Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lauren and I traveled south for the solstice. And there we took up with relatives and exchanged gifts and pleasantries with wine glistening in the corners of our eyes and merriment tickling our tickle places. The lodgings met with my approval and the feathery bed pads encouraged a hearty slumber.

It is often in such comfortable quarters that devils and enchanters prey on the lowered defenses of the complacent traveler.

One night, as a midnight storm battered the countryside, I arose and walked to the bathroom to fulfill a traditional duty when some species of nocturnal varlet sprang forth from the berber and laid waste to my left foot's smallest constituent. I collapsed onto the floor and there writhed and cursed the evil entity that had crippled me so—what dash cunning to target such a tiny yet essential element of my noble stride.

I am now limping through my week like some being that limps when it walks. I have been slowed and am at present vulnerable to follow-up attacks by foes with less discretion and worse intentions. As such, I have armed myself with a sharpened wit and intuition for further danger. I lurch in the shadows, where the sun does not shine and shadows are created due to the sun's not shining there, there being the places where I do my lurchings and intuitings of further dangers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I steeled my constitution for the impending one-two punch of Thundersnow & Thundersleetâ„¢ before heading out to party Christmaslike amid the chintz and track lights of a chain pizzeria. Early reports predicted initial contact at 3 p.m.; secondary reports rolled it back to 7. I anticipated watching the huge skirts of precipitation ripple sideways over the windows, illuminated by the yellowish halo of sodium street lights. Alas, the winter storm warnings erred on the side of hours and it wasn't until my midnight piss in the comfort of home that I could hear the crystals hitting my window over the tinny squeal of the steam heaters.

By morning, the storm had abated somewhat somehow. I dressed as I normally would and embarked on my morning commute, walking in the street, where tire lines provided the least arduous route east toward the Irving Park station. My new shoes proved capable. I arrived at the station and ascended to the platform without incident. I gather not all were so lucky, and indeed I watched as at least three weary travelers slipped on a metal strip that covered a platform joint, which strip became a hazard under the layer of sleet. All three were able to right themselves at the tipping point and avoid sliding headlong onto the tracks below. (Today I will write the CTA and prescribe some manner of tacky adhesive be applied to the offending strips.)

And so yes, the train arrived and only standing room remained. Don Quixote being an unwieldy book in such close quarters, I opted to stare out the window and listen to Deerhunter and, later, The Dodos. Humans and their mechanisms scrolled by below, plodding clumsily through the sandy mush. The brown made a majority of the Loop before I disembarked.

I am sitting at my desk drinking coffee and reflecting on what has been thus far.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My primary complaint about Contempt is translator Angus Davidson's conspicuous reliance on the word "hitherto." Otherwise, I like the book so far. A lot. Alberto Moravia renders a beautifully deconstructed human drama decorated with elegant artistic juxtapositions. Yadda yadda yadda.

Friday, December 05, 2008

This morning, the Red Line left me standing in the cold for several suspenseful minutes before peeking around the bend and coasting into Sheridan. She knows that after today things are over between us, at least as far as my daily commute goes. For tomorrow, the Irving Park stop reopens in its bright, brushed-steel glory.

I squeezed into a crowded car and updated my soundtrack. A student stuck in the center became frantic at Fullerton and almost tripped and fell. We plunged underground for the home stretch.

Someone had put a fake advertisement in the overhead concavity:



There's Strong. And Then There's Army Strong."

Tonight will be our last.