Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The co-mingling displeasure of a thousand groggy passengers fills the Monday train with the kind of ripe silence that precedes meltdown. I am standing in the middle of it, my gloved hand—yes, gloved in this season—wrapped around a pole to keep me grounded at the turns. A girl is reading Knit Two. I have not heard of this book, but quickly vow to hate its title forever. ("Knitting. You see? It's a metaphor!")

A large, round membrane of ice covers the grass at Seward Park.


It's Tuesday and my office is cold. My hands are cold. I recognize that I have been having trouble writing lately and so resolve to continue typing until something happens. My mind desperately seeks distraction, but I fight it. This very paragraph hangs in the balance. It has no idea how close it is to being discarded forever. Will my need to get over this overcome my desire to confront it later? The answer is becoming more and more apparent. My fingers are warming to the task and I now sit upright, wishing I could type at the speed of thought.


But not yet there. I bristle with stockpiled frustration born of silent weeks. There's so much more needs to be done.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The hour has been taken, and so the morning fails to rush, instead unraveling with the foggy deliberation of an inebriate. I am unaccustomed to seeing the sunlight come at me from this angle, burning my eyes through the open spaces as my train car twists and clatters southward. Purple dots and blue streaks dance inside my eyelids. It's a silly dance. Your uncle's wedding reception dance.

On Friday night, Lauren and I saw Dan Auerbach at the Metro. For a moment, it looked like Those Darlins might steal the show, but they didn't. Dan was just too good.

I watched Saturday from apartment windows, for the most part, venturing out only for a quick burger and beer at The Grafton. The rains came like a long, deep recession—battering everyone on the way down and then strangling them on the roadside. The sheets of heavy precipitation carried into Sunday, but tapered off Sunday afternoon in time for bowling. I bowled two of my best games in the history of mankind.

And then I ate Duck Curry at Spoon Thai.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You're a reporter. It's Barack Obama's first prime-time press conference.

The president has just unveiled a stimulus package that's supposed to slow the country's economic free fall, one many are calling the worst since the Great Depression. Tomorrow, his Treasury secretary will outline his plan to bail out the nation's floundering banking system. American troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Department of Justice just upheld Bush's "state secrets" defense in the civil cases stemming from extraordinary rendition. There's recently been an election in Iraq. There's about to be a one in Israel.

The president calls on you midway through what's been a fairly adversarial question-and-answer session.

Would you be the moron who asks the president what he thinks of Alex Rodriguez using steroids? I mean really, for the rest of your life, would you want to be that guy?

Monday, February 09, 2009

The air outside is hazy, dolorous. In other words, it is vastly more pleasant than the current political and economic climate, which grows icier regardless of atmospheric CO2 levels. Chicago felt the heat this weekend, as temperatures reached into the high-50s and snow mounds reduced, revealing scattered poop mounds previously suspended and preserved in the lingering frost.


On Saturday, I demolished a bucket of balls at Diversey Driving Range, working up a sweat and appetite that would later be satisfied with homemade pizza and Perkulator at the Wolfgrant Inn. Sunday was cooler but satisfactory. Lauren and I walked down to Praha where we bought an old kitchen cabinet for a fair price. That night, we bowled our team toward world domination at Lincoln Square Lanes.

I am pleased.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

• When I go to bed on Tuesday evening, I often stare at the ceiling and wonder if I will sleep soundly or toss and grumble through the evening. This inevitably leads to prolonged tossing and grumbling. I spend subsequent evenings trying to catch up on lost sleep, a task which is largely impossible due to the anxiety born of its heightened importance. Grumble.

• Saturday, as the Chicago Kickball Winter Classic wrapped up and we gathered our coats and jackets and began to repair to Ravenswood Pub, someone espied a man in a black jogging suit striding westward across Winnemac Park some 50 yards yonder and shouted "Hey look. It's Blago!" Sure enough, it was. The former governor, whose rangy gait and poof of black hair is unmistakable at that proximity, pumped his fist in the air as a few onlookers cheered. "Did you do it?" someone yelled. "No!" he answered, disappearing past a shoulder-high thicket of brown prairie grass.

• Tomorrow evening, Mr. Gnome is playing at the Double Door. I would like to attend this music show.

• I started reading No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July. I am enjoying it, at times.

• Grumble.

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.