Friday, March 13, 2009

Chicago/Chicastop

The following document was written over the course of March ten, eleven, and twelve in the year two-thousand and nine.

The concept of holiday has been well-encompassed this week. Honestly, I could not imagine staying one more day at the university; I would literally explode (please allow me to be dramatic like this; I go to Science School). Nothing huge in particular. Just several little things that mounted up and festered in my fragile mental state until I, in my degraded-demoted existence, loathed it there.

But it is so, so very good for me to get away. It's impossible to express how blessed I am just to be here today, here in Chicago, where the lights never turn off and it's well nigh impossible to watch where I'm going because I constantly crane my neck to see the tops of the buildings that were specifically crafted with such intricate and stunning architecture. I never thought I'd be so star-struck. I've been here before, but hardly. Just to fly out and fly back in. Going to London excited, then to Shannon, leaving Shannon and rolling my eyes at London then gliding safely into O'Hare. That doesn't count really, but I always include my airport stops in my travelling extravaganzas.

Nevertheless, I was only excited to be in Chicago (partly) because Dillon wrote a screenplay for me and we plan to film some of the scenes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Little Miss Becca Robinson and her first starring role in an amateur short film to be partially shot in the Windy City. Extravagant beyond comprehension.

Today, though, many dramatic events later, mum and I ended up at Union Station bound for not Best Western but the Presidential Towers (woah) tucked like time-bombs into a penthouse-esque 48th floor corporate suite. One look out the window and I was sold. This city entrances me in a different way than most places; it just has so much to offer to so many. And I walked about ten miles of it today.

I won't go into mundane touristy-glazed-over details, because I hate that. Idiotically but prudently, I do try to blend into the atmosphere wherever I travel. I hate looking lost. That's when sweet-talking alcoholics follow you around innocently yet not-so-innocently offering their version of help and direction to deer-in-the-headlights travelers. Looking lost is just about the worst thing you can do in a city, or any place. It's like going to Europe and looking American. Big mistake.

I did feel privileged, though, or maybe I just felt like a pre-economic-failure human being. I actually dined out twice; one of those times being at a quaint little French cafe across from Loyola University. That's not important, but regardless. Today mum and I encountered some of the kindest, most accommodating and friendly individuals; none of which I expected to meet, of course, but was glad afterward. This place is replete with smiling faces, and luckily, the majority of these smiling faces have been hired to deal with everyday Magnificent Mile shoppers. Their jobs have got to be some of the most stressful jobs in the country; people skills have to be perfected and polished; bad moods and personal lives kept at bay. Somehow they pull it off with skill and poise that I just didn't expect in Big Bad Chicago.

What happened next was one of the zeniths of my entire year, to put it that way. Hannah and I made a scene outside of the Disney Store because we haven't seen each other since Halloween and I'm in Chicago and she got out of rehearsal (hooray!). Many a Chicago-ite wondered what these two girls were doing practically glued to each other while simultaneously jumping up and down outside of Disney Store Chicago and squealing near-unintelligible salutations, but most dismissed it with a grin. The two of us and mum then proceeded to prance about the city for a while longer, lingering in stores and playing with Legos and seeing Hannah's day-in-the-life in her apartment-style Columbia dorm. We attempted to get into a sold-out Columbia show, failed, and went to dinner instead. Bittersweet goodbyes, then repetitive I-love-yous, then a prospect of tomorrow, then more sore polka-dotted-rubber-booted feet headed to Madison Street.

Upon entering the penthouse that night, proceeded by many toothy grins and have-a-good-ones, oxygen was sucked out of my lungs again when I saw the night skyline of Chicago out of the 48th floor window. My mum said it looked like smoldering campfure coals when you pour water over the embers. She said it more eloquently, like she always does; she should have been a writer, but I just roll my eyes in flippant disregard. It is later now. I can't stop looking at it. I can't wait for what Tomorrow holds. Filming, as long as Dillon gets here. Filming; my own personal ego-boost of an event. Squeezing more beauty out of a gallery. Squeezing more beauty out of myself. That's the goal.

*
That WAS the goal, but a turn of events can turn an opinion. So somebody's missed-train later, a whole conundrum of dramatic events spun madly out of control next to the statues of Buddha and Chinese jade. We all wasted too much time playing the Blame Game and roasting in our R-rated attitudes with our R-rated thoughts and our R-rated language to go with our R-rated realities. Then, plans were gashed out of their respective time-slots, re-morphed, and sporadically slammed into different time-slots with all the fury we could muster.

Then, mum and I entered into a room filled with miniature rooms, and somehow felt much, much better.

The smiling individuals at the baggage-check counter told me that my boots reminded them of Put Me In The Zoo, the childrens' book. A recently broken-up gal told me that my "Music is my Boyfriend" T-shirt was, well, pretty legit. I skipped across the street with a man wishing to sell magazines to help the homeless. Since I can't afford to support everybody in need (including myself), I decided to make a spectacle of myself. Given the choice of donating or skipping, I skipped. I do enjoy skipping. In the street. In the sunshine. Across from a tenor saxophone.

Sunshine does wonders for my outlook on life. Mum and I decided to walk about until we found something to do that wouldn't cost a fortune and that also didn't close at four, thus eliminating Shedd Aquarium and Adler's Planetarium. No Ariums for us. Eventually, we stumbled upon Millennium Park; complete with a giant hematite-resembling jelly bean in Chase Promenade. And an alien-spacecraft-esque opera house. And a steel-shingle-snakey BP Bridge. Then off to the Cheesecake Factory to add to my already hypo-carbohydrated body, then to brave the gusts back down the Mag Mile to Madison and Jefferson.

At Chicago dusk, we entered the penthouse. Sunset was in full-swing, and air-traffic was in full-flight, and Venus was out. Ironically, I found that my phone takes better pictures than my camera does. When that happens, there's nothing to do but take a shower and attempt to connect to a weak wireless signal for the zillionth time.

And for the zillionth time, shenanigans on a Thursday. Somehow, with no prior scanning of a script, we have an hour to attempt to film fifteen shots of this puppy. Then, like an idiot, I shall run to Union Station in a pencil skirt and Put-Me-In-The-Zoo boots to catch a three-o'clock home.

In theory.

Holidays are best when you're okay with going back home, because you can't have too much good luck without enough bad luck, but I'm drawn to the busy magic...sans nincompoopery.

Delicious.

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