Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mercurial Days

This morning started off with meeting Beth for breakfast. We walked over to Andersonville to Svea, but the wait there looked long, so we headed to Ann Sather instead. Honestly, how can you go wrong at a restaurant where cinnamon rolls come as a side with your breakfast?

We walked back, stopping at my place to grab a coat I was giving her, then to her place for me to see her wedding dress (general wedding date is May 2008) She’s being as frugal as possible, and has been offered four wedding dresses from people who no longer/never needed the one they have. She’s pretty level-headed, and her point is, “yeah, I either do all that shopping for a dress I will wear once and which will cost the same as a down payment on a car, surrounded by all those really sane women and store clerks, or I take a dress I like that pretty much fits and…did I mention is FREE?”

The dress is lovely and very much her style. I admired it while one of her cats, a hopeless neurotic about personal space, growled and leaped for my legs whenever I walked too close (although his personal line in the sand seemed arbitrary). He wasn’t going for blood, and I had on jeans, so no harm done by the fat crazy cat.

This afternoon I took the El and a bus to the book meetup group. I’d never attended and was looking forward to exploring a new café. The Mercury Café is a cavernous, tin-ceilinged, wood-floored storefront space. The serving counter gets lost in the vastness. Our group was meeting at a circle of couches in the center; a Scrabble meetup group occupied the tables to the rear; and a ballroom dance meetup group practiced at the front. Along the sides, people read or worked on their laptops, tuning out the called-out step counts, the clack of scrabble tiles, and my announcement that I had hated Little Women with a passion (“Oh, why be a headstrong writer when you can marry a man old enough to be your grandfather and run an orphanage for boys?”)

It was pleasant and I was happy to explore another part of town. Paintings by local artists hung on the walls, and I gave my card to the gal behind the counter. This place is perfect for my stuff. It’s funky, it’s mellow, and it’s very community-oriented. I loved it. And I think my chances are good to have something up around May.

Afterward I took the bus back to the Red Line, where a growing crowd and I waited almost an hour for a train while three Out of Service cars whizzed by. Once on the train, we had power outages, slow zones, and an announcement that the train was going express to the end of the line, and another announcement following telling us it wasn’t. The track work that is supposed to be the Mother of all Clusterf*cks starts tomorrow; I’m guessing that today was the preview. CTA employees have been handing out pamphlets describing what will happen; the CTA’s suggestion for commuters during all of this is not to provide extra alternate service, but to suggest that people stagger their commute (because so many of us get to decide when we start work), and to “seek alternate methods.” Yes. The CTA is basically saying, “we have no plan during this; you are on your own.” I’ve started calling the pamphlets The Book of the Dead, and I’ve already mapped out my bike route to work.

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