There is a baby upstairs, or a Terminator

Before the movie, it went like this:

Me: We should see the new terminator movie.
K: Really? You know it’s about a robot apocalypse, right?
Me: I like robots. And apocalypses.

After the movie, it went like this:

Me: I thought there was going to be more time travel.
K: There sure were a lot of robots… but I didn’t see any scientists.

The next morning, I am on my couch in pajamas thinking about how glad I am to be made of human and not of metal. But in the apartment upstairs there’s pounding and jumping and sounds like ball bearings skittering across the floor, and maybe a tustle with a goat or… a robot. I mean, I know they have a three year-old. But maybe they have a Terminator.

I think I’ve been watching too many movies lately. We watched Wall-E last week, and I was politely discouraged from continuing to run around with a tiny basil plant clutched to my chest and announcing, “Directive.”


I took my first swimming lesson on Tuesday, 7am at the Galter LifeCenter pool. The thought process…

6:07: I shouldn’t do this. Stupid. Why did I sign up to swallow a bunch of chlorine at the ass-crack of the morning.

6:29: I can do this. Put on the radio, hop in the car, yeah, we’re rolling. Nothing compares to YOU, Sinead O’Connor!

6:43: Oh…. no. No no no. Reception desk of official-types. No I’m not a member of this gym. I’m here for my swimming lesson. With Courtney. No, I don’t know how to swim _at all_.

6:47: I have not been in a locker room since 12th grade. This one has more public naked than I recall. Lots of old people in bathing caps. How the hell do you work this shower?

6:54: Cold cold cold cold where the hell is the pool why is it a mile from the shower.

7: Courtney has a kickboard. I think I used a kickboard when I took lessons at the Y when I was four. Ok, that one lesson I took when I was four and hated it.

7:04: I’m the speediest kicker there ever was! Courtney says I have a very fluid kick and I DO I can do this and people alllll started as fish fish fish so this is my chance to high-five Darwin and give the finger to my middle school gym teacher and zoom and zoom and zoom!

Summer wish list

-Regular sunrise-watching. I want to find out if it’s possible to get sick of sunrises.

-Saturday beach afternoons: claim a square of sand, add blanket, book and do not stir.

-A perpetual sangria pitcher. Ready for the back porch lounging.

-Visits with neighborhood friends, now that we’ve thawed and walking 10 minutes isn’t death-defying.

-Outdoor music, outdoor eating, outdoor movies. Outdoors.

The mind of the engrossed

So I’ve been mildly busy. I wrote this for Gapers Block, about fair use in film. I performed in The Encyclopedia Show, where I told the world about Floride Bonneau Calhoun, wife of Andrew Jackson’s vice president. And I’m gonna be in the SKALD, which is a storytelling competition hosted by the city of Chicago and WNEP Theatre.

Hey. Cool. But all of this, on top of working two jobs, explains why I really should be heeding the words of Stoic philosopher Lucius Seneca:

The mind that is untroubled and tranquil has the power to roam into all the parts of its life; but the minds of the engrossed, just as if weighted by a yoke, cannot turn and look behind. And so their life vanishes into an abyss; and as it does no good, no matter how much water you pour into a vessel, if there is no bottom to receive and hold it, so with time—it makes no difference how much is given; if there is nothing for it to settle upon, it passes out through the chinks and holes of the mind. Present time is very brief, so brief, indeed, that to some there seems to be none; for it is always in motion, it ever flows and hurries on; it ceases to be before it has come, and can no more brook delay than the firmament or the stars, whose ever unresting movement never lets them abide in the same track. The engrossed, therefore, are concerned with present time alone, and it is so brief that it cannot be grasped, and even this is filched away from them, distracted as they are among many things.

Dearly, Chicago

Chicago and me? Sometimes things get dicey. That wind, oh, when I go to the lake seeking peace and blue and a cold lake wind stab-stab-stabs… but then, there’s the good stuff: I can pack up on a Friday morning for a last-minute camping trip with Amanda  and be in Cincinnati to see Kirsten that evening. (Oh, and stop at Target on the way out because I have zero clean undies and nary a pair of driving sunglasses). And then on the way home, after a weekend of catching up, of not camping (storms!) and toasting s’mores over a camping stove on Kirsten’s front porch, Chicago welcomed me back. Zooming up Lakeshore Drive on Sunday night, sun setting, lake sparkling… Alex Kotlowitz writes for Fast Company about why Chicago is the U.S. city of the year.

The movie you weren’t in

Kevin and I have been watching marathons of Deadliest Catch via the Discovery Channel web site. It’s a documentary series about crab fishermen on the Bering Sea who are completely, utterly, up to their elbows in ice, waves, steel, pain, cold and crab. We watch this curled up in blankets on the couch, one episode after the other, on pins and needles: how many crab will they get this time?

And I wonder about the cameras. When we were little and rode the bus to school, I could press my nose to the dirty glass window and see that men with small yellow cameras were setting up like for a film shoot in the empty lots that we passed on the way. I wondered what they were doing. I thought maybe they were making  a movie, about this place, and my bus (me!) might be there in the background.

Last night I talked to my sister Lisa on Skype for the first time, using the video feature, and pretty soon my parents heard about this and scrunched  in behind her. Waving, bringing the dog over, commenting on my new haircut, wondering about my apartment: Is that your bike over there? Whose painting is that? My dad was eating a fudgsicle. Then my sister left and came back with a fudgsicle. Then my mom left and returned licking a fudgsicle. I was the entertainment, suddenly.

This morning on my way to work at the theater, I saw men in construction gear with their small yellow cameras, but I knew they were just surveying the land. Someone needed measurements. And I guess that’s all I wanted too, rolling by in the school bus– to be measured, to count, to be there in the background, waving like crazy.