Sunday, April 1, 2007

Is Chicago

Is not Chicago

You're the only one I'll tell. It's 12:44am Sunday officially. I don't want to talk to anyone about my trip. I'm still processing it and I don't feel good. I'm wiped out and exhausted. Confused and let down.

I know precisely why I've always gone to Chicago and not visited with my cousin. I've been there quite a few times, albeit limited to only a few select hoods. When I was screwing Swan, I'd go down for a night and stay a day after. I'd always pre-promise my girl cousin D that I'd have brunch with her and would always, with my tail between my legs, email her Sunday night with apologies.

She's always been younger. She's always been blonder. She's always been richer. She's always been louder. She's always been obnoxious. In that same way that I love my sister, D just rubs me the entirely wrong way and I can only now find the patience and older wisdom to understand, breathe, and shake it off.

She got an MBA. I want an MPP. That should explain some of it. MBA means the bottom line. MPP means the bottom person.

It's funny because we spent a few overlapping summers growing up and playing 'store' in grandma's cupboards in the kitchen. Trading canned goods for small bills. She remembers me in high school telling her what the cool music was and how she should totally buy some of it to be cool. I remember nothing.

Just like her wedding.

I know I'm partly to blame for my own insecurities and jealousies. They live in downtown Chicago right next to Navy Pier. On the 50+ floor of this building that sways when it's really windy. Every window shows an amazing cityscape view. And each and every fucking room has some framed picture of her or him or their wedding day or some nicely dressed date or at someone else's wedding or with friends or family. It's like a shrine to their faces.

It's a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom flat with the highest tech devices and perfectly painted rooms [care of our relatives]. The dog doesn't pee on the floor. The 'cleaning lady' keeps soap scum off the shower walls. There's not a spec of dust.

I cruise in a bit late from leaving late. Three hours as predicted. Traffic is always fucking nuts so I might as well skip that part. IT's like we should all be used to it by now and it should be a norm and shouldn't be something to complain about but it's such a fucking nusiance and so out of the norm for me and, truly, anyone with an Illinois license plate has no fucking idea how to drive, merge, signal, or change lanes. It should be embarrassing to them but I'm finding that the pervasive attitude found on campus extends to the whole city: I'm self-absorbed, fuck you.

I made it in time for the afternoon lecture on Thursday. Found the campus, found parking in what some fear as the 'hood and some see as edges of campus, rushed into the run-down Harris building and found the Dir of Admissions.

It's my own challenge that I convey confidence and have a tendency to easily blush in front of crowds. She walked me to the front of the assembling lecture class to see if she could spot my assigned current student [versus me, being a 'prospective student']. Ms. London wasn't to be seen in the lecture hall so after staring at a sea of bustling faces taking glances at me, I just told the Dir I'd find a seat and hang out - no worries. And way less embarrassing.

I pushed through 5 kids - literally, I mean, still with acne - to an open seat and sat through 1.20 hr class on organizational theory which was covering the founding fathers' interpretation of this idea. Woodrow Wilson who espoused that administration is not [should not be] connected to politics and Max "Veber" and his own principles. The professor prounced Max's name that way and he paced slightly as he read from his slides. Granted, I realize I didn't have the pre-ascribed reading but I was wholly unimpressed with the lecture except for the student comments. Seemed some gent behind me was a frequent challenger of ideas - as I could tell by the rolling of eyes and slight sighs of exasperation in my own row. I had to sit on my hand not to raise it and say, "Um, Well, See, there's this guy who was appointed to FEMA by the President and well, he had everything to do with response to Katrina and yet he was politically appointed so yeah, um, WIlson was naive to presume or hope that admistrative duties would be separated from politics." It's not my place to educate all the time.

Granted, the professor was super hot and I could totally see fucking him for a better grade.

We filed out and I figured Ms. London would have left. I was heading back to my car to make my way up to my cousin's when I got her call. Ms. London and I ended up walking over to the business school [GSB = graduate school of business = GBH]. We sat for an hour and talked. She gave me some good insight into her own personal decision to go to Chicago and told me how she was originally from London and what her impressions were of Univ Coll London [my 1st choice]. And she was totally frank - speaking from her Oxford undergraduate, slightly overly intellectualized persona. I'm too smart to eat up every word and too old to not take it all with a grain of my own poisonous salt.

I got to my cousin's and hugged her over her perfectly pink sweater and pearl necklace. I got the grand tour of the place and made nice with her dog and her surroundings and didn't take personal offense that the 3rd bathroom was locked with a key [that she might have very well worn around her fucking neck]. Apparently the FDA requires this for pharmaceticual reps. I was certain she was locking it from me, but she pointed out it was locked because of well, not her husband, and not so much law, as her cleaning lady. Uh huh.

We cabbed it over to some veggie/vegan place and I winced as she kind of white-privleged barked to the cabbie about where he thought he was going and turn right not left! and this was the 3rd single most worst cab ride ever. If I'm learning anything from being a liberal feminist perfectionist of sorts, it's that I don't have to react to everything and I don't have to change everything. Maybe it's just from maturing or getting older, but some things just have to be what they are. I can't make a lesson out of everything.

Dinner was exceptionally amazing. It was a tapas style sharing. We shared food but not too much of conversation. When it was my turn I caught her eyes wandering and a disinterested response.

We walked her dog over by Navy Pier and ran into her across-the-hall neighbor. Totally different parenting styles, I'd say. I was slightly impatient on the inside but put up with the whole "Are you going to do your special business?" and "No, no, don't eat that. Don't eat that. C'mon, don't eat that." from them both. Thank god I dont have anything more than plants that just go about their dying without my involvement.

Friday was full. Amazingly I spotted an ex-intern from '02 at our welcome reception. She wasn't my favorite, but I did recall her. And another comrade in arms was attending, as well. The other 'prospies' were varied and I think I probably talked to about 20 of them over the course of the day: comrade, past-intern, SF girl, guy who grew up near the military [air force, like me] and who got interest in int'l security after his mom made it out alive from the 98th floor of Tower 2, propsie from Pittsburgh who told me Carnegie Mellon [my 3rd/4th choice] is more local/state/national than UofC, other less significants at lunch,

[walking back.. alone in the pack... I will be anonymous again and I'm excited about that and yet terribly nervous to be uninteresting and unappreciated.]

a Congressional aide from Minneapolis,

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