out on my skateboard and the night is just humming


Early Sunday morning I waited in the cold for my Uber to the airport, watching the yellow post-sunrise sky glint behind and along the dense, gray overhang of clouds. "I would be so sad living here," I thought, then reminded myself that I was already sad where I currently live. Even though I was glad to be getting out of Chicago as quickly as possible, I wished that the thought of spending extended time in the Midwest didn't fill me with anxiety. There had been some good moments of slipping into the familiar: walking from Logan Square to West Town along N. Milwaukee, taking the Blue Line from the airport, eating a quiche at Hoosier Mama Pie in a booth showered with afternoon light. As Jordyne and I walked along the lake from Ohio St. Beach to Diversey, I realized I'd forgotten how much I loved the sight of the waves spilling onto the concrete lakeshore path, the thin layer of water slipping around before receding and dropping back into the lake. Getting breakfast at Uncle Mike's with Lydia and Inhae also reminded me of how fun it had been in college to explore the city in those small pockets of free time during the school week, the adventures always bookended by responsibilities but in an exciting way, like we were experiencing the life that was part and parcel of being a college student. On one winter afternoon third year, Cat and I met at her place after class and got stoned taking bong rips before she drove us to Uncle Mike's. It had snowed recently. We ate our porridge and longanisa in a contented daze, and as we paid the check they gave us free tubs of porridge to take home with us. I wanted to return to the feeling of being home, "real life," but what is my real life anyway? On Sunday night I looked around my subway car and tried to guess who else was headed to the Pavement show. A blonde, extremely surly-looking girl standing near me was definitely going. The night felt momentous, everybody at the concert visibly excited to see one of their favorite bands on tour for the first time in almost a decade. I bought some merch and peanut M&M's and a CBD drink that made no impact on my thrumming low-grade anxiety. It was cool to see the wide age span of the people there and witness a new generation of Pavement listeners who had all been born after the majority of their discography was released alongside the older heads, people who were old enough to have caught the Crooked Rain tour, if not older. During Cut Your Hair the whole crowd fist-pumped and shouted, "NO BIG HAIR!" I kept peeking over at a group of guys a couple rows ahead of me who were dancing and jumping and bobbing their heads vigorously throughout the concert, and I thought wistfully--that's what I want in a relationship. I woke up this morning, 25, melancholy. I tried to finish rewatching The Graduate, but I got so depressed that I went out to buy ingredients for lasagna instead. At the Trader Joe's checkout, the cashier leaned down to catch my eye and smiled warmly and said, "Happy Monday!" I moaned about the weather getting me down and he replied that he liked this kind of weather, it was perfect for reading and introspection. "Ugh, I don't want to introspect," I said miserably. "No," he said, "You want to party?" It feels like I've entered a new phase of my life here, one that began in June when I returned from Mexico City and that has only recently taken shape as being a Chaotic Era, except it's chaotic in a stressful, confusing way rather than a fun and flirty way. "This is what I wanted," I have to keep reminding myself.