Posted in Chicago
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07/11 2014

several small things this summer in Chicago

2014-06-08 17.12.07I have a new bike.  It is a burnt orange, almost red, hybrid that is just my size.  Something is wrong with the left pedal, but I plan to take it to the shop where I bought it for a fix, maybe tomorrow.  There is no greater joy then biking the flat wide streets of Chicago at dusk, a breeze on my arms, my shadow growing and retreating as I pass under yellow street lights.  I can see lightening bugs and the deep green of the trees as this day and I inch toward night.  I bought the bike from a man on Lincoln Avenue who explained he was honest because he had been there for 40 years.  He said he knew what kind of bike a girl like me needed.  He gave me coffee and a cookie while he locked down the quick release tires and seat (no charge, because I was a dear).  I wonder how much longer I will get away with being called “girl.”

This apartment is a shameful display of my inability to move in to a place.  Why am I so slow to put things on the wall and buy bookshelves?  Instead there are stacks of homeless books on surfaces.  There is a vaguely neat collection of items for the walls that I have no idea what to do with or where to put, so the walls are naked.  There is a herd of suitcases that huddle in the corner of my bedroom.  They are aware I have no storage space but find comfort in the knowledge that I will soon drag them out, fill them, and put them in a taxi headed for the airport.

I read intently for hours on end.  I am drinking these stories deep, thinking about them when I run, and unwilling or uncaring about surfacing in the world that is outside the stories.  I focus intently on a word, I skip ahead, I flip back.  It is as though I’ve just discovered reading for the first time, and I am in love again.  I just read “Autobiography of Red” by Anne Carson and I want to write about it, but need to figure it out.  I am reading things three and four times now, then halfway through a book picking up another and starting from the middle.

I meet friends on rooftop bars and sidewalk cafes.  I am elated Chicago seems to be developing muscle at last with local brews, and cannot stop myself from repeatedly ordering the Revolution IPA.  I think that it would be nice to go the Revolution brewery but find I’m too lazy to leave the region.  Last week I laughed with friends over cheese and our shared misfit love lives.  Some friends from China visited last night and we went to a jazz club and they danced and smiled at each other, in love.

Every time I leave town I bring flowers to my neighbor.  This is not for the neighbor, but for the flowers.  I am now in the habit of buying fresh flowers for my table.  I understand this is not the environmentally conscious thing to do but I haven’t figured out how to put things on the wall yet, let alone where to put plants, so I’m buying flowers to keep me company while I work.  When I leave town, I can’t throw them away so I give them to the skinny man down the hall who seems to always be doing laundry.

Speaking of neighbors, there is a Thai woman on the floor below me who is in the habit of ordering large items online and then attempting to carry them two floors up, one step at a time.  I have carried boxes up for her three times now, and I can’t figure out if she has an immense amount of deliveries or if I happen to come through the door coincidentally every time she is dragging something up the steps.  She also has a dog who does not like me.

My niece is nearly 12.  An aging sign – I have joined the ranks of adults astonished at the rate that children grow, despite obvious evidence that time moves at the regular pace.  I still remember the message my mom sent me when Audrey was born.  I was on a train in Japan, headed to work and I read the email on my phone.  She was early.  I was pleased that she had been born in my year, the year of the horse.

This is my third move to Chicago in ten years.  I have no idea what happens next.

  • cmattick

    You should write a Netflix dramedy pilot based on Laundry-Man & Box-Lady.