During individual visits to Chicago I invariably have lunch with Peter at a fast food joint where we stay too long while on large group visits I invariably have lunch at a sit down place where we stay too short. This time, we went to Mellow Yellow’s where I placed an overly complicated salad order and then left early to pick up mounting foam from Foamcore Heaven.
Foamcore Heaven is really just an overlay on a generic art supply store in Chicago that happens to have really cheap foamcore. I illegally parked outside and stepped into a quiet store (all the batting and canvas absorbs sounds in the way only libraries do otherwise) where tattooed people were asking for overly specific items from the on-duty clerk. At the head of the queue, I asked for my foamcore order, she almost winced when I rattled off the order but then sighed audibly when we she found that someone had already packaged the order and I had already paid for it. She helped me put the order in my car, as a respite from the
hipsters art-folk, I think.
I met up with Peter, Suzie, Ty, Audrey, and Mike at the Chicago Botanical Gardens where my New York City Botanical Gardens membership got us free parking. Peter was tired, Audrey was tired, Mike, Suzie and I were wasted, but Ty was excited. The gardens proper are circumscribed by water and we spent much time watching the carp as we drifted into later afternoon. There were myriad signs telling no one to feed the carp but based on their open-mouth greeting I think enough people ignored the sign to justify the carp’s efforts. The sun hung in the sky and the afternoon stood still.
Ty was very excited to show me that there were squirrels and I took a picture of them.
Here the group split and Suzie and I took pictures of the sun drifting beyond the water lily pond. Normally I take photos with other people that have a technical eye and we swap settings and tricks. Running around chasing the sun, angles, and perspective seemed puerile but was a welcome change. The sun ran from from the commotion.
There is a relief in almost-boredom. A simple enjoyment in watching a parade of nows march by at a tempo that is neither hurried nor dull and I felt swept in this current on the way out, while refilling a failing tire in the parking lot and then on the way back to Peter’s. Ty wanted to see what the car was like in “Road trip mode” and we acquiesced. I listened to a podcast, Mike took a nap, and Suzie watched a video on her laptop. Four bubbles, four people that happened to be in the same car with the moment-to-moment unity of beach sand.
Back at Peter’s we diddled on our laptops, Mike went to bed early, and everyone else watched My Little Pony. I tried the Jerde’s elliptical which was an exercise in muscular comedy. The muscles at the top of my legs hurt but only sometimes and I felt my calves were underused. My forearms got sore but I was able to use my laptop with some work. The device lacked the forced tempo of a treadmill and when I got off I felt exhausted but couldn’t point to a muscle that had given out. I showered and fell to the couch where slumping forward proved most comfortable. The night petered out and I was ok with that. I had successfully got my heart to 150 BPM for 50 minutes in another time zone.