Last night my girlfriends and I went out to celebrate one of us completing the Bar Exam this week. It was not me. No, my week was dedicated to the relaunch of Thanks For Asking (yay!) and cursing the names of every Chicago homeowner who did not shovel their sidewalk. It was exactly the kind of food/drink fest someone needs after dedicating the better portion of the new year to studying law so complex and boring, it’s a miracle we humans even have the brain capacity to ingest this material for longer than thirty seconds. As her roommate, she would occasionally share a practice question with me and as she read it I would just lower my head and shake it in sympathy. The last time I took a legitimate test was probably high school considering my college education was basically a four year long venture into how I was feeling about my feelings. Even in high school the questions were like, “Does this flask help you make carbon?” And you just said yes or no. I don’t know. I don’t remember Chemistry that well. So out of the great respect I have for her and what she just went through, I drank my face off by her side. The night ended at a lovely local tourist trap, filled with men dressed like my father and women dancing like Oprah had just promised them a trip to the Four Seasons for a high class bikini wax. They were so happy. The Redhead Piano Bar is a great place to learn where I will be in my life in thirty years because I absolutely know it will be in that bar drinking vodka sodas until I forget about my wretched children who won’t even look up from the television when I come home from work. Other than that small insight, the place was gross and carpeted and I saw at least one man slip his ringed finger into his pocket while talking to my friend.
I did find myself longing to be in the position of the lounge singer, belting out classics from “Come To My Window” to “I Will Survive.” (Those are actually the only two songs I remember her singing.) For someone who spent the better half of the summer of 2001 singing along–loudly–to the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack and generally loses too many hours in the day pretending to be the featured artist at a major concert venue, I just think I could be really happy up there at the piano, taking requests, winking at all the men in light denim.
Before arriving at The Redhead Piano Bar, we enjoyed a nice dinner at Quartino, the perfect place for women to unleash their enormous appetites that are otherwise suppressed when googling recipes for brussels sprouts salads. We divided the bill by six and when the waiter came back with a hundred receipts for each of us, I explained to the table that everyone’s total should be $35 in order for our server to receive the proper tip. This confused some of us (one of us) which led to this receipt disaster:
At the time I thought this was the funniest thing I had ever seen (it’s not, really) and deemed it worthy of a pic uploaded onto Instagram. Which brings me to my point. 555 words later. I have recently added Instagram to my list of things that I would like to become better at. Also on that list is not ending sentences with prepositions. My reasons are two fold. 1. I am supremely jealous of people who photo-document their life because it naturally makes them look like they are having more fun than me and that gives me low self-esteem. 2. Instagram, like Twitter, is one of those of-the-moment phenomena that I’m sure if I were some kind of pop culture professor extraordinaire, I could better articulate its significance to our culture/generation. All I know is that I want in. I can’t have my grandchildren come to me in a hundred years, inquiring into the trends of early 21st century America, and reply, “I don’t know, guys. I never really figured that one out myself.”
The major problem here is that I have absolutely no idea how to use it. It wasn’t until a trip to San Francisco when I was looking over my sister’s shoulder, breathing on her neck, and saw that she was actually scrolling through her Instagram app that I even realized there was something to look at on there. I honestly thought it was just a place to take a photo and make it look like it was taken in the 1970s and you just smiled at it, content that it looked a little bit different than you’re regular boring photographs. I didn’t know you shared photos, and liked other people’s photos, and scrolled through this newsfeed of photographs after you were sufficiently bored with the nothing Facebook has to offer. I was so intrigued! When I got back to Chicago, I spent ten minutes trying to remember my username before successfully logging in and then froze in horror at what I had unknowingly shared so far. Among the photos in this limited/pathetic collection was a picture of my friend Daniel in the dark looking high on meth with the caption “Danny” and a picture of a polar bear with the caption “Polar bear!” There was one picture of my feet on my old work desk that I think I originally wanted to accompany with some sarcastic caption about not being at the beach on that summer day? My brow is furrowed in embarrassment as I type this. I deleted the foot picture because I just can’t have that be my legacy. The largest problem is that my pictures are so few and far between it’s the equivalent of your dad being on Facebook and the only update you have ever see on his profile is”Dad has joined Facebook.”
So I am a work in progress. I am taking note from my sister who among her top skills is an excellent photo-documenter. Much like the time she came over and taught me how to use Pinterest and I yelled at her until I found a recipe for something called Twix brownies, she is showing me by example how I can become a better Instagramer. I need to talk to her about hashtags because I don’t really get those either and hers are funny like “#slurpslurpslurp” under a picture of her boyfriend slurping noodles at a restaurant called Slurpies. But other people take pictures of stop signs and have hashtags like “#red #octagon #sign” so I’m not sure how literal or funny I’m supposed to be.
Feel free to look at my atrocious collection of 11 photographs, username catherineja. If you feel encouraged by this post’s promise of a greater presence with this app? site? tool? what do we call it? feel free to follow me as well. This morning I almost took a picture of my breakfast but I get the sense that the food shots are supposed to be more exciting than a bowl of Cheerios with bananas on top.
2013. It’s gonna be somethin’. And I’ll have the pictures to prove it.