Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Anxiety, relief, pleasure

Today has been a day of some controlled anxiety, a certain amount of relief, and a little pleasure.

I have officially taken up residence in my apartment. It took me awhile because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Jeff before he went back to Orcas, and since he did not have a car, it was easier for me to simply stay out in Glen Ellyn. However, I have now spent two nights in my bed in my apartment, listening to the bus recite that it is the Kedzie/California 52 line. The Pancho Restaurant across the street plays the same Latin music CD all day and the nearby El requires that I turn the Gilmore Girls up fairly loud so that I don't miss the dialogue that is my primary reason for watching the show in the first place. I'm fighting the empty loneliness that rises in my chest when my roommates go back to the lives that they have. I do that mostly by unpacking and by eating whatever my little mouth wants. The eating will stop soon, but I'm being very gentle with myself right now.

I have almost been offered a job by a large, Christian non-profit doing urban community development work in Chicago. It is not-at-all the job that I described earlier. But I did next to no work to get it and since I don't know what else I want to do, I'm probably going to take it. I'll let you know when I know the details.

Yesterday, I said good-bye to Jeff, I was mostly (just not formally) given a job, my heart and mind were boiling with these people that are coming back into my life and it was my first day in residence. It contained a lot of emotions. It was hard.

So, today was a relief that it was not yesterday. Paige (my new roommate) encouraged me to take a vacation day. I like her already. It's a gorgeous day in Illinois today, with the sun shining and the temperature in the high 60's. As Paige and I talked, we decided that I should go to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I love the zoo and it's free, so, despite my extremely comfortable bed, I decided to go. (If the weather had been crummy, I would have had no problem staying naked in bed all day, reading Dune Messiah.)

The trip to the zoo was where the controlled anxiety, as well as the pleasure come in. I'm not very good with public transportation. Probably, that's not an accurate statement. There was a time in my life when I was awful with public transportation. That has made me a little gunshy, although I haven't had a mix-up in years. Also, I'm just not very good with new situations in general. I'm always a little nervous that someone will know that I'm not an expert at whatever it is that I'm doing for the first time. It's totally irrational but I've come to accept it. As far as neuroses go, it's a fairly low-key one. You'll just never see me with a map in my hands. Ever. Oh, I'll look at maps. I'll look at them obsessively with an intent to memorize. I might even jot down little notes on easily concealable scraps of paper. But that will be in the privacy of my own home. Never let it be said that Rebecca didn't know what was going on. :-)

However, I've made a commitment to engage this urban community at the ground level, on my feet. So, I eschewed the bed, smashed my anxiety into little ball and thought about the zoo. Paige, who is one of those New Yorkers with no driver's license, told me how she gets to the zoo. Although we used the internet, we didn't use the Chicago Transit Authority's equivalent of Mapquest driving directions. I guess that's the poseur's way. So, armed with some new knowledge, I approached the CTA. I fumbled some with the fare card vendor and then over finding the right slot on the bus to put said fare card into, but ultimately sat looking out the window while traveling down Fullerton Avenue feeling not-at-all mortified with myself. I got off the bus at Halsted and continued on foot down Fullerton on instinct. I would be completely screwed if the city were totally unfamiliar to my eyes. I got a little lost because when I got to the corner of lawn with a sign that announced, "Lincoln Park," it felt like the bottom edge of it to me so I turned left/north and walked for several blocks until I got to a big, gilt statue of Alexander Hamilton (Why do we have a big, gilt statue of Alexander Hamilton? Who raised the money for it and why? Out of some vague sense of civic duty that a city should honor the country's early statesmen? Can such an emotionally distant motivation really contribute to the common good?) Anyway, at the big, gilt statue of Alexander Hamilton, I turned toward the lake/east since nothing in the park I'd walked along seemed at all familiar. It's amazing what you never see when you travel by car, as I have in Chicago my whole life. It turns out that this area was just blocks from places I have seen plenty of times when attempting to park for events, attractions and softball games, but it was totally unfamiliar. When I got to the water (Diversey Marina?), I turned south again, out of instinct and the glimpse of a sign on my periphery for parking. This choice was rewarded, ultimately, with a view of the zoo just past, you guessed it, Fullerton. I was never lost; I just had little frame of reference to identify where I was.

The zoo was pleasant, I wrote about the past few days in my journal and then I reversed my route to head home, minus the lost time in the park. A hispanic man in a white van wolf-whistled at me and hung out the window as they drove by, just to be sure I knew I was the target. How nice.

So, I went home, watched a DVD of the Gilmore Girls, ate whatever I felt like and am now spending some time with you all. I wonder what I'll do tomorrow?

No comments: