Today was the first day I felt human after a multi-day stretch of a butt-kicking cold. Took buses, trains, and walked all over Chicago and Evanston and back to Chicago and then back home as I carried out various errands.
(Sidenote: the Rogers Park branch of the Chicago Public Library is a fabulous place. You can make photocopies, for a small fee, and use a computer with high-speed Internet access, and take out books, DVDs, audio books and museum passes for free. And the people there are wonderful.)
It was cold but the sun was strong and I was euphoric after being relatively housebound for the past four days. My initial panic at finding no jobs to even apply for had been replaced with a Living In The Present calm of just enjoying the opportunity to have time. And I love my neighborhood: people at the Post Office call to each other by name, and a woman in line gave me a dime when I had only $3.00 to pay my $2.10 fee.
After buying inner tubes for my bike, I was heading east on Belmont and decided to give SP a call (a calling card I've signed up for allows me to call the UK from my cell; I love this).
"This Chicago moment brought to you by Campbell, Inc." I sang out when he answered. "I'm on Belmont, heading east, just coming up to Southport. Schuba's on the right."
We chatted, and he magnanimously informed me that I could get a job in China that paid the small fortune of $200 a month. This is less than one week of my unemployment. It gave me perspective.
"Now coming up on Sheffield," I called out.
"Yep, yep; that's a nice corner - Sheffield is nice," he said. I once mentioned a man who has a portable microphone system who preaches downtown on State ("You know God wants you to quit smoking.") I used to wink at him when I passed him.
"In front of Old Navy," SP had said. It's like we both live in the same city but in parallel universes.
Then he offered to send me money, because he just got a bonus at work. This has been a recurring theme: SP has it in his head that I am one day away from selling Streetwise on the corner.
"I'm sending the money! I'm putting it in a big box and sending it!"
"You do, and I'm putting it straight to your student loan."
I make fun of him, but in reality I love that he looks out for me. Of course, he sent me an email forbidding me to buy him a birthday present; I find it amusing that I got laid off and he goes right to his birthday. His priorities are still intact, obviously.