I hated this winter.
I hated this fucking winter.
On the plus side, I was working out more. I needed to make an outfit for Mardi Gras and finish my book. Onward and upward.
Mostly, I desperately wanted to be able to walk outside for extended periods of time without feeling like I was going to die of exposure, which was what the current weather made it feel like. It also made me feel so unbearably trapped. And I hated anything that made me feel trapped.
This was the largest problem with this winter so far. I will be quite pleased when it is over. In the meantime I was preparing to stand on the street in the cold on Saturday and hopefully get half naked and warm Saturday night.
Also, I needed to make plans for Friday.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
I hated this winter.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
I admit, once I commit to something I find it hard to stop. So, hey, go watch this. It's entertaining and I have a German fetish. Two birds!
I swear, half of this is ripped off of this. Still worth it. And somehow wildly entertaining.
But fails to be this.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Coming soon: interesting things, sexy times.
While forcing myself to write for a month seemed like a good idea the time, the fact that this month tended to have a lot of depression in general, particularly this year, had made the exercise less than positive.
Ergo, I am suspending said exercise.
Friday I shall go gay bar hopping, dancing, skirt chasing and planning for fun.
Saturday I shall go to Chiditarod and Mardi Gras. In short, the future is looking brighter, but at the moment I am still contemplating the past. So, a pause. Shortly, there will be pictures, photo-whoring, corsets, and amusement.
I was working on the depression; this month had always been hard for me, but for some reason it had been quite difficult this year and I just needed to stop trying to find ways to express myself when I didn't have good things to express.
Now, excuse me. I'm going to go enjoy more wine and sleep.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Saturday, February 22, 2014
I made polite conversation over food with the one I love. My love felt like a chore in the moment. I was unhappy. With myself, with my life.
Honestly I asked myself, "And if you were in Korea what would you be doing now?"
I hated this interminable depression. I wanted to break it over my knee and throw it into the woods; away, gone, over.
The sun rose earlier in the morning and pulled me with it, separated me more. I had accomplished nothing, yet everything seemed possible.
Friday, February 21, 2014
It was the fourth weekend in a row I had spent in this house alone, isolated, cut off. Becoming so cut off I wilted. I didn't know how much longer I could stand it.
"Maybe you need domestication," someone once suggested to me.
Domestication would be the death of me. There was a deep-seated need in meto be wild and free. To have freedom.
"I don't want you to compromise for me," he said.
My head told me I was not compromising for him.
My heart told me I was compromising for love of all things. Love of him, of her, of my life beyond these walls. The interminable darkness and cold was only driving me further into myself when what I needed was to get out, out, out. There was no longer any discovery in these words. Writing was a drudgery. I needed to do something.
Little things, here and there, but nothing. I was losing who I am.
"You have a great desire to overcome," my analyst said to me.The last three weeks of my analysis had been spent in the catacombs of my mind. I needed something different. New stories. More interesting tales.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
I shouldn't have read my past.
There was no insight into the future there, only dark tunnels of memory. Only sometimes I would drawn in. Down the rabbit whole.
I missed the Irish.
My life, my loves.
Maybe nothing and everything at once. That was what life is. Learning to know that there was never a past and the future would be never anything more than speculation.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Someone contacted me today about one of the people I lost last year. It wasn't enough that it seemed like everything around me was dying for awhile, I still had strangers asking me what to do, what do know, what to say, and what to send.
I had no answers.
All I knew was that I was officially six years older than I ever thought I would live to be. While my thoughts were dark, there was no longer the desperate, desperate wish to simply die. My life, while not what I wanted it to be was also not something I wanted to end.
Lately I consoled myself with books. I was reading almost at my old speed-reading speed, consuming hundreds of pages in hours. There was something oddly calming about watching words fly by on the page. This brought more ease to me than my own words.
Inside me, somewhere was a creature who wanted to write, and write, and write. Lately she has been in a box, with walls all around her, and she could not get out. It was its own kind of writer's block.
Words were forced out so that they did not stay in, yet somehow I didn't know if anything was really getting where it needed to be. My friend was gone, and her ashes were scattered about by people who did not care for her. I mourned for her less publicly because unlike Cate, she did not want to be in front of the world. Her loss still hurt me.
Now there was a weight I felt of ashes and strangers.
At least this was forward movement. I had the drive to not get stuck. To not wallow. To not drown. If nothing else at least I had goals. The box that walled me up would not block me forever and the words would flow more easily soon.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
It seemed just like constantly pointless travel, going to and from and to again. I thought of my lost loves in my lost lands.
I felt lost.
I needed to do something, some escape soon. I was like a trapped thing caged, wound, straining against the bars.
I kept looking out into the vast city and wondered if I was alone in this.
City, huge, full of people, and all of us were trapped in our small little cages that became a void-space where once something else existed. Days were full of excessive fretting on mundanities.
There had to be more than this; it was just a question of how long it would take me to get there.
Monday, February 17, 2014
The feeling of being trapped without my life was only increased by the weather. The constant pulsing, winter season that had trapped everything under a white blanket of cold and frost. One of the most exciting things I'd done in days was shovel down the walkway to my house to remove the snow to the point where it was possible to actually walk without slipping on snow.
Today the weather kicked up a wicked wind and six new inches. The path that had been so meticulously shoveled a day ago was buried again. It was like a metaphor for my hopes of escape: every time I thought I had managed to dig my way out, it was back again.
I needed something to do. Some way to feel anything else except the oppressiveness of this winter season. I dreamed of snow, I waded and swam through it. It was in the air I breathe and in the music I listened to, to the point where it seemed like there was nothing but constant, constant winter and little else.
To think it was hardly a few months ago that I lay practically naked in bed with my lady love listening to the ocean through an open window. The sound of the snow plows going by again added to my feeling of oppression. I needed something better to write about.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
"Masochism. What of masochism? The tortures I suffered from Henry's early promiscuity, his stories of going from me to a whore, but that was not deliberate cruelty, and soon he changed. Yes. I suffered, but mostly through my concept of love to sacrifice. My lovers did not betray me. they ere childlike, selfish, narcissistic, unconscious, irresponsible, but not sadistic. I suffered mostly from jealously (without cause) and excessive self-denial. Too great. All that I needed, I gave away, even the essentials...I dream of voyages, new lives, new relationships..."
I had been reading a lot of Nin lately. I read her when sometimes I felt isolated, without understanding. The one thing I knew from Nin was that nothing I was doing was really new. My life was not a repetition of hers, either. My loves were different. My entanglements were my own. However, there was some simpatico there. I understood how she sought to understand them all and sometimes her wanderings felt so familiar.Anais Nin
Lately I thought that what I needed more than anything else was a new lover, and yet there was no potential here. Perhaps this was my reaction to not being an expat, that I was just shutting down, not allowing myself to do those things that I might otherwise do.
My time was spent trying to connect here, while trying desperately not to remember all those desires that I so desperately missed. Life.
Life was nothing but winter ice, and snow. I had been trapped inside my home and head for three days. I wanted to claw myself out of this cage. The bars did nothing but grow thicker. There was nothing but tomorrows and tomorrow I did not even know where to begin, or how to start.
I needed something more.
I missed it.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
I hated automated messages, but what I hate even more were automated messages you had to talk at, which did nothing but exacerbate the problem. It was bad enough already that I had to call you to report a problem, but when I then called to report a problem and had to respond pleasantly to the ever-so-pleasant phone voice on the other end, it was just a hop, skip and a jump away from me being stabby.
This morning I played auto-message jump with who I am going to call Greg, the automated voice responder for a major telecom company.
Greg had a pleasant and cherry voice. He wanted you to know that talking to him was okay. That he knew you might have a problem and that he was happy to be here to help. Greg's voice exuded warmth and friendship. His dulcet tones inspired the most mellow and easing of feelings, because, now, here, in this moment, you had Greg and he was going to walk you through whatever problems you were having.
Greg asked "What is your problem related to, say…" And then started giving you things to say into your phone.
When Greg didn't understand he practiced good listening skills by saying"I'm sorry, I think you said - is that right?" Somewhere, someone had taught Greg a few different tag questions and he used them all very well. If he really couldn't understand he was all happy to say "I'm sorry. I didn't understand. Can you repeat that?"
Greg was all about getting to the bottom of my problems. His voice was calm and even throughout. Unlike my voice. The more time I spent on the phone trying to tell Greg my problem, rather than just selecting a number from a drop-down list and punching it in, I got a little more stabby.
"No. I said NO! NO! FUCK JUST FUCK YOU FUCK!"
"I'm sorry. I didn't understand. Did you mean -"
"No, you fucking cock sucker I did not mean - Human. I want to talk to a human. Human. Operater. Fuck. AHHHH!"
"Did you mean 'home'?"
"No, human, fuck you let me talk to a human."
It went on this way for almost forty minutes with me getting more pissed off while Greg (ever calm) tried carefully to repeat back to me what he thought I was saying so that he could help me solve all my problems.
"Did you try restarting you router?" Greg asked pleasantly.
"Do you think I could be spending twenty fucking minutes on the phone talking with you if I hadn't already done that you fucking asshole?"
"I'm sorry. I didn't quite catch that. Did you say 'no'?"
I believe that Greg had been programmed with one singular purpose and one purpose alone. To dissuade anyone from actually completing a conversation and get people off the phone before it actually cost the giant telecom company money via the employ of a live human person to actually talk to you. As I grew more and more enraged at this stupid phone voice I had to remind myself that eventually I was going to have to talk to a human and I might, maybe, want to calm down.
Finally, when I was just about ready to throw my phone across the room, I got a human.
"Hi, I’m Sara and I'm really pissed off. Your automated message service had utterly enraged me and it may take a few minutes for me to calm down."
"Thank you, ma'am. Yes, I understand completely. We have to use that automated service when we call through to other departments and sometimes I start to see red before I even manage to get through."
It was like we are kindred spirits.
Perhaps this was Greg's purpose. He made everyone so angry that in the end you were able to commiserate in your hatred of said enraging animated voice, making it easier to get the problem taken care of. Perhaps this was some sort of ingenious invention of a bored Customer Relations VP. The positive effect of having a real live human to talk to was so overwhelming fantastic that was almost orgasmic; to have a response that was in no way scripted.
Rather, I thought though, that the real reason was to temper a deep-seated post-traumatic response to calling customer service. Already I felt I would rather spend an afternoon rocking back and forth in a dark closet than calling and trying to walk through the almost labyrinthine redundancy that was the voice call-in menu.
You won this round, Greg; you won this round.
Friday, February 14, 2014
In spring flowers will drive me batty, my allergies popping.
With the winter cold, though, it matters not.
My love gave me flowers. I thought about flowers and how they linked to my past.
Walking home once from Seoul with flowers in my backpack, a gift from my beautiful lady love. Purple flowers bouncing along with my hair as I bounced toward home.
Buying flowers for girls to cheer them.
Valentine's Day flowers.
Holidays, just days, sometimes all days.
I liked getting them and I liked giving them. There was something about flowers that just hit intrinsically into some part of my nature and made me happy.
And I liked spreading happiness around.
Today was a good day. I hoped tomorrow would be as well.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
I’d been listening to radio in the morning as I prepared to take the most demanding daily commute daily into the. The commute was to be damned because no amount of gerrymandering could ever seem to sort it out. One day the train was fifteen minutes early, the next fifteen minutes late.
Yesterday I stood on the platform and they announced the following:
The Westbound train is running twenty to thirty minutes late due to signal trouble on the train.
The Eastbound train is indefinitely delayed.
Meaning being even if I could get into the city I might never get out again. I couldn’t help but to think that it really was as if somewhere Kafka was narrating the winter commute in the city. My commute had quickly lost what little humor it had.
In the meantime, I listened to the radio in the morning as I prepared for the job, for the trundle. I sat by my computer and prepared to head toward whatever fresh hell had been introduced into my commute for this morning and listened. Most of the time whatever I'd heard about in the mornings was not worth commenting on, usually because I felt so powerless. Syria continued to go to hell and our government will never interfere because they can’t afford to lose a base that is precipitously close in the Balkins; North Korea and South Korea were having their usual spring tiff, the weather sucked everywhere, taxes, health care, life death. I filtered it all in, listening, sometimes better than others. A few days ago my love had to turn off the radio when a regular features (The Sharing of Lives) decided to focus on abduction and forced sexual slavery. He knew me well enough to know that this was not acceptable morning listening and could well throw me off for an entire day.
The Boy got ready; I listened to the radio. The funniest things sometimes will stick in my head from the listening. This morning it was a set on New York fashion week which was wrapping up. The exchange was something like this.
“What can we expect from this year’s show?”
“Oh, well, it will be very good for women this year.”
“Why is that?”
“Well, all the designers have really loosened up the clothes. One designers has designed big puffy sweaters and skirts. Another has nice dresses that don’t cling to every single bit of skin.”
“Oh, that will be very nice. Freeing, all that room to breathe.”
On one level, I understood that the exchange seemed so mundane as to jump of the cliff into obscure banality; however, it just struck me for some reason. Was the entire nation so terribly enslaved to what these fashion designers present that they couldn't for a moment figure out how to wear comfortable clothes if they are not “in”?
There was a lot to that; the entire hipster movement was surly a comment on this. The seriously scary trend among some teens to have a “thigh gap” (being so skinny that your thighs don’t touch) was a good sign; the kind of anorexia that hasn’t been seen since the late sixties was suddenly going to be “in” again.
None of this was why it struck me though.
All I could think, as I stood there, coat in hand getting ready for commute was “Thank the merry goddess I make my own clothing, because that is some stupid shit.”
My life, seven a.m. Deep thoughts. Fashionable thinking.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
After the Suns concert it was hardly 24 hours before I was at yet another show. This one started with a wonderful dinner in Lincoln Square, a place I had been before. The food was good, and the waiter met all of the classic requirements of Scott Thompson's Gay Waiter character. He was perfect, brusque, just on the edge of rude without being rude, and of course, recommended awesome food.
The food was exquisite and was followed by a show that was worth every cent spent. While I had seen Iron and Wine late last year, the show was sort of strange. It was Iron and Wine, but it was also Iron and Wine with a full back-up ensemble that sort of eerily overshadowed him as a singer. As the show went on he sort of slowly dissolved the band until there was only him and the guitar, and that was honestly the best part of the show before the band built back up again.
So when I learned that Old Town was having Iron and Wine again, one show in which he would be performing entirely solo, it seemed liked a good idea to get tickets with the Bard and the Electrician and strong arm everyone into going. Success on my part.
Iron and Wine is a great musician live with a band, but his element is him, alone, on stage, singing. This show, this quiet fundraiser for the Old Town School, was a perfect example of what he could do alone with his guitar.
It was perfect, quiet, wonderful, and I enjoyed it.
Monday, February 10, 2014
I was bitter about how cold it has been this winter. I could not stop thinking about it.
The cold drained something from me, made all my experiences static and kept me from moving forward somehow. I tried to find ways to cope with it, but there seemed to be no way to cope with it. It chased me away from shows and left me trapped in my house if only because in my house I could be warm.
Perhaps I had been sick. I hadn't been sleeping. My dreams were haunted by my past. I felt lost and without connection to myself or anything around me one minute. The next I felt as if I was nesting in hopes that soon, soon, soon, it will pass.
There was something so within about this winter. I wanted to escape from here, find some warm sunshiny place and go there and be free of it. The constant cold was an affliction of tired that I would not previously have allowed to have pushed me so far into a shell.
I was becoming isolated here. Quite. Alone.
None of these things were good. Plans.
Thank the merry gods I was going to go to Hawaii to meet my beautiful love. The Artist would most definitely warm my bones. So would bloody Hawaii.
Sunday, February 09, 2014
I am a fangril, it's true.
Not even having another person to hang out with would have a serious impact on the ridiculous amount of fangirl I could put out. I was there to see one bad in particular. I was excited to see exactly one band and this was the only band that mattered.
This band was one that I discovered in January of 2011, when life was slightly different than now. At the time I was working in Korea, working at a specific site with my own apartment and spending much of my free time enjoying carbs and visiting with the Irish and the appointed lady love at the time.
What a difference time made. Now, in January slightly three years later, I had lost both friends, moved back to Chicago, and felt constantly adrift between worlds. But the music went on.
The music didn't change. At least this was the comfort that I tried to offer myself as I stood with strangers who were now friends for the evening waiting for the band that I most desperately wanted to see.
All things change.
Wedding Dress was lovely if a bit too much on the hipster side for my tastes. Secret Colours were absolutely perfect and exactly what I wanted. This show would finish with the Suns, who were opening for the headliner Carbon Tigers. I can say, on reflection that the Carbon Tigers were very good. The reality, was though, that their performance was entirely overshadowed by the melancholy dark-rock beauty that is the Suns.
I was in love with voices and lead singers, and the Suns were no exception for that. The lead singer had this voice that managed to express so many feelings and emotions that I just wanted to drown in it. The lyrics spoke not only of heartbreak but heartmending the relationships between people; the passage of time and change, but also just a general reflection on the ennui of engagement at all. I adored it.
I was surprised when the band took the stage to see just how much the Suns had changed from the first time I had seen them, in the winter of 2011. Then I had caught a set they were closing for Bailiff, a very good Chicago band, but no Suns. At the time the band had two EPs, two drummers, and three guitarists. It was a big band, but a very good band, and the only thing that left me disappointed was the fact that the set had only been a half hour long.
Now, as they set up they were still with the guitars, but only one drummer among them. A sort of sadness set it, as they did things with drums that needed to be done, and things you could really only get when you had two extremely gifted drummers banging about on stage together. This, however mattered not. The lead singer, who a few years ago was muscular and bulky with short hair and clean shaven, was now a bit leaner, with a full beard, and longer hair. This was more a sign of the current times, fashion trends, and being within it.
The music, however, had not changed. The music was perfect. They preformed with the exact amount of fire and passion that their music required, and that voice. That voice was unmistakably exactly what was called for; lifting refrains up and down, dragging his listeners through a tract of melancholy before bring it forward and up again and giving a momentary glimpse of happiness and comfort before bringing it down again.
I was over the moon; I called out songs I knew they would not play but that I desperately wanted to hear live. One of the guitarists heard me shouting and smiled a most singular and coy smile. The smile of someone who knows that there is a fan, and is amused to realize that there is a fan all at the same time.
The set was perfect. Afterward as I stood drinking and talking I saw the lead singer on the floor behind me drinking and talking as the Carbon Tigers set up, and I couldn't help myself. In my most hilarious fangirl I launched myself at him and fawned over all the albums. I explained how I listened, how I had seen them before, how much they meant to me. And of course, I asked him to take a picture with me. At least I didn't ask him to sign my chest.
My fangirl, once unleashed, know no boundaries; but she could still—occasionally—be controlled.
I had a great deal of fun. I listened to Carbon Tigers while drinking and talking with Mr. Snowflake, but my night could not have been more perfect. We closed the bar at 2 a.m. and then wondered off into the cold night to work our ways towards our various sleeping places on all the different sides of Chicago.
Saturday, February 08, 2014
The EpicTonic Freeze Festival. How appropriate when thinking about just how cold it had been in Chicago. I showed up more than in time for the bands and amused myself with a single drink that I planned to nurse for most the night. I waited and had good luck talking to a couple at the bar.
Talking to people in bars in Chicago was very different from talking to people in expat bars. In expat bars you had an instant in. "You're not from around here." It was perfect. No one was from around here. It was beautiful. It made it so easy to connect. In Chicago, everyone was basically from Chicago and I had yet to figure out what to talk about that allowed me to make a connection that didn't begin with "I was in Korea." I really tried not to do that anymore, which left me with a very limited repertoire of conversation. Somehow though, I managed to click with the people near my bar and we talked about the bands that were familiar to everyone. Most people were there for Carbon Tigers. I was there for the Suns.
I did love The Suns. As "Wedding Dress" came on I happily stood there and rocked out. They were good, had nice stage presence, and were happy to let me take pictures. Oh, happiness and new camera. Indulge me while I post many pictures.
Friday, February 07, 2014
The EpicTonic Freeze festival had a magical lineup and was going on for two days. I’d picked up on it but was trying to talk myself both in and out of going. However, the thousand feet of snow we had in Chicago was starting to really hit all my cabin fever buttons and I NEEDED to get out of the house, so I bought two tickets and asked a boy I’d met in the dungeon if he had plans and might want to join me.
My meeting with him had been amusing, as I was at the dungeon after having seen a lovely little play by HP Lovecraft, with the intention being to potential play a scene out with the person who had invited me to the play. I haven’t been to a stage show in so long, even though I had tried and tried. I think the last was ages ago with a friend in Daegu who was putting on a show, which I think was called…dammit something Dark. I’ll have to ask. It was a good show and they had worked hard on it, the Daegu theater troupe. Later I tried on three separate occasions to see the troupe and always, to my irritation, managed to fail. Once when the friend was acting in it again, and twice when different friends were taking part. Eventually I gave up, realizing that if my schedule was not consistent enough for me to get tickets I was out of luck.
The play in Chicago was put on by a small troupe called the WildClaw theater, doing a recreation of a short Lovecraft story called "The Shadow over Innsmouth." Being me, I read the story in basically one day before the show. The story was interesting, with all the essential Lovecraft elements including Chthulu. The show as an adaptation was brilliantly done and managed to by engaging enough that one failed to recall that it was essentially a supernatural terror. It become something a bit more, a discussion of value, society, and how we engage. It was good. My dates for the play were also my ticket into the dungeon, where I met the most mysterious Mr. Snowflake.
Talking with Snowflake we shared our stories. We bonded almost instantly, as our storytelling took place always in more than one language and for some reason, that was a soft spot in my heart. He listened to my ramblings in Korean, Spanish, and German (all badly), and I listened to his in Russian, just as fun and surely just as weird as mine. Since I was not strong in Russian, and he wasn't strong on my languages, all things worked out really well and we exchanged numbers.
Having tickets with no plan for a partner in crime, I offered to him a no-strings, show-up-if-you-want ticket. Either way, I was going to a show.
Thursday, February 06, 2014
Sometimes things are not linear. I think about past events and write them. Then I have to stop and have a thought.
Not everyone will always like us or interpret our actions honorably. Their reflections of us are like those in a fun house mirror. Always with distortions.
Some distort us and make us more fantastically wonderful than we could ever be in life.
Others see us as monsters.
We are the only people who can reflect ourselves as we truly are, and yet even our own interpretation can be muddied by the interactions of our lives.
I distort my reflection.
I distort the reflections of my friends.
I put people on pedestals when they would rather be on the ground with me. I miss who I have lost. I think, too, that those who have lost me miss me.
There is no in-between though, or way back. Only forward. New mirrors. New reflections.
Wednesday, February 05, 2014
We struck up a conversation about how the winter in Chicago had been wild. We talked about life and travel, and how our jobs kept us on the road. She reminded me of the Australian, who I had not heard from in years, but who sometimes still haunted my dreams.
It was strange, when I thought about Korea, about how I missed it. I had so many friends, so many loves, so many losses there. Over the years I was used to two-year friendships that were so deep and binding I would not want to imagine what it would be like when they were over, and yet, at the same time I always knew they would be over. But then, all friendships were their own amount of pain. My endings were less finite than most others, as I was always happy to see those people I care about again, even when there was still a desperate hurt that goes along with it.
There was a time when it was easy to meet people. Then hard again. Then easy. It seemed lately I was doing better at meeting people in Chicago than I had previously managed, but meeting people was still slow going. Small friendships here and there. I kept trying.
I exchanged cards with the Aussie sitting next to me. I enjoyed the mussels and played with my camera. I thought about the band that I wanted to see. I thought about my past and my future, of all the mussels I ate in Korea with the Artist, with the Irish watching, with myself alone. My brain was spinning on thinking, so I drank more wine and tried to think about music instead. The future, the future, the future. It was something I had to force upon myself sometimes so that I didn't get lost in the past.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
I’d been very curious about trying out different “social” sharing ways for doing things like getting a room and taking a cab, which was probably why I was all okay with renting my own little room. I actually had a very good time with it. Having my own little apartment in Chicago was perfect and it being convenient to where I was going made me happy. Also, the price (considering the cost of a hotel in Chicago) was perfect.
Over the last weekend of January, which was also the first weekend of February, I had back-to-back shows. The first was a band I was absolutely over the moon to see as I had been wanting to see them since I had gotten back from Korea. The second was Iron and Wine, again, but this time just him and a guitar at the Old Town. Both of these shows seemed like they would be a good time and I was happy to have a chance to go.
With camera charged and at the ready, I was trying to decide how I to get to Wicker Park on a Friday night during rush hour. I could, of course, take the train but I didn’t really want to. This was when I suddenly got a notice in my inbox that the festival—technically the Suns were playing the EpicTonic Deep Freeze festival (considering the winter we have had, quite appropriate)—was having a special “social” cab service I had been considering checking out.
I figured what the hell, why not? and signed up for the cab service, meaning that I could get a cab from downtown to the show for free and not have to deal with the Blue line. Score.
At the appropriate time I ordered my taxi, after having had a cuppa with the Bard who was off to get snuggly in her home, and headed out the door to wait for my driver. My phone informed me of the name and plate number of the driver as well as a description of her car. All in all it was pretty straightforward: she called me when she got close to let me know she saw me, I jumped in the front seat, and we were off.
She was a nice girl, and I asked her how long she had been doing this. Apparently she used it as a way to stay busy during slow months. She was Puerto Rican, so we talked about the island, about our parents and our struggles with language learning, about our various careers. I have to say it was one of the most pleasant experiences I have ever had riding in a car, and basically in some ways like paid hitchhiking. I was fine with that. When she dropped me off she rated me and I exited her car just in front of the restaurant I wanted to go to. I think my experimentation in “social” ways of getting around things that I otherwise find a bit costly and annoying in America is an experiment I should continue.
Monday, February 03, 2014
Sunday, February 02, 2014
I'd been hitting restaurants that were participating in Chicago's Restaurant Week. They all had prix fixe menus. I never orderd anything off the fixed menu.
Foods. I had it all!
Friday night I literally had a feast, at Feast in Bucktown. Good stuff.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
There is a part of me that wants to say that I was at a loss for words. I was. I fell so far down into the music that there was nothing else there. With the sudden strumming of the guitar, the drum picked up, the keyboard entered and there was nothing in this moment but me, the voice, and the music and it was everywhere.
Something about this music was perfect for broken hearts, and my heart had been breaking for a while. There was mending, too, but mending meant losing something, giving up something, someone, I didn't want to give up. In order to be whole there came a point where you had to let go. I fought, I kicked, and clawed and tried desperately to hang on, and I lost anyway. The last six months had been me dealing with a series of losses, the last, biggest, most powerful loss still swimming around in my mind all the time until I felt like I was nothing but drowning in it.
And then there was the music.
I needed this show to be good. I needed this show to be something more, which was unfair to put on the band that did not know how much they had disappointed me before, and did not know that I needed them to be something more, but I did. And they were.
Every word, every word struck a chord inside my mind, my soul. I sang along, I felt that firey enflamed passion as they played, pouring out their own pains, their own life stories through the music. The set was a mix of old and new songs, songs that had not yet been recorded. The first of the new songs included imagery of fire, like a cleansing, sweeping, powerful, beautiful thing. As he called out those words it was like the entire room was filled with that fire, strong, powerful; it burned through it, making me feel suddenly so empty and so full, clean, pure, whole. Something different. Something better. I cried, surprised that I was crying, happy that I was crying, emotional, happy. Every single song on the set brought forth pure emotion, until there was nothing but me and the music.
At some point during the set as Nils praised Chicago he recalled his last show here. The show I had seen, and mentioned that he had been sick as a dog during the show, his voice bleeding through every song, and I sat, and felt chastised and even more connected to the band, to the music. The show was so perfect, the music was so crushingly overwhelming, beautiful, that I was nothing but overflowing with happiness, warmth. As they sang the strains of "Goodbye," jumping down into the audience, imploring us to silence even though some of us wanted to sing out and sing along, I started shaking. A subtle thing, but something there, something real. There was something so real here. It was a moment complete, perfect. My new “friends” snuck out at some point during the final part of the set. I was alone and could be alone, could allow myself to simply embrace that moment and let the music overwhelm me. And so I did.
I went back to my room and tried to sleep, but there was too much music in my mind. The next morning I thought to have breakfast and go to the museum but it was too cold and I was still too full of music to calm myself, so I took a train home, humming a head full of songs I loved the entire way home.