Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Chicago is big and interesting and full of toll roads and taxidrivers who love to honk. Even if you're stopped because going forward means running over six or seven pedestrians. Especially then, perhaps. Our last act in Chicago was to get smoothies from Jamba Juice, and since we had our car at the time and there was no street parking available for several blocks and we weren't about to pay $19 to park in a lot for the ten minutes it would take, this involved letting me out quickly at a red light and me calling to read the menu to Eric, then ordering, then calling back when I had our drinks. I stepped outside in time to see Eric on the corner, trying to turn right on a green light but unable to because of the thick stream of pedestrians crossing, and a taxi honking steadily at him from behind. I yelled at the taxi driver, though I doubt he heard me. Then I ran after Eric because he was finally able to turn and couldn't stop, and eventually we met up in an alley halfway down the block. We are not moving to Chicago.

However, the rest of the trip was great. We went to the art museum, which was free on Friday, and laughed at the modern art section--there were a few interesting pieces, but the artistic merit in the majority of them was in the descriptions. A canvas in one or two colors with a couple of big gouges in it: "In Meanderings of my Summer Mind (or whatever), Artist X moved beyond conventional artistic envisioning by transitioning the medium outside of the two-dimensional plane using either of two alternate postmodern techniques--cutting, or [Italian word], and tearing, [other Italian word]--in order to invoke the kinetodynamic realm of motion and shape." There was what looked like the side of a garage, complete with misspelled random words, measurements, and what looked like kids' scrawls, and was described as a masterpiece of modern technique; there was a pile of wrapped hard candy that was described as representing the artist (or artist's friend?) in his struggle with AIDs or cancer; visitors were encouraged to take a piece, thereby representing the gradual eking away of the victim's life; meanwhile, the art museum would restock the candy, representing a "virtual immortality." Eric couldn't get over this one. "Pile of candy!" he would say every once in a while during the rest of our stay.

On Saturday we took a bus to the Museum of Science and Industry and overheard a man haranguing another man about...something; what I really remember is the sentence "Even mammal dinosaurs were feathered, so they're wrong, they're all wrong!" I have no idea whether the second man was a friend of the first one or was just a hapless stranger. We went to Shedd Aquarium--which was okay but not impressive, but our feet hurt so much it didn't really matter--and the Field Museum, which should by rights have taken two or three days, and the planetarium, and the Sears Tower. We walked along the beach and ate at interesting restaurants and had a good time.

And now we are having a good time being home, with our refinished bathtub and lack of need to be standing up for eight hours every day. Contrast is everything, I guess, and vacations are good, but home is very nice indeed.

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