There is something deeply disorienting about being back, for a stretch, in a city you have not resided in in the last 10 years. To drag out the cliche - it's like a dream - much of it achingly familiar, filled with ancient memory that has slowly taken to rot. But from there it begins to fragment - walking around last night, trying to buy cigarettes, but every place I used to know where to buy them had closed. Went to a show the other night, saw no one I knew but re-met half a dozen people from highschool, who are now puffier or sober, though I do not remember if I ever did more than bum a light or grace them with sidelong glances back in the eleventh-grade day, we are adults now, so we are cordial.
All actions and interactions, all strip malls, parking lots and grassy park slopes - the scrim of it's shadow hangs over. It's a muddied, vertiginous slide show of "When did they build that hotel?" and remembering holding my friends hair while she vomited in the bathroom at First Ave at a Jesus Lizard show and corners where I got frostbite while waiting for the school bus.
So far, I deal with it by obsessively walking my mom's cocker spaniel, trying to figure out a way to scam a library card as a non-resident and chain smoking my little sister's Parliments. The hours pass quietly, without much hassle, being free of well-worn Chicago distractions and the warm social tangle of running in to a dozen people you know every time you leave the house to do most anything. The steady calm -- filling the non-work hours with books, household tending, animal care and a little sewing -- is like a slightly more cosmopolitan Little House on the Prairie re-run.Posted by Jessica at September 7, 2004 06:02 PM | TrackBack