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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010



This picture of my nephew Jesse is outdated - he's way bigger than this now - but it cracks me up and must be shared.


One problem with having friends in other countries who speak other languages (no offense, Anne Sue!) is that details can get lost in translation. They they can sometimes misunderstand time words or verb tenses from emails and Facebook status updates. One of my friends and one of my former co-teachers from Taiwan met each other last week and were apparently talking about me and how I had moved to Phoenix. They both sent me emails asking about how I liked my new home and when they could come visit.

Not yet, people.


Chicago has all of these awesome, kinda strange laws. One is that if your restaurant, cafe, or coffee shop provides sidewalk dining opportunities, you have to maintain flower boxes and live plants in a certain proportion to the amount of seating available. It sounds weird, but it makes everything look much, much nicer. Sometimes it is an invitation to mischief though.

Walking to work Monday morning, I passed by a stem of tulip that had been uprooted from a restaurant window box, bulb and all, and left to die of exposure on the cold, desolate concrete sidewalk. There was still a bit of dirt clinging to the tiny rootules spreading from the bottom of the bulb. The green of the stem was still fresh.

It felt a bit like one of those horrible news stories where person after person walks by a dying woman on an urban sidewalk, and it is all caught on surveillance camera footage. Like the callous rabbi passing by the beaten, suffering man in the story of the Good Samaritan.

I kept walking.


If I had known then what I know now, I would have asked to have been assigned to work at our bank's main office two years ago when I started this job. Yesterday I got tickets, really great seats, to a Cubs game. Just for being there at the right time and saying "Yes, I would like two free tickets to tonight's game." My bank has a bunch of season tickets which they generally give to those hefty, important business or loan customers that they need to keep happy. I guess no one wanted them yesterday, so I got to mark "Baseball Game at Wrigley Field" off of my Chicago Bucket List.

And then there's the neighborhood connections. I have met so many of the owners, operators, and managers of some of Chicago's biggest and best gay bars over the last month. Scarlett, Circuit, Roscoe's, Bobby Love's, Charlie's, North End, MiniBar... I could have been drinking for free for the last two years, people. Not to mention the Boystown restaurants, salons, shops... Shame.


I have nothing to say about Arizona's new state law concerning illegal immigrants.


On Sunday I finally cashed in my Entenmann's outlet punch card. Two years of bakery thrift store shopping for two free loaves of bread. And two boxes of donuts - those I paid for. I was able to walk to this palace of refined flour and carbo-laden breakfast treats for a few months after I moved back to Chicago in 2008. Since I've lived in Lakeview my visits have been limited to occasions when Sofia and I happen to be driving by on our way to...wherever.

I really wanted to ask that quirky checkout lady if I could take a picture with her since it was certain to be my last visit. I'll always remember her: her rambling, borderline-nonsensical cash register conversation, the way that she loved me for bringing my own bags, and that uniquely sloppy way in which she pins up her hair. Kind of the art of misdirection, actually. 'Cause she's beautiful.

Currently Listening to:
"Borderline/Open Your Heart" by those talented kids from that Glee show

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



I talked with a couple of really good friends on the phone this afternoon. I love how whenever I talk with these friends - all too rare an occasion - I always understand something better after our conversation. Something about life, something about how I feel or how the world works.

We are all moving; exciting things are happening in our lives. I asked this friend if the next couple of weeks were going to be difficult for him, emotionally. He said simply, straighforwardly, somewhat quickly, no. (I hope he doesn't mind me sharing this. Anyway, I'm not using his name, so you'll never know who he is! Ha.) He said that he thinks it will be a bit more difficult for his wife, but that he doesn't expect to feel much, you know, sadness. (I'm paraphrasing like crazy here.) He isn't too attached. But there is an element of something else. Some guilt. A feeling of leaving people behind, people who - I suggested - may very well have become attached to him.

I feel this way also. There are a few people here in Chicago whom I will miss, and miss greatly. People who have become dear to me. I feel sad to leave them. My heart will be heavy when we say goodbye. I'll even tear up over a couple of them. But in general, leaving now, I'm excited, and I'm going to feel that excitement of being the one off to see and experience and conquer a new place. But I feel bad about leaving. I feel some guilt; I feel like I am abandoning people. (It seems based on this sentence that I have a very high opinion of myself. I don't think that is necessarily the case, but perhaps it is.) I actually felt bad when I gave my notice at work last Friday. For the most part, these people have been very nice to me. They have offered me opportunities, they have supported me and looked out for me. They have been my coworkers and pals. I respect them and thank them.

I guess I feel a bit of the abandoner's guilt. My other friend on the phone told me that I am fortunate to be single, to be able to move, to seize opportunities and not have those attachments that make these kind of life transitions so much more difficult. She asked me not to be offended by that. I'm not offended in the least. (How could I ever be offended by something that she said? Okay, well, there was that one time...)

And sometimes, the best times, I even agree with her.


I'm making a Chicago bucket list. Less than a month now, and I'm out of here. The clock is ticking, and there's still so much that I haven't done yet.

There are a few things on the list that I just want to do. Everything else is on the list as a response to this imaginary future conversation:

Person to Whom I am Speaking: Oh, you lived in Chicago? Did you ever...
Me: Oh, no, I never actually...
PtWIaS: Oh, well, you must have been to...
Me: Well, you know, I'm not actually from Chicago, so...
PtWIaS: But you were there how many years? You must have eaten at...
Me: No, somehow I never quite made it there. I heard about it, but just never got around to...
PtWIaS: Wow, you've really got to go back there some time and check these things out.
Me: Will you excuse me please? I've just got to...


I just had the best weekend with my dearest, darlingest friends Sarah and Kati as they were in town for - primarily - a visit with me, and a little sidecar medical conference hobbnobbery also. We ate and talked and drank, (there was some Sunday night dancing in there as well) and I personally just had the warmest, most delightful time. I love those girls.

Tonight I went to one of those wonderful movie premieres with my (pardon the crudity, but she is pretty celeb-obsessed) starfucking friend Happy. They plied us with alcohol and food at this swanky Brazilian steakhouse ahead of time, and I ate this lovely plate of meat pictured below. The movie was still A-W-F-U-L. Richard Roeper was sitting in the press row behind us, so I stole a glance his way every now and then. He went catatonic just a few minutes in, from what I could gather.


Currently Just Watched:
The Backup Plan
Key quote from the film: "I think you are going to leave this place and really regret it."

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I had a customer today, I swear he walked right out of Tales of the City and into my bank. Big guy, talking to his dog, 70s hair and shirt style. I thought to myself, "Armistead Maupin character," and then he gave me his driver's license. California. San Francisco. Castro Street. Named Jon.


Better but slightly longer customer story: I read this blog called Towleroad on a daily basis. It is a gay politics/pop culture/sports/world interests blog. Thursday evening I got home from eating dinner, wandering the downtown streets, and spending quality time with my visiting friends Sarah and Kati, and I did a little internet reading before I turned in for the night. I read this particular blog entry with particular interest.

Background: last week, former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gave an interview in which he disagreed with the rolling back of the gays in the military ban, said that not-quite-marriage civil unions were unacceptable, and then flung this gem at gay couples who want to adopt (was against the law until this week in his home state of Arkansas): "Children are not puppies."

So the Hearty Boys didn't like that. They are a gay couple who own and operate several Chicago restaurants, a catering business, and have a show on the Food Network. And they wrote this really great letter to Mr. Huckabee rebuking him for his ignorant, mean-spirited diss on gay parents and inviting him over for dinner at their house. You know, so that he could see how their very normal, very loving, and very gay family operates. How very similar it is, indeed, to his own.

I read their letter on the blog Thursday night, and for no particular reason other than my own curiosity, I looked closely at the photo of the two of them. I've eaten at their restaurant before, they are kind of neighborhood celebrities, and I know that their business accounts are at my bank. So I was curious.

Friday morning at work a gentleman came to my teller window who looked kind of familiar. My first reaction was that he looks like the dad from Modern Family. And then I glanced at his checks. Depositing Hearty Boys checks into a joint account, Dan and Steve. So I helped him with his transaction, and then I said, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are actually one of the Hearty Boys, right?" Which is kind of a super awkward line, but I was building up to something. And I was really excited that I had just been reading about him on the internets the night before, and now here he was, right in front of me! Cool.

He acknowledged that he was with a smile and a nod, and then I said, "I saw the letter that you and your husband wrote to Mike Huckabee. That was so wonderful and felt really meaningful and important to me." And he got a little flustered and a little embarrassed as any really normal, humble human being would, and he thanked me and said that his partner had actually been the one to write it. And then we had a further little exchange about how great the letter was and gay rights and his family and then we said goodbye. It felt so good to thank him, to just add my little voice to his bigger voice, speaking out for recognition and equality. It made my week.

As he walked away, I sort of regretted not telling him that my family all voted for Mike Huckabee in the primaries a couple of years ago. But now I'm sort of relieved that I kept that colorful little detail to myself.

Currently Listening to
Glee Vols. 1 and 2

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Light a Roman Candle With Me


Jewish pigeons. Hilarious.


Everything's happening very quickly. I just reserved a moving truck. I'm giving my notice at work on Friday. I'm making plans. Stuff is going down. I feel a bit lightheaded. I'm kind of freaking out. Yes, it is a good freaking out, but like I said to Liza on the phone just now, the physical effects are the same. I'm very twitchy.

School is happening. I'm going to be back in the classroom doing what I love - teaching! - in a matter of a few months. This is wonderful.

Currently Listening to
Aim and Ignite by fun. That guy used to be in The Format.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Debacle. (Please pronounce this word in your best faux-French accent.)


This is a horrible thing that happened to me yesterday. (I very much prefer to use the passive voice in this case.) Mid-afternoon, I had just arrived home from work, I was talking with Liza on the phone, and I was starving. And I took this very hot Trader Joe's Curried Lentils microwave meal out of said microwave with one hand, and I dropped it. And then I said naughty words because that shit went flying everywhere. But eventually I was able to mop it all up and laugh it off. My little shoebox apartment still smells quite exotic though.


I got an Easter basket today. I can't remember the last time that I had an Easter basket. Only really, really special people give you Easter baskets. It contained a bottle of bubbles (Super Miracle Bubbles with a really fancy wand!), as every decent Easter basket should. I was thrilled and humbled.


I got in trouble yesterday for wearing blue corduroys to work. My supervisor said, "You know you can't wear jeans to work, even on Saturday." And I said, "These aren't jeans. They are cords." And she said "You can't wear those either." And I said, "Since when?" And she said, "It is in the dress code." And I said, "No, it isn't." And she said, "I'll be right back." And she came back like five minutes later with an ancient copy of the bank's dress code and said, "I know this isn't the most recent version of the dress code, but here it is, 'No Corduroys.'" And I looked at her like she was a crazy person and said, "Okay."

The thing is, the men at our bank have to wear a dress shirt and tie to work every day of the week. And the girls? Most of them wear tee shirts (which they call "blouses," ha) and ugly pants. Sexist community bank. Those girls should have to wear skirts or jaunty neck scarves or something equally penal.


I got a missed connection at work the other day! (This is no great feat, as I work in one of the gayest neighborhoods in the universe. In fact, if I never got a missed connection there, I'd be a pretty terrible gay.)

We are gonna go out for sushi. Oooh, fun!

Currently thinking about the motion picture that I watched last night called
An Education
which really pulls you in to what seems like a pretty pervy premise, kinda convinces you, and then slams you on your ass. Great movie.

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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