Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Chocolate Legs" or Why...

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It's Delightful to Be Alive Now

The tough times we're in remind me of how it used to be to live in Chicago from 1987-1996; Pat and I fantasize about living there again someday:

It was so, so cold during the winter, and then when spring came, everyone blossomed, not just the flowers. Always, the lakefront was packed with rollerbladers, bikers, runners and volleyball players. There was nothing better than skating from the Belmont Rocks down to the Planetarium and back, slaloming to the beat of my Walkman -- what we used BiE (Before the iPod Era).

During my early years in Chicago especially, life was simple and beautiful and in parallel -- to put it mildly, so as not to be heartbreaking for you, the reader -- romantically and professionally...less-than-rewarding. And no matter how satisfying it ultimately did become for me in work and love, and thank God, it did so in both, still, always, there was the violent cold...and then the brilliant warmth and humanity, and simple beauty.

My sister Deb said she couldn't get over the photo on the front page of "The New York Times" last week; the featured child looked like an animal due to severe malnourishment, she said. Times are tough worldwide. It's violently cold out.

By blessed contrast, which I do not take for granted, earlier, I was privileged to meet a friend and colleague for dinner; we eat together quarterly. Talking with him always renews me, even if I didn't know I needed refreshing. As I drove to meet him, I didn't feel particularly sad about world-events, but inevitably, we talked about various global trials over dinner, and how in any case, we feel a sense of excitement and opportunity in all of the stress we're experiencing now, e.g., the prophecy of my tweet being fulfilled, including hearing some amazing, new music.

On my way home, "Chocolate Legs" was playing as I stopped at a red light, in front of a small, red house, wedged between two others and right against the busy street. I was savoring the song as candlelight in the dining room window caught my eye. Jammed around the table were six, smiling, middle-aged friends, enjoying one another after 8 pm on what from my perspective, was a work-night.

It struck me that like them, tonight, I had chosen to steal time to have pure fun, pure love and pure friendship, and was on my way home to more of the same, with some marvelous, bonus dimensions. It didn't matter that Pat was out with her friend for dinner, too, and that she would not necessarily be home upon my return; the promise of Pat and the present of two, loyal cats filled me with the sort of joy that 'blading along the Lakefront always did for me during springtime in Chicago.

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