Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Little Out of Sync: New York Meets Chicago


While in Chicago I had the chance to entertain New York. She offered to come for a visit and I was only to happy to invite her to my fair city. There was a little place downtown I knew so we arranged for a stay and to meet there. She was lovely in the Chicago morning, coming in just on the crest of a heat wave, the weather slightly cooler than it had been in days. Most certainly cooler than New York. 

In a few days I’d be leaving for Korea for a short-term contract that I was both looking forward to and lamenting. Sometimes there is just not enough time in once place or the other. She agreed to walk me to the Korean consulate, where I would get my passport stamped and all my documents in order to be ready to leave. She was in awe of the city. Chicago is so different from New York.

“It’s the open spaces,” New York remarked. “There are just as many buildings but I can see the sky. It feels more open here; not so crowded.” She’s right. Chicago is a very open city. There is so much room to move and breathe. As we sauntered along the sidewalk in the mildly warm afternoon she remarked at how easy it was to walk a bit slower, to take your time. 

She was right. It was slower. Chicago is smoother. When I walked in New York I always felt like I not only needed a purpose but a destination, anything less then this would lead in no certain terms to trouble. I was constantly seeking things on my maps, constantly trying to hide the fact that I needed a map. I felt so very other while I was there. Here in Chicago, in my hometown, in my fair city, with the lovely and fair New York, I felt nothing but a wave of absolute delight. Of being settled into a single moment in time and enjoying that moment for all it was worth.

That afternoon was moving quickly and I had a bit of work to finish up before I could take a few days off. We parted company with the agreement to meet back later. I went to a coffee shop and she wandered about, seeing almost everything there was to be seen in the city in almost three hours. I sent her a text to meet me on the steps of the Art Institute when she was ready. I waited with that certain kind of tension for her to appear on the streets and when she did she was so lovely to watch. I enjoyed the sheer joy on her face as she moved down the sidewalk towards me. New York, so perfect in Chicago. Chicago, so happy to have her.

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