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Beautiful Day

Sat, Aug 04, 2001 09:45PM -0600

Today was one of those days when it would be a criminal offense to stay inside. The blue-sky-bright-sun-80-degrees-with-a-slight-breeze weather could've come straight out of California. Ah, if only I had had someone to share it with. I suppose writing this down will have to do.

It's kind of neat having to wake up at 7am every day. It makes 9:30am seem obscenely late. When noon rolled around, I felt like I had frittered away a good chunk of the day already. On a weekday, I'd have had four hours of class by then. I didn't get out of the apartment until 12:45pm.

Even the radio seemed to be obliging today. All the songs reflected how bright and sunny it was. They played "Head over Heels" by Tears for Fears, "Beautiful Day" by U2, and "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure all in a row. And when I heard "I'm Real" by J Lo and Ja Rule, I laughed because it made me think of New York and my whirlwind trip last week, and how exactly a week ago I shared a sunrise over Brooklyn with Jen (And intermittently with Ben, who would wander back and forth between the kitchen and the living room, fiending for cigarettes and Diet Coke. Char was, alas, already asleep, having quite a first day in Gotham).

But it's all about the here-and-now, I suppose, and yet it's strange how even though today isn't even done yet, most of it is now just a memory. I remember gazing at the sweeping skyline of Chicago as I barrelled down the Kennedy Expressway and thinking, it is dramatic after all, even though the Hancock and the Sears Towers totally dwarf the surrounding buildings. I thought of how many times I've seen that panorama, how it's all-of-the-sudden magically familiar to me, and I thought of all the people I've shown them to.

After hitting some traffic, I made it to the Orange Line CTA station on Halsted and Archer by 1:30pm, parked my car, then got on a Loop-bound train. I suppose I am still waxing nostalgic over New York and was trying to recreate a subway experience. They're similar but different in ways that I don't know how to describe. I'm pretty sure the rhythm of the train tracks is different, but then sometimes it feels the same. Whatever. Me and my obsession with similarities. I got off at Library-State and Van Buren, had lunch at Taco Bell, then proceeded to try and study in the Chicago Public Library at 2:30pm. I actually got some work done, but they close at 5pm on Saturday, so I took off, got on a northbound Red Line train at Jackson and State, and got off at Grand Ave.

From there I walked over to Ohio and Michigan where the Virgin Megastore is. I smiled when I realized that that's exactly what I did last week at Union Square in New York after watching "Planet of the Apes". I went looking for Can't Slow Down by Lionel Ritchie because for some reason I woke up with "The Only One inside my head. (Just the refrain--the part that goes "And you turned me inside out, and you showed me what life was about, only you, the only one who stole my heart away." Yep, more atavistic memories from six hours drives between L.A. and San Jose when I was a little kid. I think my parents only had two tapes at the time--Lionel Ritchie and whatever tape had "Islands in the Stream" by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.) For some reason I thought I could find it for $9.99 but it was $12.99 instead. Yeah, I know I should get it, considering it does exceed my criteria for the purchase of a CD (three or more songs I like listening to.)

In any case, I went upstairs to get a double iced mocha, and I finished off the rest of my pathology word list. The jazz they were playing started getting to me though. No, nevermind, actually, it was the caffeine. My nerves felt all jangled and frayed, so I took off and hiked up Michigan Ave along with the tourists. After checking out Borders and having a hot dog at Downtown Dog on Rush St., I clambered down into the dank subway station on Chicago Av and caught a train down to State and Lake, where I transferred to an Orange Line train. I know there are "L"s in New York, but I realized what makes Chicago's unique: the sensation of floating between high-rises. It's odd that even though you're elevated, there are still several stories looming above you, and you can't really see the ground.

By then I was pretty tired, but still content. I mused about how it's impossible to be ecstatic every waking moment, but you can at least stay mildly amused.

Well, that wandered here and there a bit, and I wish I had taken more notes, but I think I got the gist of the day. I'm just hoping I can keep doing this and not worry about the impending darkness of winter. I'm seriously trying to collect drops of sunlight. I hope it works.

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