roomie was out of town all weekend and i took the opportunity to catch up on sleep, read, attempt to buy a bed, got rejected because of weird credit, got depressed, bought a pair of shoes and comic books and then felt all better.
today was the kind of day i seldom take: slow, meandering. there was no point to this day. no meetings. no urgent appointments. no real schedule to keep. no one to answer to. that kind of untethered freedom is rare for me.
i showered and dressed slowly, pulling on a floaty sundress, and watched as my neighborhood came to halting life, pairs of neighbors shuffling down to the coffeehouse, jogging or walking their dogs. i listened to the cta bus rumble up to my corner and blow past. i caught my bus just as i made it across the street to the corner. everything going my way.
downtown, on the red line, i was stuffed in a train with cubs and brewers fans and even this did nothing to sour my mood. and the relief when the train emptied at addison - ah! heaven. is it cliche to say how good it felt to sit on the train in a window seat and feel the hot sun on your shoulders while the train rocked back and forth like a hand on a cradle? sometimes, the red line can be too gritty, filled with grizzled men who stare a little too long or wrigleyvillians who are too drunk and too loud to tolerate for very long. but this afternoon, the red line was perfectly empty (past addison) and i was able to fall in love with this city again.
in los angeles, the city passes in a blur of bland. it's the same stucco, palm trees or mock spanish villas. every corner has the same strip mall and they all seem to have an el pollo loco in it. but chicago on the el gives me the backside of the city - the porches, rooftops, soccer fields and the rare glimpses into city gardens tucked behind fences or at the end of streets with no exit. to see chicago's backyards and alleys is like waking up with someone and not minding their morning breath.
on bryn mawr, i walked west to clark and the walk made me wonder why i had moved from the northside. everything was so pretty, so feminine - the winking shadows, the warm red brick, the houses with their demure porches and shaded windows. (but then i thought about how long the train had been to get me up here and i remembered why i moved.)
i met my friend W- at m. henry and we had a long, slow gossip over brunch and a cold bottle of wine he'd brought. the silent crunchy couple sitting next to us sent us disapproving stares at some of our topics (i really don't think she liked W-'s story about being saran wrapped to a pole while his dom cattle prodded him) but that didn't stop me from enjoying his company. when the bottle was empty and there was nothing to do but settle our check, we strolled back down to GirlsTown and ate an ill-advised scoop of ice cream (we're both growing more lactose intolerant, the older we get) while sitting behind a tree (W- freckles) and watching the people parade.
after a couple of hours, i looked at my phone, caught the time and we hugged goodbye just as the clark bus appeared in the distance. passing wrigleyville after a game from the height and distance of a bus makes me think of wartime montages, like a scene from Saving Private Ryan: the soldiers are on a truck rumbling slowly through some bombed out town, staring silently at the carnage.
by the time i got home i was relaxed, tired, smelled of sun and diesel and sweat, with enough dairy and sugar coursing through me to fell an asian diabetic. i settled in to read my last comic book when my mobile buzzed. a text: 'we'll be at fresco in 10 min. come join us!'
i went into my bedroom to change into jeans. the sun had dipped lower and it was chilly out.
[edited because previous post sucked. this one is much better.]