Life at an Intersection

Chicago Phoenix, indemnity bonds, journaling, really really really want a zigazig ah, travel, books, travel books, relationships, values. It is hard to pinpoint precisely, but I'd say about 82% of what you read here is true. The rest is fictional nonfiction.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Being in Edgewater

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Being single is no reason to ruin a perfectly good Valentine's Day tradition, so I took the bus up to my old 'hood this afternoon and ate lunch at Ben's Noodles and Rice. It is the perfect neighborhood Thai restaurant: tiny, endearing, sweet staff, disarming and charming in its simplicity. When I lived and worked in that neighborhood, I used to help the owner/operator in the bank and eat at his restaurant with a fair amount of regularity. So we were friendly. I know that he doesn't remember me any longer, but I still feel such a warm, family feeling when I see him again.

Being a man of routines and regulations - dare I say inertia - eating Valentine's dinner at the most comfortable spot that I can think of seems ideal to me. Why would I want to go somewhere starchy or stuffy for a celebration of the warm fuzzies? That seems pretty antithetical to me. So Ben's was the tradition. I like it; I'm keeping it.

Being in the old neighborhood today, though, man, that almost put me over the edge. It is on the up-and-up, that's for sure. There's a few new restaurants and a couple of nice looking shops. Reza's deli is still there, but he wasn't behind the counter when I went by. That man is a precious soul, a shot of whiskey and a warm hug in human form. He'd drive you crazy, but how could you not love him? Walking past my old bank - the place where I spent so many stressful hours learning how to make small talk, how to multi-task like the mother of septuplets, how to negotiate relationships with coworkers with whom I didn't have a straw of commonality, where I made overtime - I get a thrill. I remember those coworkers, our motley crew, and our fun times together. Geez, those were great times. Walking past Bryn Mawr Care and remembering the gargoyle, that scary man who crouched on the sidewalk, looking frail enough that you could imagine a slight breeze would topple him. Strolling past my old building, still being managed by The Future. I loved that apartment. It was a tiny palace, a sweet cocoon; it was a perfect home for me.

Being away from home in every possible sense for the first time, totally disconnected from the previous 26 years of my life, this neighborhood gave me freedom. I have this strong sense that in some nebulous, impossible to define way, this neighborhood made me who I am today. I'm a little rough around the edges, I'm good with diversity, I keep to myself but make sweet, lasting connections, I'm quieter than some but more outspoken than many. I squeeze past a trio of Eastern European women on the sidewalk; they are sitting on the padded seats of their walkers with their hair in kerchiefs, speaking a language that I'll never know or care to know.

Being the crazy person that I am, I have another strong sense that I initially resist, but eventually have to admit aloud, here, to you, now: I've got to get myself out of this city.


Currently Watching
The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

2 comments:

scott February 14, 2010 at 3:39 PM  

I like this. Your description of your old neighborhood reminds me that we need to take a pilgrimage back to the old apt. in Kits before we leave this city. Such formative years of our life- as a family, but also just for me too- were spent there. And I think that visiting it will give me that same combination of feelings: fondness at the role that place had, the gift that it was to live in such a place, but also an urge and willingness to move on, that for whatever reason, we've outgrown that place and it can no longer be what it was.

Davie February 15, 2010 at 7:34 AM  

A perfect summation. In fact, your four sentence comment is better than my blog.

Twitter / Davie_St

Words That I'm Living By - 5/2/2010

Time, as I've known it
Doesn't take much time to pass by me
Minutes into days, turn into months
Turn into years, they hurry by me
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

Dreams full of promises
Hopes for the future, I've had many
Dreams I can't remember now
Hopes that I've forgotten,
faded memories
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

And I love to see the morning
as it steals across the sky
I love to remember and
I love to wonder why
And I hope that I'm around
so I can be there when I die
When I'm gone

I hope that you will think of me
In moments when you're happy and you're smiling
That the thought will comfort you
On cold and cloudy days
if you are crying
And that you'll love to see
the sun go down
And the world go around
And around and around

"Around and Around" by Mark Kozelek

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