Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chicago II: This Time It's Personal

Rather than go through every day of my recent trip to Chicago--which I could, because I took crazy detailed notes--I want to talk about the broad outlines and some thoughts about the difference between Chicago and San Angelo.

I spent most of my time in Chicago eating, filling up at restaurants that don't exist down in SA: Thai, artisanal, vegan. I went to almost all my old favorite places, which was fun. But a lot of my memory of those places is going with Sarah. So, I was glad to hit up Lula with a friend, but that used to be a place where Sarah and I could sneak a Monday brunch before she went to work.

Can you go home again? About half-way, I'd say.

Hilariously or painfully, I stayed with two friends who were deep in the throes of academic preparation, which was a blast from the past for me. I offered to read one's paper, but I don't know how helpful I was. At the same time, I had work of my own: the second book I got to review for Kirkus. (More on that later, when I discuss "Sock puppets and being nice on twitter.")

So, trying to stay warm while reading--that's about 95% of my years in Chicago. So I miss the food of Chicago, but this winter weather here is pretty unbeatable. Well, that may not be true: when Sarah and I went to Austin for New Year's, the weather there was even better. Let's wait until we survive a summer here before we celebrate.

Besides eating and reading/working, I spent most of my time talking to people and watching things: Flight of the Conchords standup, the first episode of Luther, Hugo in 3D, and Trollhunter. (Maybe I'll do a roundup of those.) And drinking after my show at a nearby divey bar.

Judging from that, not only can I go home again, but I'm home wherever I go, as long as I have Netflix.

The best part of my trip was catching up with friends. I know a few people here in SA, but it's not quite the same; on top of that, an old friend of mine recently got back in touch (years after our friendship exploded messily--and that's all I'll probably say about that), so I've been thinking about friends and social networks a lot. Basically, it boils down to this: I'd like to live in a place where there are lots of people to hug.

Unfortunately (and fortunately), a lot of my Chicago friends have leads on jobs that will take them out of Chicago. So how will we see each other then?

The worst part of my trip was probably when my flight from Chicago to Dallas was delayed, so I just barely missed my flight to San Angelo--which was the last flight of the day. Luckily, my schedule was flexible enough for me to spend the night there; though I wish I had a car or some way to get to the fun parts of Dallas. I've been assured they exist.

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