He was bored, down and confused. His birthday was coming up and his ass was about to be totally whipped. So Nanga Fakir decided to travel.
It's funny how despite the fact that he is more interested in books than in people, traveling always cheers him up and clears up his mind. It probably makes him think that something is happening. Other things remain the same however. He does the exact same things on the road as he does off of it (reads books and comics, checks email, sleeps for twelve hours, coordinates with governments for world peace etc etc).
In particular, walking around new places aimlessly excites him the most. Does he observe the beauty (or the lack of it) of the new surroundings he's walking through? Not really. He's so self engrossed that all he can pay attention to is the pleasure of thinking the same things over and over again in an area that has a different shade of background noise than his usual haunts'. So is it the destination that holds his interest? No, it's the clichéd journey.
I bet if you deprive him of books, he'll get bored to death even on the sets of The Jerry Springer Show (which by the way, he totally hearts); and so it only made sense to see him pack Inside Mr Enderby and The Road as he decided to visit Chicago for pointless rides in the subway, pleasant and shivery random walks around Evanston and most importantly - free beers (for the sake of which he had to endure the company of an old woman who leaked mustard farts in fifteen minute cycles on the airplane).
The city welcomed him with open arms in the guise of a black beast-of-a-woman twice his size and thrice his age who promised to show him "a good time" (NF has never been more frightened).
Soon enough, putting the aforementioned traumatic experience behind him, he decided to visit an old schoolfriend who he considers to be among the few select humans in the epsilon neighborhood of his own smartness (Nanga Fakir thinks he's awesome but we know better, don't we?). The promise of free beers and a sailing expedition in Lake Michigan removed remnant hardwired traces of laziness and set his focus straight. He didn't yet know (he'd totally forgotten) that it was his birthday that very day and would be reminded of this late in the night well into his nth beer. Very characteristically, it would come across as a dumb shock as he would realize that he'd wasted one more year having learned nothing from life (or as some would say, the lack of it). Had it not been for the beer and the company, it would've meant one more pointless bout of bitter introspection.
The biggest discovery of the trip however (which has obviously got nothing to do with the trip per se) was Julia Wertz and her Fart Party. Nanga Fakir is always taken by surprise when he finds autobiographical accounts of insignificant humans totally engrossing. It was not for the artwork that he read Julia's comic. She didn't claim to offer any deep insights into the nature of things either. She was her usual, bitchy, whiny self with no pretenses and no illusions about what she was setting out to do. It must take an enormous amount of presumptuousness to post details about your life and expect junta to take an interest in it. It must take an obscene amount of courage also.
Here's NF's favorite post from the Fart Party - a terrific piece about cravings for solitude. Go Julia!
Part Two to follow up shortly.