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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04


2004-04-30 ... 11:09 a.m.

DIVISION STREET ANTHROPOLOGY

The painfully slow, ghettofabulous, #70 bus is endlessly fascinating to me, with its great eavesdropping opportunities and scenery. East of the bus route, Division is all Gold Coast frat-boy bars and pricey home stores, but at Clark and Division where the bus comes around the corner to start its journey, it's all about those payday loanshark places, the Jewel that gets robbed at gunpoint every few weeks, and lots and lots of fast-food chicken. Westward, fortunes shift block by block. BMW dealership. Train tracks notorious for their hooker-solicitation opportunities. Fancy condos. Weird suburban-type strip mall with lots of parking. More fancy condos. The remains of the Cabrini-Green highrises, which cause the mind to boggle at the sheer what were they thinking-ness of the urban planning, and bring back memories of my childhood fascination with Chicago housing projects---in the 1980s, when Cabrini-Green was always in the news for cop shootings and mob rule, we'd drive the family car past the hulking monolith of simmering caged violence on the way to my violin lessons and I would stare out the window,* all intrigued but simultaneously aware, even at that age, that my whitebread anthropological tourism in the country of poverty and disenfranchisement was slightly shameful. More fancy condos. The awesome Milwaukee/Ashland intersection, with its many wig stores and carts with Mysterious Fried Items for sale. The Gold Star (hi Gold Star! thanks for putting up with my drunk ass!) Numerous hip restaurants. The big ugly hospital and the exact spot where Chris died, where I did nothing to help because there was nothing to do to help, where I stood in the freezing cold while cops roped off the "scene," and the 911 outgoing call is still logged on my cell phone, which makes me feel sick but it seems wrong to erase it from memory. (Hah. Sometimes I make the irony and I don't even realize it.) Then finally the giant Puerto Rican flag that signifies Humboldt Park, where I disembark and walk to Kat's house to drink wine and see her giant baby. (Seriously, her daughter is gorgeous and wonderful but it's a little frightening to see a six-month-old who could kick Nora's ass. Hopefully Nora learned some sneaky fighting-dirty tricks in the orphanage to give her the advantage, should Kat and I ever decide to pit our babies against each other like trained roosters.)

*This is the best thing I overheard on the bus yesterday: an old black man muttered, "White people always be looking out the window" as he passed my seat, where I was, indeed, looking out the window. White people are always looking out the window. Korean people put food in their mouths, chew, and swallow it. Egyptians? They are always covering their genital areas with clothing when going out in public. And don't get me started on how those Guatemalans celebrate birthdays with their families. Yeesh.

It was fun to hang out with Kat, and with our husbands and our girl-children, although I still get that little funny moment of mental displacement when doing so. This was intensified dramatically when Kat told a (completely self-aware) story of how she felt startled to realize that on one recent day she had visits from her gardener (a personal friend, but still: a paid gardener), her nanny, and her cleaning lady, and I told the story of how we recently had an alarm system installed, since (a) it is really a minor miracle that I have not yet had my place robbed in Chicago (as every single friend of mine has), (b) big tax refund caused by the kid-having and the fact that I still don't quite understand words like "withholding," and (c) my irrational fear that some criminal is going to bust into Nora's room and spirit her away like the Lindbergh baby.

And hey! Speaking of the alarm system! Installed yesterday, and set off accidentally, by me, less than eighteen hours later! I hate when I do idiotic things despite having made solemn vows not to do idiotic things. In this case I had told myself eight million times, as I got ready for work, don't forget to turn off the alarm before opening the door, donít forget to turn off the alarm before opening the door. don't forget. So then I finish with hair-flattening (damn this humidity) and dressing (damn these workplace standards) in record time and that gives me time---deadly, dastardly time!---to have a second thought, which was hey I should throw in a load of laundry, to save my wonderful husband time and make him love me more, and maybe even alleviate some of the Mystery Guilt I feel about not being here during the weekdays to do more of the Nora-wrangling and household chores, even though WHAT IS THAT GUILT ABOUT, IS IT MY CATHOLIC UPBRINGING OR SOME FUCKED-UP BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE OR WHAT. Scoop up the laundry, grab the keys, open the door to head down to the basement, and WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP goes the alarm. I sprinted to the keypad and shut it off after only four whoops, but not in time to prevent LT from flying out of bed in his underwear to meet me at the keypad while having his own personal heart attack, and to listen to me apologize for approximately half an hour. The alarm place called and we gave them the secret word, and I wonder how many of their false-alarm calls are from people who just received their systems. And how many are from people who have only room in their heads for one thought at a time before 7 am, like me.

So the moral of the story is that in between all this alarm-having, baby-milestone-discussing, gardener/nanny/cleaning-lady-hiring, bedroom-painting (this weekend---the other part of the tax refund), Costco-membership-purchasing (such! cheap! diapers!), bus-riding, and funny-satire-reading, I am itching to spend the weekend running around in torn tights, swilling malt liquor and spray-painting anarchy symbols on everything. Who's with me?

---mimi smartypants bombed the suburbs.

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