Apr 29, 2012

Assignment Complete

You are a molded papier mache ticker-tape creature. A beating heart. A million ideas and observations pressed together in your ready-brain. You are super awareness. A secret weapon. The finished product of all of their training. Broken down. Built back up. Created like magic as though out of thin air. You are invisible as you wait in the old vestibule watching headlights illuminate sparkling rain. It is right then that all the pieces seem to fit together. You step out the door and down the street with your head up and your eyes looking straight ahead. Looking like no one. Looking like you could be anyone. Fifteen minutes later the orange juice and the carton of eggs are on the motion sensitive conveyor. The transaction goes down without incident. You don't blink an eye. Finally, you get your change, your receipt and take your bag and leave the premises at a steady, normal pace. Assignment complete. For now, that is.

Apr 16, 2012

A Foregone Conclusion

When I was little, a restaurant named Zuppa's opened up in an old storefront near where we lived. I remember noticing from the street, even as we raced by, my mom semi-dragging me by the elbow, that Zuppa's had abandoned many of the contrivances of 1960's restaurant design. All the old, safe concepts--the cooled down colors, the thick, unifying coats of white paint, the ubiquitous white table cloths were gone. Instead, Zuppa's interior glowed with warmth. The walls were rough, ocher colored and outlined by dark wood trim. And the room was faceted by the sparkle of candles, rich textures and colors.

When Zuppa's opened in the fall, they put fairy lights in the trees just outside pulling this magic out into the street for everyone to enjoy. The effect was inviting and maybe even a tiny bit shocking at the time. Had they actually put Christmas lights up before Halloween? On deciduous trees?! It didn't matter, though. The incredible smell of velvety tomato sauces, roasted garlic, fresh baked bread, steamed muscles, braciole, mushrooms melting in butter with white wine mesmerized the neighborhood. People went in the door of Zuppa's--in out from the cold--laughing amongst themselves, leaving behind their own trail of wonderful suede and lemony perfume. These were people that were just that much younger than my parents. These were people that I was going to be one day. 

This version of adulthood--which I, for whatever reason, projected onto the patrons of Zuppa's--contained no years of struggle, no troubled friends, no loneliness, no searching. This version of adulthood as imagined by a nine-year-old contained no bad people, no great-big mistakes, no strife. It was simply 1) four years of college (bangs, Levis, Addidas and probably Love's Baby Soft) followed by 2) being a grown-up (cashmere sweaters, Joan & David and most certainly Chanel No. 5). 'Grown-up' being that juncture in one's life that directly follows childhood. That juncture where one not only has everything figured out but also has great hair, a career and a small circle of happy, supportive friends.    

One day I was going to get to Zuppa's. It was true. And this meant many things that I never literally put into words so much as knew or felt. It was just that every single time I walked past Zuppa's this goal, this image of idealized adulthood was reinforced in my mind as always out there somewhere in the future. The events that would connect those dots were still uncertain. And, although those grown-ups (as found at Zuppa's) had some hard to define quality, it wasn't about one's station in life, necessarily, or success. It was something about being perfectly comfortable in the world. About laughing. About being happy. And I, too, would get there, one day. I had it all worked out. 

Apr 5, 2012

I've Always Loved The Bean

The Bean makes me feel like I'm walking though the other side of a mirror-world. Or, like there's an upside down sky that I might fall into if I'm not perfectly careful. Or that maybe it is possible to reflect everything in the world all at once--at least everything in Chicago--just so long as your mirror is properly shaped like a Bean.

Walking slowly up to the Bean--something I do more often than I care to admit--while looking at it as a whole, as a sculpture, or while specifically looking for myself or whomever I happen to be with in the reflection of the Bean, is, at the very least, mildly dizzying. As well, my eyes are drawn to the reflection of the sun which seems to shut down parts of my vision for whole minutes. So, naturally, I keep losing track of where my feet go. And of where the ground is. 

You can see hundreds of people approaching the Bean. Most while looking through their cameras and phones. After a few minutes of looking at the Bean I definitely feel less attached to the ground and more weightless than I prefer. As though tripping and falling could actually mean crashing through the sky. Which, as fun, reflective, upside down ideas go, is suboptimal for me. Yet I keep returning. I just love the Bean. 

Apr 4, 2012

It's a Stack of Jeans

It's a stack of jeans. Denim. About fifteen pairs. There is no other way to describe it. I keep them sorted in a stack as it is only in this way that my jeans can be all in one place and still remain reasonably visible. As well, I keep them sorted this way because I just can't bear to hang any jeans on a hanger. I mean it, if I ever have to hang a pair of jeans on a hanger it's over. I will leave. There will be no note, no explanation. I'll just be gone. And I will never come back. 

The problem is, every once in a while this stack of jeans falls over or becomes degraded as pairs are inevitably taken out from the middle. So, what was almost square, compact, even towering as a stack of jeans--become more of a slanted, untidy, mountain of jeans. Or, 'pile of jeans', if you will. Then I re-fold them and carefully place the jeans back into a stack formation. This occurring three, four sometimes as many as five times a day. One day I'm sure I will finally throw my hands up and say, 'You win, jeans!'. One day. But that day is not today.