Water- Stunted History- Numerology- The Crotch- Continuum Has No Mean- Don’t Be a Car- Tautologies Are Not Tautologies- Beginnings Are Fragile- Affected Nostalgia- Actual Child Not Playing- Affordable Care- Escape in Movement- Reflection.
If you look closely, the drop isn’t dropping at all. Like a lump of dough, molecules droop down, and then yank the rest after it. Rolling awkwardly.
Outdoor seating at The Wormhole Coffee- gets its name from being a portal to the past. Décor includes: Care Bears, He-Man, NES. Even a DeLorean, like from the movie. Hipsters wax nostalgic. Because they’re still children? Because they lack history? We assume history begins and ends with our life. Yet for the body to survive, a single cell needs to die.
The address is 1462 n. Milwaukee. Add those and you have 13- a bad number. Add those and you have 4, an even worse number- if four was the guiding principle of the universe we’d have only leap years and instead of jazz marching bands conducted by carpenters. Thank God for 5. Actually, thank 1, that paradoxical number (all the ones make one).
Located a block and a half south of the three-way Damen/North/Milwaukee intersection I once heard referred to- not without affection- as “the crotch” by a young man on his phone in a bus heading west on Fullerton toward said crotch. I thought yes that’s just what it is: a convergence of deep angles, harboring grit that the wind won’t blow away. The center of so much attention.
Admittedly, the very thing I’m doing to set myself apart is exactly what everyone else is doing: passing judgment. Rapidly. Someone’s dressed better than you? They try too hard. Somebody looks plain? Certainly, they lack inspiration. Too loud/too quiet, too fast/too slow… too this/too that. Only I am the Measure of All Things, the Middle Way, Goldilocks with straight red hair.
More than once I hear behind me, “Learn how to fucking drive!” It’s a shame how aggressive cyclists have become. Just a month ago a cyclist, failing to stop, killed a pedestrian in San Francisco. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was riding fixed. Once, you had to fight for the right to ride, but not anymore. Not here, at least. Don’t ride a bike like you’d ride a car. Enjoy the wind, stay in the momentum, and embody a less linear, more cyclical way of moving.
[part of the problem is assuming there is a problem. if i’m always seeking the answer, i’ll always be seeking the answer. too often i don’t do things because i convince myself i’m unprepared. that’s one reason i’m beginning this, right now]
I go inside to have my tea infused for the second time. In the corner are a dozen faces, fixated on the same point in space. I figure, from their mute anticipation and twisted necks, that it’s the bottom of the ninth or the president’s announcing a string of assassinations committed by a rogue CIA agent. Nope, one of them clutches a rectangled controller while the rest watch him play Super Mario Bros. 3. The one where Mario wears a coonskin hat for no explicable reason. I’m convinced they’ve played this game and expressed their love for it more as adults than they ever did as children.
As the Earth turns away from the sun like it’s never going to look back, long shadows are cast by the tiniest bumps. Finally, hazy inferno lifted, insects crawl quietly from their dank quarters and pick up shortwave radio on their antennae. Gum remains on the ground: flat, black, hoarding all light, for all intents and purposes not even gum at all. Half the street is bathed in twilight, while the suds roll into the drain. Of course nothing is certain? An ambulance races to a children’s hospital. 30 year olds walk past, giddy, pawing a new toy helicopter.
Earlier this week the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. Afterward, Obama said the Supreme Court also upheld the principle that people who can afford health insurance should take the responsibility to buy health insurance. Right or left, everyone bristled at these words. Because we citizens are called on to make a sacrifice. We haven’t done that since like, the second world war.
I came here before having a breakdown, back at the apartment I’m staying at. I almost lost my shit because after a week of getting my shit together (moving to Chicago and seeking gainful employment) I slowed down for a moment and then stopped altogether. The movement of the bike ride to Wicker Park helped. Riding a bike isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but the day I ride a bike and it fails to make me feel better I’ll probably kill myself.
Streams of sun ricochet off a broad plane of glass on the other side of the street and shatter the shade over here, as if it were setting in the East. Neatly framed by a single window is a drop of fire. Though just because it’s miniaturized doesn’t mean you can stare directly into it.