old (2008), Uncategorized

a tale of two lunches

There’s nothing like spending most of the day in Lincoln Square — and comparing it to last week’s visit to the western suburbs — to remind me how grateful I am to live in this neighborhood. Around 10:30am, I headed out to The Dressing Room to return a skirt I’d purchased on New Year’s Eve and found myself in the midst of a markdown frenzy, and since they know me so well, the staff members were advising me on what was on clearance and what wasn’t, etc.

And so I walked out with about $300 worth of stuff for $120 — including a $190 dress (which I almost bought on New Year’s Eve for full price) for $85. Yay! After my buying spree, I snagged W. and we headed up to Cafe Selmarie, and on the way I ran into V., who lives not too far away, in front of Costello’s. He told me he’d recently discovered Karyn’s Cooked and we chatted for a bit, and then off to the cafe, where there was a ten-minute wait, and so we went to the Book Cellar to grab Fellowship of the Rings, which he has to read for school, and The Best American Essays of 2007 (I need some inspiration). Back to Cafe Selmarie… where I had a cup of wonderful white-bean vegetarian chili with cornbread and a field greens salad and yummy green tea, and these adorable old (as in ancient) ladies were next to us and complimented me on my parenting skills and my hair and my outfit (yay for ancient city ladies!)… and then to Enjoy: An Urban General Store, where I found THE BEST birthday card for Slavegirl and a cute pair of earrings… and Hanger 18 (where I saw a tattoo-themed mirror I might go back to purchase) and Eclecticity (which I’m staking out until the perfect set of vintage dishes and/or china shows up) and Laurie’s Planet of Sound (where I saw no less than a half-dozen folks I know) and then peeked in the crystal shop on Eastwood before finally walking home.

And it occurs to me that this is an average day in my life in Lincoln Square. (Well, except for the spending lots of money part.) I visit places I love, I see friends everywhere, the people in the shops know me and what I like, I feel (and am) accepted, and almost everything I could ever want in the entire world either exists or can be ordered from places that exist in a one-mile radius of my apartment. This is so radically different from how I feel in the suburbs — a place I can’t even talk about without sounding as though I’m discussing disgusting bodily functions of people with the Ebola virus — where, to be sure, there is a lot of stuff but nothing that I find exciting or unusual or atypical or, well, my sort of stuff. And of course there’s also the collective disdain I encounter when venturing past Oak Park or Evanston, and that doesn’t help my mental state.

Anyhow, between today’s fun and yesterday’s fabulous thrifting with the super Slavegirl, I am happy. This is my world. I love being here, inhabiting this space, exploring my universe, and simply existing. As Lin Brehmer is wont to say, It’s good to be alive. Indeed.