sleeping. I opened my laptop and immediately saw the new message:

“Hi Mike, I write about media here at the Wall Street Journal…”

There was more to the email, but I work in public relations. I know when your email has a first sentence like that, your phone better be in your hand before you reach the second one. Twenty minutes later and still not out of bed, I completed my first-ever interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The biggest questions were why I decided to write for ChicagoNow and whether there’s been any backlash from local bloggers to the Chicago Tribune‘s group blogging project. Both questions came down to a single answer: trust.

The Trib‘s longstanding outreach into the Windy City’s online community meant I knew the team members asking me to participate. Probably more importantly, it also meant I knew they were sincere. Besides, I’m a shameless self-promoter anyway (if you’re not going to have faith in yourself, why should anyone else?), so I know a good thing when one hits me over the head.

And some of traditional media types sniffed at @ColonelTribune
___

Pastry Chef Chris would call to sniff at me later in the day, in between bouts of coughing. My old beau’s new beau spent the weekend in the hospital with a high fever. The test results arrived back yesterday afternoon.

“Yep,” Chris said. “He’s got swine flu.”

“You don’t sound too good yourself,” I observed. “You’re not, like, growing a snout right now or anything, right?”

“No, but I just left the doctor’s office with ten days of meds,” Chris moaned. “And work said stay home for the ten days I’m taking them.”

“I hope you’re gonna be OK,” I told him.

“Don’t worry…” his words trailed off into a doubt-inspiring coughing fit.

“Hmm…I love you, don’t die,” I said half in jest.

“Anyway, I guess I have my answer now,” said Chris. “Since we shared enough spit for me to catch a virus, I guess he’s my boyfriend now.”

“Hey!” I brightened. “Can I live blog your illness?”

I heard his response in my head before I finished asking the question. “Don’t even think about it.”
___

I got a similar response the night before when I banged on my ceiling after Shnozzle’s nightly, 1:00 a.m. round of furniture assembly. He picked up what sounded like a miniature bookshelf and banged back.

“Listen, you fucker, we can do this all night if you want!” I yelled in vain through the five inches of concrete that separated us, realizing the use of fucker in a sentence meant that I’m now probably a Chicago lifer.

The next morning, after the Journal interview, I got dressed and headed out onto aforementioned balcony to make sense of my unexpected good media fortune. I was telling my regular railing pigeon, Greenie, all about it when my next-door neighbor, Mitchum Man, came out for a chat.

“That asshole is driving me crazy, too,” said Mitchum, disclosing his non-Chicago birth through his expletive of choice. “The next time he acts up, let’s you and me both go listen through his door and call the guards together.”

“I’m all for that,” I replied. “‘Cause the next step is fastening a subwoofer to my ceiling pointed up.”

“I hear you,” Mitchum said, as he made his way back inside his unit. The poor old guy must have been even more riled about Shnozzle than I was yesterday morning.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him he carried on our conversation naked from the waist down.

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