Thursday, January 29, 2009

Winter doesn't quit. That's why they call it winter.

Somewhere under two inches of fresh snow, four inches of old snow and a yellowing icepack pockmarked with salt caverns sits a sidewalk pining for the darling buds of May, that spring magnificence suspended in sunlight until it gently settles on the concrete, creating vast lanes of impressionism.

With the arrival of February come the first true thoughts of another season, the first glimpse of this imminent possibility.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My train rides have been nondescript, the weather ordinary, bland and seasonal, the sunshine periodic, daylight lengthening imperceptibly. I have been reading the same books as when we last discussed books (Don Quixote unravels with the odd brilliance of a glasswing; The Tipping Point both effects sedation and confounds my earnest attempts to find something, anything in it to enjoy). I work in an office. I sit at a computer. I continue to go about my business.

My broken toe has healed to the point that I no longer lurch forth like a stricken homunculus and now lurch forth like someone who had outpatient knee surgery some months ago. That is to say that my afflicted bone is improving by leaps and bounds despite that fact that I can as yet neither leap nor bound.

Two Saturdays hence there will take place an important kickball game—the much-ballyhooed Winter Invitational—in which I hope to play an active role. Godspeed, crucial phalanx!

A new president has been sworn in—twice. I eagerly anticipate the coming legislation.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I feel sorrow as I watch a solitary diner absently spoon oatmeal at a round table meant for ten. I sit alone in the morning—a window seat on the right side, in the direction of travel, of a brown line train to the Loop—and have full view of the CNA Center's third-floor cafeteria at approximately 8:19.

Last night's blizzard was not. Temperatures have only dipped slightly and the morning air is imminently tolerable. I wore my puffy jacket nonetheless and hope this decision is vindicated by a more substantive cold front later today.

The man and his oatmeal have a story. It is one of a forbidden love that only they could ever understand. They spoon, there alone at a table built for ten, as 24-hour news loops on a pair of flat screen televisions hanging above. A man and his oatmeal.

If I don't tell anyone, who will know?

Monday, January 12, 2009


We had our first big snow of the season over the weekend. The next five days promise more snow and much colder weather. But unlike the last two years, when we wallowed below 10 degrees for weeks at a time, it looks like temperatures are going to rebound quickly.

Feel the adventure.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Another snow, and the icy sidewalk lurks beneath a thin membrane of dust. I progress gingerly through my outdoor route, but still manage to fall victim to the full-body spasms of recovery as my heel loses purchase. One of these days I'm going to pull a muscle. How humiliating will that be?

I'll know in time.

Monday, January 05, 2009

My broken toe is swollen and tender this morning, particularly so. Some would say this is because I refuse to hobble about town in my ergonomic walking boot and prefer to hobble in more conventional footwear. Others would say things that are completely off the subject and should therefore be ignored. As an intellectual and a scholar, I know that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and that such truth, when it is nailed down with any certainty, is often fleeting.

The truth is that over the last several days, I have been free of the occupational duties for which I am paid a fair salary. When first I espied the vermiform front of black X's on my wall calendar approaching this short holiday, I imagined how I would revel in my temporal freedom: consuming several classic novels, unraveling complex mathematical theorems and conditioning myself for the cardiovascular rigors of a five-minute mile. Alas, my toe's woeful state rendered all of these goals impossible, and I was forced to spend my hours drinking wine, eating foods of international origin and merrymaking with my friends and their friends.

Perhaps the most painful sting came on Friday morning, when I saw a thief making a hasty retreat across Lincoln Avenue after having pilfered the entire tip cup at a local coffeehouse. I stood some fifteen feet from the suspect as he fled toward the bewildering alleyways and determined that had I not been slowed by my devil fracture I should have overtaken the dashing bandit at once and beaten him severely.

And then, as I threw open the coffeehouse door and returned the cowardly criminal's ill-gotten gains, the grateful baristas would shower me with praise and promise me free coffee for life. And perhaps one of the dark, crumbly cakes behind the slanted glass of the sneeze guard. I would refuse, of course.