I went back to work for several reasons:
- I was beginning to imagine the results of a good taxidermy job on my husband;
- My "hood-rich" spending habits required funding; and
- There is no street fashion in the suburbs. There are Moms, who are inevitably dressed in yoga or running ensembles. There are kids, with better wardrobes than their Moms. And there are Geezers, who seem to be doing a dress rehearsal for their own funerals.
I am not a fan of Yoko Ono. But if she has left one enduring legacy to this planet, it's that she managed to cross the Rubicon of 60 Years Old and did not start wearing stupid clothes.
I also went back to work in search of inspiration. There is nothing like real life for inspiring rants.
I thought that a $10/hour job at a Chicago tourist destination would be a goldmine for great stories about the standout members of our species who manage to survive to adulthood and occasionally spawn offspring without the aid of a measurable IQ. I was wrong.
Not that they don't exist at my new job. But the job itself is so much fun and my co-workers are so nice that one is never left to the mercy of idiots. Consider the following snippet of conversation, overheard on my second day at work:
"I'm relieving you for lunch now, because I'm leaving early today."
"You're leaving early?"
I never thought to hear anything like that in an American workplace.
So I have nothing to rant about. And no complaints. No complaints! In fact, I am quite happy. Yes, there are annoying people. But for the most part, I am free to ignore them. Which I do, happily. If they choose to override my lack of interest, I call a supervisor and leave the situation to them. A comfortable set of circumstances, indeed, but counter to my purposes. Which would I rather have? The comfortable circumstances, of course, as I seldom find rant-worthy situations amusing until much later and only then after altering my state of consciousness in ofttime illegal ways.
Thank God for public transportation.
Summertime is the worst for public trans. Teenagers (many in possession of fake ID's) and children are out of school. Parades, festivals, and the beach beckon from the big city. Suburban "tourists" venture commuter rail, with all the trepidation of taking a canoe down the Amazon. And everybody who just wants to get to work is utterly miserable.
Regular commuters try to cope via strong coffee (in the morning), cocktails (in the evening), headphones, and books. We try to keep in mind the future well-being of our planet as we stand with aching feet staring wistfully at the six seats taken up by bicycles. Babies wail, neophyte riders knee you in the back, underage drinkers shout with abandon, and the word "fuck" ricochets loudly through the cars with more frequency than a Quentin Tarantino marathon.
Seldom is any summertime commute completely free of these transgressions, though most of us count ourselves lucky if there are no weapons involved.
I am pleased to announce that I have already had a richly unpleasant encounter with one of the "summer folks". I was on my way home from work, at an hour which unfortunately coincided with the mass exodus from Chicago's Pride Parade. The costumery was a treat, but the ride home promised to be sardine-like. In the crowd waiting to board the train, I noticed someone with a debilitating handicap. I tapped the shoulder of the blond party-goer next to me.
"Let's see if we can make some room for this lady to get through."
She looked at me with utter - and unwarranted, I think - contempt, and snapped, "There's someone in front of her with a buggy."
I tried again. "I see that. But I just thought..."
She turned away in a huff, while I muttered something lame and ineffectual like, "Some people..". Which caused her to giggle and whisper into her friend's ear. Then she shrugged her sunburned shoulders and said, "You can't move everybody."
Well yes, actually, you can. Rosa Parks. Mahatma Gandhi. Etc.
But not if you don't try.
To be fair, I wasn't feeling very Mahatma Gandhi-ish at that moment, so I let it drop. Which cancelled out any brownie points I might have otherwise felt entitled to. Self-congratulatory opportunities, sadly, are few and far between.
However, my confidence in the incidental muse is now restored. And for that I want to thank you, sweetheart.
My one day both you and I be famous.