There was a farmers market below the steps leading up the Museum of Contemporary Art, and behind it, an oblong park barricaded by fir trees and wrought-iron benches. Work-weary Chicagoans seeking refuge from the white-knuckled antagonism of August in the Mag Mile flock in droves to this bucolic oasis to read, chat, or listen to music. Old moneyed nannies brought toddlers there to chase pigeons and Chicago firefighters strolled the periphery in pairs. Today, more than half munched on something bought at the market half a dozen feet away. I’d been in this park many times in my life, but because today was a weekday and because I was eating a fruit whose name I could not pronounce, the afternoon hummed with a slight kick of excitement.
Because I’d just left the art museum I was—as is always the case when I go to museums—alone. Although while parsing through a Gursky photo, I become friendly with an old couple from county Mayo both of who kept calling me a “good lad.” They followed me into the park whereupon they descended on their cell-phones like vultures on a carcass. I used that time to watch people as they decided what to do with their lunch hour. There was a sign next to me dedicating the park to a philanthropist, long deceased but who’s charitable works go on long after he left this earth. Next to the sign a blonde-haired girl of about three was mumbling something quietly to herself. She looked up at me and grinned. It was hot and humid and the minutes before 1pm snapped resolutely into action. She held up a doll and mumbled something slightly louder. I smiled back and stood up.
Slowly, I made my back to the market. Behind me the Irish couple laughed.
August 23, 2007 03:28 AM PDT
I wish I could go about the world and enjoy, with you, the things we both see and feel in it. To have a friend to whom I'd never have to speak a gratuitous word...only see, and feel, and be with. I imagine that would be wonderful.
August 22, 2007 10:28 AM PDT
As always - a wonderful kaleidescope of life in Chicago.
but.., I'm wondering at this point, what disturbing thing that child said to make you stand up and leave abruptly.
"DADDY! Take me home!" ?? LOL.
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