Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mermaid for a Morning

I was up at 6 a.m. to swim laps. To clear my mind, etc. Yesterday was a really sucky day for whatever reason. I looked forward to starting a new day.

When I got down to the pool, there was only one person there. Usually there’s at least a few folks swimming or in the hot tub or sometimes there’s an aerobics class; so splashing, bubbling, music and general activity. But this morning, all was silent.

When is the last time the world around you has been completely silent?

I don’t remember. Sure, there are quiet moments at work, but there’s always someone typing or someone talking faraway. This whole total utter silence thing was completely new and totally weird.

Usually I aim to swim 60+ laps. But the pool forced me into a trance me today, and I could not concentrate long enough to count laps. I absentmindedly bumped into the wall a few times, but I wasn’t going fast enough for it to matter. One time I stopped to contemplate something strange floating in the pool. I think it was a piece of the floor. Everything was all too peaceful to take swimming seriously. I think I just splashed around in slow motion, not remembering to worry about whatever was on my mind before. I wondered if this was what it was like to be a mermaid. It was a lovely morning at the pool. I like being a mermaid.

A swimmer entered the lane next to me and broke my trance. I swam a good hard last 10 laps and went off to get ready for work. The locker room made me sad. So much blow drying and hair straightening and mascaraing and eye shadowing. I wondered why women feel they have to spend so much time making themselves pretty. Does natural beauty exist?

Then I went to find a spot at the mirror to blow dry my hair.

Mermaids don’t exist and neither does a world where beauty doesn’t matter.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer in the City: Part 6

Ask me where I’m from, I say Chicago. But little known secret: I’ve never spent an entire summer here. So begins my series of chronicling my first summertime.

Rudy and I met when I was working one of my many temp jobs. We worked in the warehouse at Threadless for one of their holiday sales, and between pulling and shipping tees, we became fast friends. But when the temp job ended, we hardly saw each other. Since I FINALLY had a low-key weekend ahead of me, I thought it was time to make time for my old friend. Funny that Rudy roped me into doing the highest-key thing I have done all summer, which was running around Chicago in the hot hot sun for three straight hours all while Facebooking, Twittering and Foursquaring.

It was a social media urban scavenger hunt organized by FIJI water, and we were sponsored by 3 o' clock club, a daily deals site in Chicago and LA. We got a list of clues and tasks, and got points for every task we completed and uploaded on various social media sites. So we did stuff like this:

Try to sell a Domino's pizza (We actually got one! But when the guy heard he had to wait 5 minutes for his pizza, he changed his mind. BOO!)

Do yoga poses in front of the Merchandise Mart.

Mix drinks, which was by far one of my favorite challenges!

Other things on our list of tasks was to take a water taxi, kayak in the Chicago river, and sing happy birthday to someone at Bubba Gump. Completing all 20+ tasks in three hours would have been impossible, but I think we got 8 or 9. In one word, the whole event was completely exhausting. We ran and ran and ran some more. I think I sweat more in three hours than I have all summer — and for as hot of a summer as it's been, that is a LOT of sweating. But when all was said and done, I was happy I spent three hours of my life with Rudy running to and fro in one of the bestest cities in the world.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Summer in the City: Part 5

I look like a frog or something. Whatevs.

Ask me where I’m from, I say Chicago. But little known secret: I’ve never spent an entire summer here. So begins my series of chronicling my first summertime.

I really had no intention of going to Lollapalooza this year. Even though I’ve been several times and have seen almost all my favorite bands play there, I’d much rather hang out with my cat than pay one million dollars* to stand in the sun for three days straight. But then I had an opportunity to volunteer with one of the food vendors and go to the fest for free. And Lolla ended up becoming one of my favorite weekends of the summer.

The thing is, when something’s free, you don’t feel gypped if it sucks (I’m looking at you Lady Gaga). And when something’s free, you feel like you really lucked out when it’s amazing (like The Strokes, who I decided to see just to get away from the Gaga yawn-fest. The second I got close enough to hear their set, I remembered how much I listened to The Strokes in high school. Nostalgia + music = hooray). As far as bands go, I probably saw an equal number of highlights and lowlights, which isn’t too shabby for a festival.

But then, there was lots of other free stuff - mainly booze and afterparties - that made this Lolla more memorable than all the rest and which led to a lot of dancing and singing, which led to more late nights in one weekend than I typically have in a month, which led to unbelievable fatigue and sore muscles throughout the next day when I was repeating the drink/dance process. Meanwhile, I chatted with a lot of really cool people: chefs from two of my favorite Chicago restaurants and a few artists who were, would you believe it? just normal people who like to talk to other normal people about normal people stuff. Now only if I had met Dave 1, that would have made my life. Apparently I met his also famous brother though, so I guess that’s good enough. Good thing I spent a whole weekend at a music festival and I don’t know anything about music. It doesn’t matter though. Fun matters. And I had fun!

*very close to the actual price of the tickets.

Friday, August 06, 2010

A Missed Connection

I’m gearing up for a Sept. 1 move, so it’s time to start liquidating my possessions. Several months ago, I bought an old-school blender/mixer/food processor/meat grinder on Craigslist, but I rarely used it (I guess I just prefer to buy my meats pre-ground). So it was back to Craigslist.

I took some photos, wrote up a description that made it clear this set included all its parts except the bowls and slapped a $40 price tag on it. An enthusiastic woman emailed me asking if she could pay $75. Okay? This was obviously unusual, but I would accept whatever she wanted to pay.

Whenever I buy electronics on Craigslist, I ask the person to plug it in and show me how it works; really I just want to see IF it works. When this woman came to my apartment to pick up my Oster Kitchen Center, she just asked that I bring everything down and put it in her car. This seemed weird, too. Didn’t she want to make sure I wasn’t selling her something broken?

A couple days later, an email. She thought I had scammed her. She thought it was a newer stainless steel model with bowls. “I learned a lesson about checking everything and trusting less.”

I felt awful. My description was completely accurate, but I should have asked why she wanted to pay me double. So I felt like I did mislead her. Why oh why did I take her money? This transaction was not good for my karama. She was right. I had not been a trustworthy person.

I emailed back apologized for the misunderstanding. I told her she was welcome to come back for $35. I included my original posting and told her she was right, checking things carefully was a must when dealing with Craigslist. And that there were scammers on Craigslist, but I didn’t want to be one.

A few hours later, she responded. “You restored my faith in mankind!!!! I most likely responded to another posting. Keep the extra and use it to do good, it will come back to you ten-fold!” I felt better. I told her I would use the extra cash to buy books for the kids’ book drive at work. And I will.