Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I read in the Tribune: this will be the coldest Chicago Thanksgiving since 1956. That’s almost fifty years ago.

I took a walk by the lake today. Quiet, deserted. It was plenty windy already.

Chicago Nov 05 009
no swimming, no lifeguard, no kidding.

I began my adult life in Chicago. I moved here to go to grad school when I was 21. I had been hanging out in northern Italy for the late winter months just prior to this, living off of the remains of my au pair earnings. That in itself should tell you that I wasn’t ready to be an adult.

So how was it that two years later I was engaged to be married? Ah, love. And friendship.

Such different times! Everything about those days was different. I go inside a cafĂ© now to get warm. Cell phones, computers – newcomers here. Life-altering events.

Chicago Nov 05 008
evidence of displeasure

In a city I am always anxious to walk, to pace the blocks. And so I am out again in the evening. Lights are on, a handful of people out walking their dogs during these predinner hours. Quick steps. It’s cold.

Love. I see one dog turning around, wanting so much to engage another. Other forces (the owner) pull at him. He has to leave. The encounter could have been different. It wasn’t though.

Chicago Nov 05 011
the pull toward pleasure

mean streets

I used to live here, though on the south side. These streets were once my streets.

So I am back. My first twleve hours. Impressions? My mental notes include the following:

A long detour getting here because Golf Road was cordoned off for blocks. Something to do with a dead body.

A trip to the local Whole Foods (smirk noted, thanks) reveals the mark up on just about everything. Because, you know, it’s the city and people will pay.

I must remember to set the alarm at two hour intervals so that I can move the car. You are not allowed to do anything (eat, visit, have sex, take a nap -- just to give a few examples of potentially non-interruptable activities) for more than two hours at a time. Must move, must move, get up and get out of here, out you go! Switch places, musical parking places, what fun!

I'm watching the preciously lovely, Dickensian almost, view out the window at dawn, with the gentle snow lightly covering the buildings of the university across the street from where I’m staying …Only to pretty much have it melt on the hot urban sidewalk by the time I get out with the camera (to move the car, what else).

I do like cities! I do! Their grittiness challenges you to stay calm, unperturbed. Feet up, exhale.

Chicago Nov 05 002
(at dawn. note student-type pulling all-nighter with term paper)