Monday, June 04, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

Adventures in Chicago: Notes for a Book


Today was a very hot day in Chicago. Its 6:52pm and still hovering near 90. A cold front awaits in the west, rushing over the Midwestern plains toward Lake Michigan, bringing with it a "wind warning", "tornado warning" and promises of a pretty intense storm. I'm hoping it will cool things down so I can sleep.

I've finally picked up a good book to read on the El, like seemingly every other person on my commutes. For some reason a good 80% of people on the train during my commutes are people roughly under age of 27, and a good 40-50% of them are reading books the whole time. My ride home today was semi-comical, enough so to jot down.

I went to the Daley Plaza Blue Line stop on the Blue line, the second to last downtown stop. As it was just after 5pm the dirty little underground station was packed. As usual, the inefficient blue line kept us waiting roughly 10 minutes for a train to come. Actually we saw it approach the station then stop and wait ten minutes, with people on. Then it finally started up and headed towards us. Everyone pushed real close to the edge since we all knew only about one third of us would make it on what was expected to be a packed train. Only, the train honked then kept going by. Some people laughed, some people bitched, some, like myself, kept reading out books.

Then 5 minutes later another train came and stopped just before the station, and waited 5 minutes. When it finally pulled up to the platform, the doors of a relatively unpacked car stopped right in front of me. By relatively unpacked I mean all the seats were taken and some people were standing. I was very excited that the doors stopped in front of me, and felt like a leader of the pack as everyone in my vicinity gathered around me, knowing I would be on board first, hoping to follow and squeeze on. We kept waiting until we realized the doors were broken and were not opening. I quickly rushed over, with my crowd following, to the other doors of the car and squeezed on.

Well we finally all squeezed into the front of the car, all packed in, squished against eachother, leaning over eachother to grab a pole or a seat or something to keep us from being thrown against one another. Then we all looked down the isle to the other side of the car, where the broken doors were, and saw it was basically open and empty. And of course no one could simply walk down there because the whole isle was blocked with people standing, and there must have been that one guy at the end who wasnt moving down. So I lifted up my book as best I could, as did about 5 other people around me, and we jerked along to the next stopped . Another crowd rushed in and squeezed themselves down to the open side of the cart, so it was finally packed to capacity. Then, every stop after that, a group of people from one side of the car where the doors were broken would frantically push themselves to my side of the car where the doors were open so they could get off in time. Back and forth, back and forth, frantically, pushing, the heat wasnt helping. And all the while everyone not getting off, the people around me, are standing there holding the pole with one hand and reading a book with the other, quite oblivious to the chaos around them. It was, I found, very funny.

I tried to see what other people were reading, and I only got one, this morning. Some girl was reading a book called "The Wonder Spot". I wikipedia'd it and it looks like one of those summer time beach girls books.

Work was kind of chaotic today, as I am still new. I work in some crazy ass law firm in downtown Chicago. Its about 50 years old and the founder still works there. I've been subbing as a legal assistant the real estate department, where everyone is very old. Its like working in the 1950's. But I enjoy/hate it. Some moments I wish to be at a job where there is no pressure to get it done, some moments I thrive on it. Overall I think its good for me right now. So I am enjoying where I am at and taking in the experience. Its kind of fun being reoriented, getting to know people, figuring out the office makeup, the cliques, the social hierarchy, the way things work. I know 100% now I dont want to be a lawyer, but its a good interim job before grad school. I think I need to just take in more and live more for the experiences, in the present. If all goes according to plan I will be in New York in early 08 so I want to try to make the most out of my time in Chicago; yet while at the same time saving up as much money as possible. So thats kind of a difficult balance but I am figuring it out.

My short term (next 9-10 months) goals are to make the most out of every day, live scrupulously, be adventures, bring lunch almost everyday, cut down on binge drinking, get a second job, explore Chicago, get to know the personalities of the bars around me, meet new people, be a dreamer, and sha la la la live for today

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