“Waking up in a strange bed, in a strange city, can sometimes be disorienting… you wake up with a start and for a few frantic moments don’t remember where you are or what is real. Life is on hold, hanging in mid-air in tiny technicolor pieces.” — Claire Hughes, Waking Up in Chicago

I found this quote in a book that I happened upon in the public library today. This morning, I wasn’t all that confused (except that I was convinced it was 11 a.m. and it was only 8 a.m.). But for the moment, in the larger sense, life is on hold and hanging in mid-air in tiny technicolor pieces. Selected pieces:

–I’m staying in Amanda and Charlie’s spare room until I find a) a job and b) an apartment. Their possessions seem to be overtaking the apartment, since they’ve just moved in and haven’t yet fully unpacked. But it’s fine by me, the incurable packrat who would nest in a hole of sentimentally valuable papers, photos, knicknacks and quilts, were that socially acceptable.

–Eliina made me a flourless chocolate cake, with carmel sauce, to die for, which we polished off while watching Gilmore Girls (they’re trying to indoctrinate me into their WB obsession.)

–Today I sat on the rocks by the lake, on a clear 70-degree day, and wanted to call everyone I knew to tell them that they had to see how beautiful it was.

–Had lunch with Amanda in a laid-back diner that apparently specializes in my favorite diner sandwich, a turkey reuben.

–Chicago feels alive, grounded, whole. I’m reading a book that Amanda and Charlie gave me for my birthday, Never a City So Real by Alex Kotlowitz, who is one of my old professors. He writes: “Chicago is a stew of contradictions. Coarse yet gentle. Idealistic yet restrained. Grappling with its promise, alternately cocky and unsure.” … He then quotes Nelson Algren’s prose poem: “Once you’ve come to be a part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.”

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