Actually, it IS Rocket Science

Fried green disappointment

I moved to Chicago for two reasons:  because I was tired of living in Louisiana and because I saw my opportunity to get out like a hatch that was in the process of closing up like some sci-fi film and inherently knew if I didn’t GTFO right then that I would be doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a state that I was miserable in, or at least another several months.

I had lived in a northern state before.  I was born in Delaware and lived in Pennsylvania for a good part of my adolescence.  AND I had been in a band that visited Chicago in the winter, so I disregarded all the morbid soothsayers that professed my unavoidable doom upon moving up there.  Those of you who have ever experienced ANY extended period of time through Chicago winters will get a REAL kick out of what batshit amount of rationalizing I did with moving there that I’m about to provide:

I was positive (and holy crap I’m already laughing aloud) that because I had already lived in the upper northeast, that surely I couldn’t be that affected by some place that held such a wimpy title as “The Midwest.”



Like as if I were thinking on a linear scale.

I moved there in November, which meant I got there just in time for a front row seat to the most bizarr-o mindfucking winter I’d ever experienced.  I was living with my then boyfriend and another friend who was attending culinary school, and the three of us huddled together like the Donner Party early pioneers surviving the winter who never had any trouble with potential cannibalism.  My boyfriend actually got full-on NOSE BLEEDS from the weather.  Chicago winters don’t fuck around.

My mom would frequently call me and sort of poke fun at me for my decision, you know, because she’s crazy like that:

“Soooo, how’s the weather??

“Um… It’s fine.  We played in the snow the other day” (Which meant I slipped on black ice and busted my ASS on the sleet-covered concrete in front of hundreds of people.

“Uh-huuuuh.  Well that’s great.”


“I sent you some more thermal socks and hand warmers.”


Actually, in all honesty, as much as I despised it sometimes, living in Chicago was one of the greatest experiences of my life thus far, and I actually wouldn’t mind moving back one day.  I met some amazing people and got to partake in some of the most enjoyable activities that the city had to offer.  I also met The Most Brilliant Person Alive, who is still a source of unending hilarity for me.

But my attitude also swiftly changed as to how I perceived Chicago winters:

And then something completely strange happened.  I started to miss Louisiana.  No, I don’t mean I missed walking through so much humidity that it felt like paddling through leftover heated up cream-of-mushroom soup, but I missed my friends, my parents, the way that it was totally not frowned upon to drink a beer while walking down the street, and the food.  Oh my god. The FOOD.  Granted, Chicago has some gastronomic enterprises that they’re famous for, but if I can’t find a goddam bag of boiled crawfish within a 6 month period, someone’s gonna bleed.

So I did the next best thing.  I improvised as best I could. Being that it was the winter, and practically nothing is in season when you live in an arctic tundra, I walked through the produce section at my grocery store and discovered a huge batch of unripened tomatoes.

You know where this is going.

I slung my sack of green tomatoes onto the kitchen counter and pulled out the cornmeal and oil.  SOMEONE was smart enough to purchase remoulade for my grocery store too.  If there’s a patron saint of remoulade, I might reconsider my abandonment of late night prayers.

It had snowed that afternoon which meant an added level of awfulness to your commute home.  The boyfriend had spent a really long day at work already, so he decided to take a nap while I fried up some nostalgic bliss.  I really don’t fry that much because I’m just not that familiar with it, and any time I’ve tried before I’ve wound up with little grease spitfire marks on my arms.  I would have asked the obvious expert in the house, but he was out doing some culinary learning and bettering of himself.  Tool.

I slung my battered tomato slenders into the oil and waited.  And waited.  They weren’t browning up.  I waited a few more moments. Nothing.  Maybe the heat was on too low.  I cranked it.

Have you ever been in the middle of a really deep sleep when your alarm goes off?  It’s jarring, right?  It kind of feels like that moment when you’re on a roller coaster and the bottom drops out from under you.

Isn’t that how you would react to unexpectedly hearing the fire alarm go off??

I really didn’t think the smoke levels had gotten that bad.  Which meant that I almost flatlined when the fire alarm, which was situated directly above my head about 10 feet up was blaring louder than I had ever heard before.  And I immediately had one idea in mind:  Shut that goddam thing off and hope it didn’t wake the boyfriend.  But remember a few moments ago where I mentioned the alarm was 10 feet vertical from the ground?

Eh.  That didn’t work out so well.

BF came barreling through into the kitchen with lunatic eyes.  The fella holds about a half foot of height over me, which he then used to reverse slam-dunk the device and lift it off it’s holster.  But our tribulation didn’t end there, because the battery was still in and the thing was now SCREAMING at us from his hand.

I’m assuming he was still in a sleepy haze, because what he then proceeded to do next was not remove the battery, but instead throw open the back door and hurl the thing as far as he could into the snow.

“Should we go get it?”

“I’m not messing with it until it shuts itself up and learns to behave.”

And I returned to my tomatoes, which were pretty much all carbon by then.


So the next day, we were moving around the apartment, acting like nothing had happened the night before; I hadn’t almost burned the house down and he hadn’t thrown the one signifier that we might have been in trouble out the back door, and worse, that we didn’t even get to reap the benefits of our little event, when our landlord, who lived two flights above us, poked his head in and asked, “Hey, is this yours?  I found it outside; it was going off for a while last night.”

And we answered as best we could.  We improvised. “Man, how’d that get there?”


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. pickles « Actually, it IS Rocket Science pingbacked on 7 years, 1 month ago


  1. * the handsome sailor says:

    I once smashed my annoying smoke alarm with a hammer. But I began to regret my hasty action almost immediately, when i discovered the “DANGER: RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL” sticker on the inside.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 4 months ago
    • haha! I love those “YEAH, vindication!…Ohshit. Walk away like nothing happened” moments

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 3 months ago
  2. * perpetualnervousness says:

    I didn’t know you were born in Delaware! So cool. (Yes, I like Delaware.)
    Also, here’s a great Louisiana song –

    take this blanket offa me.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 4 months ago
    • Oh, I could never argue with TMBG. Those guys are some talented jerks. I don’t mean they’re actual jerks. I just mean that listening to their amount of talent makes me actually mad with jealousy, and I simply can’t justify being mad with anyone who’s not a jerk. So now you understand a little more about why I’m a crazy person.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 3 months ago
      • * perpetualnervousness says:

        ha! that really made me laugh. although you’re quite the talented jerk yourself, considering that I listened to your former band’s albums on a loop for 3 months straight. 😉

        Posted 7 years, 3 months ago

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