I Can’t Believe It’s Not Carly

I think what I like best about Carly is that she rarely asks me to do shit for her. And when she does ask me to do something for her, it’s really that she wants me to do something with her.

Things like:

  • going to the movies to drink giant sodas and eat too much popcorn
  • stuffing our faces at:
    • the Wendy’s on Ashland near Fullerton, or;
    • Aloha Eats in Lincoln Park, or;
    • the sketchy Chinese buffet on Belmont, or;
    • Uncle Mike’s (FILIPINO BREAKFAST OMG) on Grand near Paulina
  • reading at live lit shows
  • acting the fool and singing karaoke at her birthday parties

But for this week and the coming weeks I’ll be doing something for her but not with her. I’ll be filling in for her here on the blog and at the Miss Spoken monthly shows at Gallery Cabaret while she is on maternity leave.

Just call me the substitute Carly. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Carly. Crouching Jasmine, Hidden Carly. Carly & Me.

In the history of things that I’ve been asked to do by Carly, blogging for and hosting Miss Spoken is awesome and only slightly terrifying. I like to think that she only asks me to do things that she thinks I would enjoy and, more importantly, would not screw up. I’ve said no to Carly before, and I’m sure I will again, but I couldn’t do it, not this time. And I always have feelings of regret when I do say no.

Sometimes those feelings of regret come with a little puke.

Allow me to explain.

A few years ago I had one of those Saturdays that was just about perfect. I spent the morning in a state of indolence, watching “The Real Housewives of Miami”. Eventually I left the house, remembering to put on pants, and met my friend Leah for a late lunch. After lunch, we walked to the closing Borders on Clark & Diversey (RIP) where we cruised the bare shelves and talked about dudes on OKCupid.

It was great.

After that, all I had left to do was hustle up to Andersonville for a few drinks with Li, who was in town visiting from her new home in the Netherlands, then get down to Wicker Park for Carly’s birthday party. I made it up to Andersonville just fine, but the prospect of taking two buses to Wicker was daunting. I was unemployed at the time, so I didn’t want to spend money on a cab. The idea of celebrating a birthday when I was super bummed about being out of work, and with a birthday of my own in mere days, made me feel tired and maybe a little sad, or maybe that was the beer I drank at Simon’s. In any case, I didn’t think I’d be great company for Carly, so I bailed. I’m not even sure I texted Carly to apologize.

I decided to end my night by eating my feelings at The Golden Nugget.

The meal itself was uneventful. I largely had the place to myself as it wasn’t late enough for the restaurant to be full of people kicked out of bars after closing. I enjoyed chicken soup and a chicken fried steak and as many refills of my soda as I could take.

I was having a good time, alternating between feeling sorry for myself and feeling satisfied after the chicken soup. It was fine until a young woman sitting at the booth in front of mine, having ordered the taco salad, leaned to her right, out of the booth, and vomited quietly onto the floor.

As I was face deep in a pile of mashed potatoes, I didn’t even notice what was happening. Not at first, anyway. I thought the splashing sound was from a large pitcher of something being poured sloppily. It sounded like a pitcher of iced tea that had things in it. Like maybe too many slices of lemon. It was so quiet as she threw up. The young lady, her long black hair hanging down so I couldn’t see her face, had vomited what looked like seafood gumbo onto the tile. The other girl in the group stroked her back while the guy with them attempted to look mortified when somebody arrived with a mop and bucket to clean up the mess.

Even though I’d just gotten a fresh soda, and my coffee cup was full, and the contents of her stomach that now lay on the floor hadn’t yet begun to smell, I got up, put on my coat, paid the check, and made my way home.

On the walk back to my apartment, I wondered if this was a story worth telling Carly when I emailed to apologize for not showing up for her birthday.

I’m not crazy about it when people decline an invitation then spend a gazillion words telling me why they can’t come. And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. Unless there’s an emergency, like you’re trapped under a fallen piece of furniture, or that Lifetime TV movie you saw that one time when it aired in 2006 is showing again and you have to watch it because you refuse to get a DVR, I don’t really care that you can’t come to my 80’s themed Valentine’s Day party for which I made tiny Pac-Man cupcakes for each of my guests. Take that shit to 911.

And please don’t tell me about your friend who’s visiting from out of town unless that friend happens to be one of my celebrity crushes in which case all will be forgiven as long as your celebrity friend would be willing to lie down on top of me in a sensual fashion.

I think I ultimately decided it wasn’t worth bothering Carly about my shitty feelings getting in the way of me doing my job as her friend and showing up. I don’t remember if I did give her an excuse or not. But Carly was a good friend, and is a good friend, so I know that whatever I tell her, no matter how much or how little, she’d totally understand.



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