Douglas Coupland,

Girlfriend in a Coma

Tour 1998
Day 15
Austin, Texas-Chicago

     Chicago looks so prosperous. I’ve noticed that regardless of which city you visit in the United States at the moment, the people always say, “We’re having a real boom in this area right now.” Nobody seems to understand that the whole country is booming. So then I tried to figure out a U.S. area that wasn’t booming, and the only place I could think of was in California–that stretch of La Cienega that goes from LAX up to Wilshire. It used to be as clean as a wedding cake, and now it looks like there’s a tire fire burning nearby.     I tried to visit the Art Institute of Chicago while talking to a reporter, but it was Freebie Tuesday and the place was crowded like a Wal-Mart and conversation was impossible. I got frustrated because no matter how hard I try when I’m on tour, it’s impossible to really see the city I’m visiting. It’s like the movie Groundhog Day. It’s like waking up to “I’ve Got You Babe” every morning for three weeks.      Well: The Germans have bought Random House. Hmmm. In the hotel elevator I heard these three guys from A GREAT BIG TECHNOLOGY & MEDIA COMPANY discussing their plans to buy Simon & Schuster, and I just about flipped it was so exciting. I mean, they were naming names and numbers, and they must have thought I was a yokel, because they totally ignored me and kept on blabbing. So it really is true: Loose lips sink ships.      The reading event at Barbara’s Books went well. I’m starting to get older people at readings now–50 and up. So that’s interesting.      Oh–back in Texas, all those fresh white T-shirts I bought at the Boston Gap got burned in the hotel suite’s mini-dryer. The timer switch was fried, and the shirts came out all … yellow. So it’s off to the Gap once more. In St. Louis tomorrow?