Monday, October 1, 2018

Interesting Rides

I love riding the elevator of my condo in the sky.  There are so many opportunities to observe and engage with the parade of people randomly available for a moment of my day.  And, since my building is home to every age and demographic, there's often someone who sparks my interest.

Yesterday, when the door opened, a young man dressed in a suit and tie but wearing athletic shoes and carrying a back pack, was leaning against the wall next to a skateboard.  I joked: "Is that your transportation?"  "Yes! I use it to get to work,"  he offered enthusiastically.  I'm thinking a few blocks, but then he says: "And I work downtown."

Maybe in January I'll see him with snowshoes or skis.  I'll be waiting with interest.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Feeling Comfortable

Yesterday, I decided to attend the Meetup of the Chicago Philosophers Group.  There were a few food-stained, and probably formerly tobacco stained academics; a beautiful young woman with enormously long hair; a Vietnam vet; and enough attractive young men and women to spark my interest.

While chatting with the man next to me, I asked:  "How did you get here?"  (I was thinking: car, train, bus?)  He replied, "In what sense?"

I knew I had found my natural place.

Photo:  Only one guess needed, right?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A 9/11 Story

When my friend Phyllis called, I told her how I remembered right away that she and Camille were vacationing in Paris when the 9/11 attack occurred.  The two were among the many thousands stranded in one place or another as the skies were cleared.  I've heard Phyllis tell about the extra time they spent in France (and the money!). An unforgettable moment.

Today, she added to the story in a poignant way.  During their unexpected stay, Phyllis was determined to track down an artist so she could purchase a poster she loved.  She finally was able to knock on his door and the poster was being secured.  Phyllis said: "What is your name?"  He looked down and quietly said: "I can't tell you."  "Why is that", she replied.  Finally, he whispered: "Because my name is Mohammed." 

"Oh," she cried.  "That's okay.  You must not be ashamed."  And, she gave him a hug.  The next time I'm over at Phyllis' house, I want to take a look at the "9/11 Poster."  It is signed by the artist.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Tomorrow Never Tells

Last week I heard a Nobel prize winning economist remind us that the stories we tell to make sense of life are told only in retrospect.  We can't nail it down as a mystery, tragedy or comedy until it occurs. Only then can we assemble the characters and plot.

And sometimes, even though we are the only species with language to tell our tales, no story can explain.  I'm thinking today of a Chicago story. 

A young man -- working as an Uber  driver --  is hacked to death by a teenager he picked up for the fare.  Now, his mother finds her way across class and race from Winnetka to the southwest side.
She grieves with the other mothers in a support group for the families left behind by the gun.

When murder is the author, we'll never figure out where to place the book on the shelf.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Unexpected Magic

Sunday in the park.  I was sharing a shady bench with an old man when a pretty young girl came by walking her dog.  "Wanna see a magic trick?,"  he asked.  "Sure," she smiled.  He pulled a deck of cards out of his pocket, shuffled, and went into the familiar "pick a card" routine.

I'm sure his card tricks reside on the lowest rung of magic, but they're still good enough to get a smile out of me.

Eventually, I got up and continued my walk.  "Hmmm, he did'nt ask me,"  I thought.  "So what.  I may not be in the center of the action anymore, but sometimes there's magic close enough to enjoy."

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Quantum Rudy

Recently Rudy Guiliani made a statement that everyone noticed:  "Truth isn't truth," he said.  Depending on your loyalty to Trump, you probably either rolled your eyes or ignored the quote.

In an entirely different context, the "Truth isn't truth" remark carries some weight.  I'm not going to pretend that I grasp the quantum mechanics view of the universe accepted by physicists except to say that things are not what they seem and defy common sense.  At the sub-atomic level (and I mean really small) the "truth" is hard to pin down.  And, there is a necessary collaboration between the observer and the observed. 

Which brings me back to Rudy.  His willing collaborators are ready to accept what the rest of us regard as nonsense.  It all gets very squishy, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Am I Lonely?

Recently I was told that I seemed lonely.  "Me?",  I thought.  "I don't think of myself that way. Am I afraid to admit it?  Hmmm.  I'll have to give this some thought".

I didn't live alone until late into adulthood.  Childhood, schools, marriages, children.  That took up a big chunk. And yes, when it came it was a jolt.  Now, I can't imagine having anyone around all the time.  What about my quiet, my routines, my noises, my preferences?  Could I, would I, rearrange any of it to make space?

But what about love? Companionship?  When his wife died, one man I know immediately attached himself to the widow of his best friend.  So far, so good.  Another friend has been able to insist on part time togetherness.  An understood arrangement. Equally appealing to both.

"There are a lot of witty women on the internet," says another male searcher.  My favorite line:  "I still wear the same size necklace as I did in high school."

Alone is one thing.  Loneliness another.  I'll pause at that.