Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boxes, Boxes, Boxes...

Every time I unpack one box, two more seem to appear in it’s place. I swear, they’re multiplying and I desperately wish they would unpack themselves. I remind myself I’ve done this many times. Yup. Sure have but never have I ever been this slow about it.
I am still continuing my love affair with Lovely, but am trying to keep other options known and open. I am more resistant to change than I’d like to believe. Eventually I’ll let it go and find something else to fall in love with.

Commuting has also been an adventure. I’ve been taking both the Metra, and the purple line on the CTA depending on the day and the time I leave. So many adjustments.
I’m happy though. I feel good when I come home and no matter what, that’s the most important part right

Drink and Draw...

I almost talked myself out of going to the Drink and Draw event at Spudnik Press. Fear takes over and I have a tendency to chicken out of things from time to time. I felt I’d be very disappointed though if I didn’t go and check this out. Off I went.
I got irritated waiting on the #65 bus so I started walking back toward Chicago Ave. I caught the #66 bus trying to sit still on it for about ten minutes before getting off and hoping I was walking in the right direction.
Eventually I came across a loft building and used a call box to announce my arrival. Once inside I started meandering through the halls, following signs to the giant room that housed the event.
“Hi.” A smiling girl about my age greeted me from a table where she was working with four guys.
“Hi!” I return her smile, walking toward her.
“Tonight’s theme is collage, so we have some random paper over here and a box of magazines, another little box of random stuff, whatever you want.” she tells me gesturing to a table behind her full of supplies. “Oh and the beer is on the counter over there.” she points to a wall behind a table I want to sit at.
“Thanks.” I beam and walk over to a longish table where four girls are already seated at. I gingerly set my things down and walk over to the supply table. Instantly my little girl self has fireworks going off in her head. She is immersed in cardstock, magazines and is exploring the box of random stuff wondering how to use ribbon with this project before deciding against it.
At the table I try not to stare at the work of the other girls but I’m curious. One girl is reading an article she came across on her magazine, two of them are drawing around some images they’ve glued inspired me to one day try that but not today. The girl next to me is using an Exacto knife to trim away excess paper from an image she wants.
I get up, get a beer and sit back down to finally begin. People wander in, taking seats at other tables. I could spend an hour investigating the attire of everyone. All the colors, prints and patterns people have put together on themselves is filling me up with inspiration. I don’t speak to anyone, just glance up from time to time. One of my co-workers brought to my attention that I like to observe people before approaching them, making sure I want to interact. I wasn’t aware of this until she pointed it out but yes, tonight it’s very apparent. I feel a little guilty about it honestly. There is a room full of interesting people and I’m choosing to remain still and quiet. I feel that because I live in a new place, I should be meeting new people. Now. Right this minute but honestly don’t want to talk.
I work for about an hour and a half and am quite pleased with what I came up with. I didn’t entirely finish it but feel either I will later or I won’t. I still really glad I went. I ended up not wanting to wait for the bus on my way back, simply wanting to be outside, taking in the chilly air all the way home…

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Like being newly single and running back to an ex-boyfriend simply to be back in the comfort of familiarity, I am running back to Wicker Park. I passed two coffee shops on my way here but still made the trek to the neighborhood I’ve resided in the entire time I’ve lived in Chicago. It’s beautiful outside so I decided to walk. What used to take about eight minutes now takes nearly thirty five. What the hell have I done?
I moved on the last day in February. The day before, I was up at 5:45am getting last minute things done at my client’s house before grabbing all three of my bags and walking a mile to get coffee. I wrote and had breakfast then went to work, did eleven haircuts, gave my client her keys back (They arrived shortly before I was finished with working) and waited on my parents to join me. They flew into town in the morning, visited Jeff at his work, walked around, shopped then came up to Evanston.
We took the train back to downtown to their hotel where Jeff met us and we went to dinner. We’re all insanely tired and the real fun hasn’t begun yet. Nope, that started at 5:30am with the three of us getting up, dressed and packed again. We ate breakfast and were off to pick up the moving truck at U-haul. Jeff met us at my place and helped dad lift all the unsavory heavy stuff. Ice had taken over the sidewalks and streets. The forecast said it was going to rain and snow at the same time but miraculously, there were nothing but clear blue skies and sunshine above us.
Sadly, I realized I rented a truck that was too small. I couldn’t believe how much crap I’ve accumulated since being here. I even got rid of a ton if it while packing. Dad, Jeff and I went to the new place where I had to go on a tiny scavenger hunt for the keys to get in. They were frozen under a brick. We unloaded the truck, drove back to my old place, Jeff left for work and we finished loading up for round two.
“Bye lil apartment!” I said to it as I left the keys on the counter for my former roommate to give to his new roommate. My dad was already in the truck and mom and I had just finished taking out the last of my things. I wouldn’t see this place again. This tiny slice of my life that I’ve inhabited for longer than any apartment I’ve lived in is officially not my home anymore.
At the new place walking up and down stairs 7,000 times was painful but we got it done. I feel this was one of my easier moves. (although there might be a few folks who beg to differ.) I didn’t have too many pieces of furniture and only a handful of boxes were heavy. In four hours we were done and returning the truck. My parents though, were missing their flight leaving a chunk of time open until the next one. We walked for a while until I found us a cab that took us to one of my favorite restaurants, Orange. Delicious!
After that we headed downtown and I waited for the train with them that would transport them to Midway. I had to carefully form the words “thank you so much.” so as not to burst into tears as I hugged them goodbye. I am so full of gratitude . I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without them and Jeff. When the train came I was suddenly disoriented. I’ve stood on this platform many times. I know where I am but I feel like I’m here without my right arm or something.
I walk downstairs and outside, the wind slapping me in the face. I have to go to the bank. I take care of things there and have to head back to my new place. I’m slower than molasses about it. When I walk through the door of the apartment it’s quiet. Stacks of boxes belonging to Dana fill our living room. Mine fill the kitchen. We have a lot of work ahead of us and I want nothing to do with it. I still plan on going to my art class tonight. That is until I get a call saying class is canceled. Ironic being it’s canceled on a day I kid of needed it to be, but was still not into missing it. I make some phone calls and Dana emerges from her room and we chat away about what we want to do with the place and what we’ll need to make it all happen.
“I have to work early but on Wednesday lets get this place clean!” she exclaims.
“I agree!” I laugh.
We both work on the place for a little bit. I go until I can’t anymore and pass out.
The next morning I’m up early and getting dressed. I’ve missed Lovely a lot. I went only once in the past two weeks because of staying up in Evanston. I’m also not entirely ready to let that routine go. Maybe I’ll never let it go, or maybe I will in a week. Who knows. I flew back to Atlanta a few times shortly after moving here. I was thrilled to be in Chicago but I wasn’t entirely settled so to bridge that gap for a few months, I caught a flight back when I could. Eventually though, I got settled into something new here and thoughts of Atlanta didn’t drown my days anymore.
The same thing is happening again. While walking I’m suddenly feeling overwhelmed and angry. What was I thinking moving over here? I ask myself. The grocery store is further than I realized. Where is the closest bank, train? How am I going to get to work? How will I get around period in a timely manner? Everything was so convenient at my old place. Did I just make a mistake?
There are no mistakes I remind myself. Only what you do and what you don’t do. I am remembering my old place and neighborhood the way one remembers yes, a former love that didn’t quite work out. All the good things are bright and shiny suddenly clouding better judgment of a decision to sever ties to that relationship. I remind myself that I wasn’t happy in my former situation and that if I wasn’t supposed to be where I am, then I wouldn’t be here. Other plans are happening because I’ve outgrown the space I inhabited when I moved here. I think.
After coffee at Lovely, I decide to go to Jam for breakfast. It feels like Monday the way Monday felt like a Sunday. When I get to Jam I see they are closed on Tuesdays. It takes me a minute to figure out that today is Tuesday. I’m usually at work by now but am working a half day so I didn’t have to rush in this morning after moving. I’m ravenous and angry food isn’t happening right away. I sigh and keep walking coming across Atomix coffee. They have delicious vegan food so I stop in, drinking more coffee, eating granola, and writing my friend Kate a letter.
Half an hour after being there I hear my name being whispered. I look up to see Spring, Jeff’s former roommate and current co-worker. I simply adore Spring. She lives in the neighborhood and I’ve wanted to get in touch with her after figuring out that I would also be here.
“Jeff said you moved yesterday. Welcome to the neighborhood.” she smiled.
“I did! Thank you!”
“How’s it going?”
“…I’m really having a hard time today.” I blink back tears feeling that at any moment I’m going to lose it.
She nods.
“I’m happy with my decision, I just didn’t want to move. If it weren’t for my roommate…” I trailed off.
“I know.” she nods again.
“I’m just not settled yet. I don’t know what to do with myself right now.”
“Moving can make you feel really displaced. I had a hard time leaving Jeff and Micah’s. It’s uncomfortable but at the same time it can be really exhilarating.”
“That’s so true! I’m excited to explore everything!” I exclaim, the tears gone.
“I have a friend that believes when we inhabit a place and move part of our soul is still there. It takes a while for it to catch up again.”
“I totally believe that.” I nod. “That’s exactly what I feel like today. I wanted to be back at Lovely to be in familiar surroundings again.”
Spring leaves after a little bit more chatting and taking my number. We agree to hang out soon. I feel calmer talking to her and am so grateful she lives so close.
Eventually I pack up wondering what I’m going to do for an artist date this week and how I’m going to manage squeezing that in. I’m about to walk out the door when a flyer on the giant bulletin board by the door catches my eye. There is a drawing/collage workshop going on the next night from 7pm-9:30 at a print shop not too far from my apartment. My entire being lights up at the sight of this. It’s a collection of people getting together to create some stuff, drink some beer and be together. This. This right here is why I believe Jam wasn’t supposed to happen today, because this was. I’ve wanted to work on a collage for a while now but haven’t because of moving. I’ve also wanted to take some drawing classes and figured I’d get to that eventually as well. To have both combined in a dream come true…I can’t wait!