How can somebody who has huddled indoors for two months be exhausted? I am. It's the stress shared by many my age. Is it too cold to go out? What if my car gets stuck? Will I fall? If I go out this afternoon, will it be freezing and snowy when I come home tonight? Should I plan to go to the theatre next week, or will it be zero and snowy? Exhausting.
I walked into the wonderful Apple service store on Lake and Oak Park. The fellow at the counter yelled out "What's going on?" Startled, I thought maybe I looked disheveled or worse. I even turned to look back out at the street to see if there was an accident. Silly me. He was just saying "hi."
Now comes Pope Francis, a man in his late seventies, toppling one tradition (er, sacred rite) after another. I'd say His Holiness is having a helluva good time, though he seems likely to do away with that title.
If I were Ms. Claus I'd lavish gifts on everyone for Christmas, not just kids. I would include all the guys who panhandle on Lake Street and the El, all the people who make minimum wage, all the soldiers who came home from war to find no jobs, and every homeowner who's up for forcelosure.
Riding the EL is when I'm part of the diversity that is valued in Oak Park. I love to read my Kindle, but I also love to look at the people - the guys who prefer to stand by the door all the time, the people who never look up from their book or paper, the working stiffs, the ladies who lunch, the kids who talk and talk and talk, the babies who smile and laugh and make me smile and laugh, the jerks who yell on their phones, the ones who doze all the way home.
I had an idea for a column on "What's the thing I miss most, and have stopped doing because of my age?" I introduced the topic up over lunch at the 19th Century Club. One the women immediately answered "nightly sex." And we were off.
The week before the election of the new Pope, who appears to be a good man, I blogged about men who wore fancy hats and robes as symbols of power. I intended to put forth a reasoned inquiry into outdated customs, but, as is my wont, I was more than a bit snarky.
We're in an avalanche of media coverage of men who wear dresses and beanies. The cardinals of the Catholic church have hiked up their robes and headed for Rome to elect a new Pope, who will have earned the right to wear the trendy and embarrassing red Prada loafer. Actually, the Cardinals are meeting at the Vatican, called the Holy See, where nobody does. I have no objection to men wearing dresses and fancy hats, except for the corollaries.
I saw something lovely on the L platform last week. A man had a baby tucked inside the top of his overcoat with just the top of the baby's head sticking out. Every so often the baby would raise its head and then plop it back on his chest - making a little game, enjoying being secure, I thought. The man was staring straight ahead, lost in thought. He carried a briefcase and I guessed that he had taken the baby to work that day. Fatherhood in the modern family, not dreamed of when I was having children.