Saturday, June 10, 2006

polish the chrome, head for the porch

Summer has taken hold of Chicago: cafes and restaurants have spilled onto the sidewalks, porches and stoops have once again become gathering spots for hours on end, and parks are near capacity with softball, soccer, block parties, picnics, and the like. This will be my third summer living in the city proper, and while I keep saying that I'm going to get out my neighborhood more often, I keep getting pulled into my favorite local rituals-- it's hard to find reasons not to sit under the palm trees at Sultan's market or to stroll around the quiet tree-lined streets of the Ukrainian Village visiting the local dogs. Working full time with projects on the side will do that to you: you get so busy, by the time the weekend comes around, all you'd really like to do is slow down and enjoy your neighborhood.

The season has a different tone to it this year, with nostalgia settling in the creases. I know I'll live in Chicago again, but for now it's a great excuse to keep myself moving about the city. As of last week I've announced to my company that I'll be leaving, a situation saturated with both anxiety and anticipation. I find myself explaining my pending transition to many people, and they offer me mixed reactions. Some are genuinely pleased, many have wished me well, several have been silenced by befuddlement or what seems to be general apathy. The idea of quitting a job and seeking experiences abroad doesn't match up to what some people think of as secure, but I don't know if I've ever had the same definition of security-- besides the fact that their idea of it may have been shattered awhile ago. I do know that perceiving myself in a position where I feel I have options for my future, where I sense an amount of choice in the direction I am pursuing, is one of privilege: up until two years ago, this trip or any like it would have been absolutely out of the question. The plans are in motion, but until August, there's much to do in Chicago.

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