Every year in my neighborhood, the main drag of Clark St becomes a street fair: Midsommarfest. Swedish name, but mostly that means booths selling corn on the cob, hippie dresses, kitschy antiques, plastic cups of cheap beer and good sangria. Plus local bands. Really local, as in the woman from my favorite coffee shop, singing and playing guitar instead of bringing me tea and apple pie.

This morning I realized I’d been to a lot of them.

’05:My first Chicago year, about to become a teacher but thinking of sun and sand, hanging on Matt’s arm, downing frozen margaritas, a dizzy dream.

’06: Just finished exhausting teaching year, meet up with Matt; we sit on the curb, he hands me a pin with an Eiffel Tower charm that he found, we share falafel and talk for the first time since we broke up.

’07: The bad year; when all of my joints locked up thanks to antibiotics for a UTI (thanks, Urgent Care Clinic!). I only realized what was happening when the word “lupus” kept surfacing in my brain until I googled it and found that a sulfa drug allergy creates a temporary autoimmune response similar to lupus. Holy crap.

’08: Working at a booth for the theater. After a rainstorm, assembling our tangled canopy with K = short fuses, tent poles in the face. Saved by the metal cover band and Caleb’s art show.

’09: Gray day, uncrowded = good for wandering, found chips of metal in my frozen margarita from Simon’s, ran into Dan Bloom, so very badly wanted to smuggle out Ginger, with the sad eyes, from the adopt-a-dog booth, smuggled out a cup of sangria instead, for sipping on the back porch.

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