I’m stretching out, shoeless, on a sofa at the back of a fancy coffee shop. You know the place: the furniture is deliberately unmatched, there’s a chalkboard in the loo and the lamp to my right is inexplicably made out of cork. Aside from the two women to my left, who are thoughtfully conducting their conversation at a volume loud enough not to exclude anyone in the room, most people are quiet as they sit concentrating over glowing MacBooks. So as I guzzle down my unnaturally tall cup of English Breakfast tea (what will it take to stop people pouring the water in first?) this feels like an appropriate venue to confess that after years of merry isolationism, I’ve finally jumped ship and bought myself an iPhone.

You can only hold out against the tide for so long.

Aside from this development it’s been a quiet couple of weeks, with much binging on niche British documentaries (I, for one, am now a lot better informed about the inner workings of the Crown Prosecution Service) as we waited for some variant of either spring or summer (not fussy) to arrive. Two weekends ago, I saw Mai Dang Laodirected by one Marti Lyons and set during the overnight shift at a 24/7 fast food drive through. (Did you know that over 70% of US fast food revenue comes from drive throughs? No one else seems surprised by this fact, but if that sounds like the kind of number you want to have in your head, may I recommend The Rise and Fall of American Growth which I’ve just finished ploughing through.) Anyway, the play goes down a darkened Zimbardo-esque path of “what will people do once empowered to do it?” while remaining pretty funny – it got a little self-aware for me at points, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Randi’s mum has also been in town quite a bit, so we’ve had several good dinners out together, and we’ve also managed to catch-up with gone-but-never-forgotten Lauri after work one evening with Todd. Making belated use of a Christmas gift from Robert, Randi and I also dined at La Scarola, a place which always shows me a quite ridiculous (but very welcome) favouritism. The couple ahead of us were quoted a two-hour wait, but after spotting me, we were waved through to a table within five minutes. I wish I knew what has ever qualified me for this treatment, because then maybe I could replicate it elsewhere. (For the record, though, La Scarola is always delicious.)

Finally, last night we saw The Deltones at iO with Karol, which I’ve had on my list for a long time. One of iO’s regular shows, this is a completely improvised musical, and it’s predictably hilarious. Last night’s topic was EDM. Also very good was the regular improv warm-up act, Smokin’ Hot Dad, and I clearly need to do a better job of hustling for more visitors to Chicago so I can find more excuses to go.

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