Friday, July 06, 2007
I’ve been stateside for a week now. I miss Dora. But I am having a good time.
A flurry of events would best describe my time here so far. Last Friday I saw my brother Drew’s show down in Chicago. “Debbie Does Dallas, The Musical” I liked seeing Drew on stage again, and his girlfriend Steph was fun to see in the lead role - here’s the word I’m afraid to write – but… the show was not something I could rave about. While the performers clearly knew how to make their roles enjoyable, the writing and direction was choppy at best.
If you want to know the real drama you have to go behind the scenes. On Saturday one of the actresses was jacked up on something during the show, and when it came time for a fight between her and Debbie (as played by Steph) the drugged-up actress decided to throw real punches and then head-butt Steph. Steph ended up singing her final number with blood in her mouth.
I, however, was not there that night. I spent the weekend in the North Woods with Myles and my dad. The three of us drove up to Perry’s cabin, where we visited with friends, played sheepshead, hit the casino, swam in the pond (I love saying I ‘swam in the pond’), played washers, and told some great stories. My father finally cleared up the confusion Perry had sown by mis-telling the story of my family dog’s passing. Highway was not buried in our backyard because my dad thought the cremation was too expensive. How Perry ever constructed such a lame-ass ending speaks to how much poorly written television he must watch. My dad’s version was much truer to the real events, and it was considerably funnier. And, yes, Myles did get naked while we were Up North.
Since getting back from that I’ve helped to set off an impressive firework display in the name of Independence, I’ve visited with family and friends, and I hit Summerfest. I was pleasantly surprised at the good times to be had on the lakefront. The park was full of granola, Bob Weir, Rusted Root, Keller Williams, and that’s all you really need to bring out the crunchy side of southeast Wisconsin. After a night with those people, I have to say that they are a pleasant group to share space with. For instance, I tend to use “Excuse me” while shuttling beer through a crowd. This is mostly from my days as a waiter when I often needed a way to tell people to get out of my way. At the concerts last night, however, people took notice of the effort at etiquette. Three actually offered sincere “thank yous” when I said “Excuse me.” They actually stopped me and said how nice it was that I would say that. This is not the response you get at a Deep Purple concert in Budapest (yes I have been to a Deep Purple concert in Budapest). It is not a response you get very often at all. The feeling was very relaxed and free spirited. Lots of dancing. Lots of pot smoke. Lots of skipped showers. I enjoyed the crowd. Although, I eventually snuck off to watch some less-than-granola music. The band Spoon is more in line with what I listen to these days.
The past week has been great, but maybe more importantly it has helped me to define what it is I like about the States. It is not something we can export or enforce. It is not particularly American. It is the intangible something that hangs in the room when people with similar backgrounds and education, yet divergent views and tastes spend time together. Try as I may, that is not something I can get a lot of in Hungary. While I get just as much out of the time I spend with people who do not share my cultural mores, I did miss this feeling. It has been pleasant to wade in it for the past week.
Posted by Hogan Hayes