Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Fun Outing

I won't be around tomorrow, so today's entry will have to suffice for Friday Fun. I know that I'm leaning towards a musical theme on Fridays, so perhaps it helps to know that I am listening to rock bands out of Bergen, NO on streaming radio as I write this. Bergen, apparently, has become quite the hip music scene in Norway, which of course would please my mother no end, as some of the family is from here, and thus we are talented by association...

I'm going to talk about my day trip to downtown Chicago yesterday. The outing was very much fun indeed! I went with my dear friend Kristyn. 

Kris used to be my girlfriend, but we aren't anymore. Boyfriend and girlfriend, that is. It's not an unusual thing to stay friends with someone you've been in a more intimate relationship with, but it is for me. And having said that, you might think things were  just a tad, maybe just a tiny bit strained and uncomfortable, but it was just the opposite.

I hadn't seen Kris in person for perhaps two months, and it was great to see her. And I think she felt the same way. I think we still have a great amount of affection for each other, and so there was a considerable and mutual delight in seeing each other after such a long time.

And Kris is a lot of fun. Smart, gorgeous, and funny. With skin that most movie starlets would kill for. (What, you think I'd go out with women who were dumb, unattractive and humorless? I got high standards). Like I said, she's funny, but she possesses two varieties of funny. One is clever, witty, a fast immediacy funny. And the other is time-bomb funny. And so today, and now I can't think of the specifics, but I remembered something she said yesterday that made me laugh out loud today. And no, I'm not on satellite delay. It was a time-bomb remark.

We took the EL down to the Museum of Contemporary Art. We had a long talk on the train down, partly catch-up, and partly just banter. We've always found been good at easy banter, although I think I do more than my share of chatter. (I'd spent the entire week alone at the college, with Spring Break going on, so perhaps I was a bit desperate for someone to talk to).

It was one of those days that people would call "brisk". Spring has got her learner's permit, but Old Man Winter is not quite ready to give up the wheel. Perhaps Winter was back seat driving that day. Kris and I walked arm in arm towards the lake and the museum with a steady breeze in our faces, and no doubt she was stealing body heat from me as much as anything else. Like I said, it was brisk.

Kris, as usual, was smartly dressed and looked good.  I, as usual, was dressed like a slob. I had my summer hat on, sweatshirt, jeans. If you didn't know better, we could have been a Lithuanian couple, because, as I understand it, Lithuanian women always dress sharp when they go out, and Lithuania men do the opposite. Or so I've been told.

At any rate, I think you should be given a background to explain our viewing styles at the museum. 

Kris pretty much likes everything. I like nothing. 

As a result, I would give perhaps three microseconds of attention to the painting or photograph or sculpture before wanting to move on. Kris prefers to linger. It was a compromise, and one that I was occasionally impatient with.

Hopefully, she didn't mind too much.

Nevertheless, we did tarry at some works. There was an installation by William Kentridge, seven videos made in a rather grainy cinematic turn of the 19th century style, which, for lack of a better phrase, I found quite charming. I commented to Kris how the videos reminded me of "A Voyage From the Earth to the Moon", and perhaps Kentridge was trying to capture the atmosphere of that film. Only later did I realize the installation was titled "Seven Fragments for Georges Melies". Oh, duh!

So, despite my TV-addled brain, and its two-second attention span, we spent some time watching that, and examining other exhibits. I could relate how I was less than satisfied with a lot of the work, how I considered some of the artists "hacks", but I think I'll save my critique of contemporary art for another journal entry.

I think we spent about three hours there, going through four programs, one per floor, until finally one of the guards told us the museum was closing. Honestly, and I don't know how Kris felt, but I was about done anyway. 

We had a nice leisurely stroll on the way back to the EL, looking the classic tourists from suburbia. Fast walkers broke like waves around us, occasionally cast annoyed glances our way.

It was rush hour, and the train was packed, so we had to stand. That was a fun adventure being tossed and lurched about in the crowd. I only hit my head twice. 

Finally, as the train moved further out the crowd thinned, we got to sit down. My lower back was very happy that I got off my feet. 

I drove us back to her house, where we talked a bit more and I got to play with her dog for a little bit. I like all dogs, but I love her dog. She figured that out from day one. 

Then I went home. So that was it.

You know, I pretty much hermitized myself this winter. Hardly did anything outside of work. And so I experienced no small amount of melancholia after the visit, as I often do when returning from a visit with friends and family down in Indiana.

I've always known the difference between being lonely and lonesome. Lonesome is just being alone. Lonely is feeling alone. I've always occupied myself with distractions both trivial and important, and so am often the former, but rarely experience the latter. 

To be honest, and introspection requires honesty, I guess I'm a lot more lonely than I pretend to be. 

Well, at least the melancholy was honestly acquired, and I'm consoled by the fact that I'll soon distract myself into a cheerful activity and my mood will improve. 

And... the somber feelings are tempered with the thought that we do share the warmth of friendship and mutual affection, and that gets you through a lot as well.

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