Drifting this way and that

17 07 2017

These days I’m floating, a bit askew, a few inches from the ground.

I can touch down when I need to—when I have to teach or work my second job—but other than that, I’m untethered from the world.

This has been going on for awhile. It’s not unpleasant, but it’s not, well, it’s not much of anything. Better than bone-crushing anxiety or quaking depression, a slow dissolve ends in sorrow, nonetheless.

I noted a coupla’ posts ago that I don’t know if I’ll remain in New York, if I can afford to stay here, but as real as the financial questions are, the really real issue is that I don’t feel really real. I’m not quite here.

Brooklyn, Chicago, if I’m not, here, I won’t be, there.

Again, not an emergency; the lack of urgency, perhaps, is part of the problem. I’m not drowning beneath, so am not fighting for air. I’m low in the air, not fighting at all.





Well, something’s lost but something’s gained

20 04 2016

This is the year we all turn 50.

School-year, I mean, so some of us got a head start last fall, but as of this past weekend, only one us is still waiting on her birthday.

B. had left a message for me on my birthday saying Hey, let’s all get together in Chicago in April, and mirabilis dictu, we all got together in Chicago in April.

We’re old now—one of us is soon to be a grandmother—and we have the wrinkles and dyed hair to prove it. And yes, there were discussions of creaking bones and medical tests and demurrals from that last glass of beer or wine. And yes, we talked about high school classmates and who died, who divorced, who married whose ex, and of old crushes and friends who’ve fallen away.

But mostly we talked and walked and laughed. We walked to Millennium Park and the Navy Pier, took distorted pictures of ourselves in the Bean (I have no idea what it’s actually called), wandered through the old Chicago Public Library building and decided that paying 10 bucks to get married by a justice of the peace in one of its splendid halls would be a very good deal. We took an architectural tour via the Chicago River (we were all terribly impressed with the tour guide) and wandered around the WGN building gazing at and occasionally patting the embedded stones from around the world.

We ate Chicago-style pizza.

Now, here I have to mention that I tried really (well, pretty) hard not to be a tiresome New Yorker and comment on everything Second City, but when it came to the deep-dish pizza, I had to say “Chicago-style”. (B. did, however, agree with me that “pizza” really did mean New York pizza.)

Anyway, it was good.

The whole weekend was good. The conversation zipped around and around and we were all quite agreeable with one another. I swore too much and P. and T. competed with how many steps each took, and the four of us in line for the river tour weren’t entirely sure the other two would make it back from the bathroom in time, but as we parted on Sunday we all agreed we should do this again, maybe in Chicago, maybe in Milwaukee, but yes, definitely, we should get together to eat and drink and walk and talk and laugh and laugh and laugh, at ourselves and all we’ve been through and all that’s yet to come.





Autumnsongs: U2

30 10 2014

You knew this one was coming.

I thought I’d get to it earlier, but this whole month has been unusually warm, and when I think of “October”, I think not just of a fading sun through fallen leaves, but sweatshirts and collars pulled up and knuckles reddened from the chill.

Some New York Octobers, yes, but not this one.

Still, it wouldn’t really do to play this in November, and today the wind did smack me around a bit, so why not now?

It’s lovely and melancholy not too much, in the way that U2 is often too much.

I loved that about U2, actually, that they were so often too much, too hot—never cool. I loved the righteousness and the politics and the absolute emo—a term nowhere in evidence back in the day—of the joint.

U2, in other words, were never cool, and I was all right with that.

Still, “Seconds” was about as cool as they got, in terms of perspective. It was angry, yes, but in a kind of can-you-fuckin’-believe-it way.

Why is this an autumnsong? The detachment, perhaps, but more so that I associate this song with that first semester at college, when the air in Madison was definitely chill, and I was running around trying to soak up all of the politics my skinny 18-year-old self could handle.

One weekend just about tipped me over: a Mondale/Ferraro rally (with which I was very involved) at the Capitol on Friday, an anti-nuke march in Chicago on Saturday, and a speech by Gloria Steinem in Milwaukee on Sunday—bless that skinny little heart, but I made them all.

The Chicago rally was a bit odd. I went alone (on the bus), wiped out, broke, and marched with I don’t know how many thousands of others through the foggy streets of Chicago, before we we emptied ourselves into a park to hear, oh man, was it Helen Caldicott? could Petra Kelly have been there? It seems like it, but thirty years on, and memory, like the sun, fades.

Well, except for Jesse Jackson, hometown son. I remember him, up next to the stage, I remember him. Man, the man could speak.

So, “Seconds” is a foggy Chicago Saturday in October, thousands, tens of thousands of us marching against the bomb, against our annihilation, and for our lives.