Monday, May 21, 2007

Ketchup 8: From the Garden to the Land of Nod.


I'm kind of in a Shandyesque problem here... I'm getting caught up more slowly then the events actually happened. If I don't pick up the past of posting and whatnot, then I'll just fall progressively further behind. Some infinities are larger than others.

It was cold and rainy when we finally arrived at Garfield Park. This was only my second time there, and the first time (in 1999) I'd practically spent no time there at all. We found the conservatory quite easily and waited inside until Patrick and Lisa showed up. Then we walked around the gardens for some time... the labyrinth was closed, and it was too miserable anyway to spend much time outside, but the gardens inside we sprawling and marvellous. I always love the fern room the most, but the desert room had a plant that same was obsessed with: a tiny sprout with only two leaves that grew out from its center indefinitely. It could live to be over two thousand years old. There were also temperate displays, orchid displays, waterfalls, and a mosaic donated from the country of Morocco. The conservatory was sprawling, and a little bit more dilapidated than the Lincoln Park observatory, but also felt more classic, with hugh high ceilings and more of a mazelike configuration.

Eventually, Patrick had to leave. From there, Jess, Lisa, and I crossed under the El and found a field house, which was shaped more like a state mausoleum, but which was also quite beautiful. It had an open gallery with what would have been a spectacular view of downtown, had it not been so wet and foggy out. When we live in Chicago again, I will visit Garfield Park more often.

From there were went back to the Ukrainian Village, and had lunch at a restaurant that openly advertised its cheap prices and its crabby waitresses. The food was good, but the coffee was pretty awful. I kept pouring in creamer after creamer, just so I would taste something other than warm water. We had a lively discussion about violence and the Virginia tech shootings, but that eventually wound up an argument, and then we left. We stopped back at Lisa's to pick up our belongings, and after awhile Sam came over. Lisa played some of her music for us, and then we headed out to a restaurant called Bite where we met Sky.

I happen to know that this was one of Jessica's favorite parts of the Chicago trip and I could see why. Bite was okay... the food was good (the menu was truly impressive), and of course we had the beer that we had brought. But mostly it was just the warmth of that moment. It was still cold and rainy outside, and just getting past twilight. There were so many people inside that restaurant that their breath was fogging up the windows, and I could even venture, from your noisy psychoanalytics POV, that there was something womblike about the way things fell out. But there was also laughter and loud and rowdy conversation, lots of toasts, mock sarcasm, talk and plans of the future, divergent plants dealing with school and health care and writing and music and architecture and computer design...

Afterwards, we said goodbye to Lisa and went back to Sam's. Jess was quite tired, and didn't stay up for long. Sam and I went out for a ride through the city, listening to a mix of YTMND songs. I realized that I liked Cowboy Bebop even more without the visuals than with. The sound mixing is more apparent that way. We made it halfway past Maywood on North, and then finally turned around and made our way back. We drove around downtown in the rain for awhile, looking at the old post office for the sign reading 'Gotham Bank' (they'd been filming the new Batman movie there just earlier that day). Then we stopped at the Map Room in Wicker Park for a couple drinks and headed home.

When I finally got into the futon, I fell asleep almost at once.



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