Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Zen of Glass Cutting

Not wanting to be caught out, I got up extra-early this morning to try my car, which cranked but wouldn’t turn over. OK. I’d gotten up early enough to take the two buses that the CTA Trip Planner said I’d need to get to glass class. The ride wasn’t long, and the first bus was at the end of my street.

I grabbed my tool box, which is full of not only glass tools but all my scraps of glass (in other words, heavy), and walked east to the mechanic’s. There I left my key and the location of the car. From there I headed west to Clark, three blocks away, to catch the first bus. It wasn’t far, but the toolbox became hard to carry, and my hands began to ache. Still, the trip to class was uneventful and actually pretty easy. I've been wanting to experiment with traveling as much as possible solely by public transit and bicycle (after all, I did this for seven years in Boston, where public transit is not nearly as good), and with the warm weather approaching I’m looking forward to it.

The second bus left me a short block from class. I stopped at the local Dunkin' Donuts for a bagel with veggie cream cheese and a coffee. While I waited, a little girl of about five, standing in line in front of me with her mother, stared at me very seriously, fascinated. Her mother was embarassed by it and kept tugging at the little girl's arm, which the girl ignored. I thought it was funny. I kept waving my fingers at the girl, who just regarded me with a serious frown, as though I were an interesting bug she wasn't sure she wanted to be near. I took my order and went to class, only to discover strawberry cream cheese on my bagel, which is just gross. So I returned and explained the situation to another woman there who impatiently asked what kind of bagel I wanted. I told her and she grimaced and huffed over to the toaster. I turned to he guy next to me. "Is it me? I mean, I'm not expecting her to fall over herself apologizing, it's just a bagel, but they gave me the wrong order and I had to walk back to fix it. Shouldn't she at least be trying to be courteous to me?"

He had been watching her interaction with me and shook his head in a "people are crazy" way. The woman, who was too preoccupied with being put out at my insolence at insisting that I get what I ordered (!) had to ask me twice to clarify the bagel and cream cheese I'd asked for.

I was the only one at class today. Fred was occupying himself at the main table with a ship model he was building. I told him of the incident, and he relayed that that DDs was owned by the people who also owned the shop next to his.

"One of the brothers was in the hospital, so I went in to ask how he was. Nis name is Nadeem or something like that, but he always called himseld Nad to me. I asked how Nad was, and the man said, 'WHO? WHO? WHAT YOU WANT! WHAT YOU WANT! WHAT YOU WANT!?!?!?!?!???' "

"Yeah, a particular family needs to take some City College night courses in Customer Service," I said.

So I ate my non-gross bagel, drank my coffee, and worked on my lamp. I managed to finish cutting most of the pieces for one of the panels. Fred thinks I should try a Tiffany-style lamp next because I love the small fiddly bits. Between his construction of tiny ship details and my cutting of tiny pieces of glass, we had a merry time. We talked about how we change as we grow older, and he jumped and said, “EXACTLY!” when I mentioned that I was less driven but also more content. He showed me the large window he’d restored for a church, and talked me through his approaches for repairing some other windows brought in to him. I love to learn how he approaches the work; he’s incredibly good and innovative.

I stayed until 2:00 and then left to catch my buses back so that I could head to Second City, where I was meeting three of my former classmates to discuss an upcoming gig we’d landed at a tavern next week. (Fred kindly let me leave my toolbox at his shop to save my tendonitis-prone hands).

So I met my buds and we talked about running order, roles, etc. They too had had the Conservatory 1 instructor that I’d had, and they also had not liked him at all. They loved their instructor for this semester, and encouraged me to try and stick it out with my Level 1 guy. When I explained that I wasn’t looking at improv as a career, just something to have fun with, they understood. Besides, I can always take classes elsewhere, or do weekend-intensive courses with instructors who are announced beforehand.

Once we got our lineup, one of them drove us to the tavern to see the layout. It’s a great place, and the back room has two fireplaces. We are psyched. Depending on how the layout goes we might have some challenges, but hey, it’s about improvisation, right?

Came back, starving, and headed to Ras Dashen to stuff my face on miser wat and various delectable sides. Now it’s time to clean the bunnies and have a nice relaxing evening with the critters.

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