Tempus fugit. Time flies. I do not know exactly where July went. The lack of organisation and flow in my life in the past few weeks certainly have played a role, much to my concern.
Initially I thought it was due to having so much that I wanted to do, and in an attempt to execute so many task without any scheme of priority, they all became stuck like the Three Stooges trying to pass through a doorway simultaneously. These tasks ranged from finally tackling backlogged unprocessed photographs sitting on my Aperture library queue to updating my woefully outdated portfolio to just making some time for myself and enjoy summer for the sake of my mental health. When these endeavors stalled in one form or another, I fell into a subtle frazzle. It was at this point a fortnight ago while catching up with my intellectual property law mentor and former professor of many classes—indeed, I had made it a point to take every single class she taught during my time in law school—that I told her that I wish I had a curator or assistant to help me with wrangle the Pandora’s Box that I had opened initially with zeal. I now find myself coming to the realisation that it is much more than just a Three Stooges effect. Rather, it seems that school in the past year had taken a toll on me and has been manifesting itself since May; I had simply ignored it. In short, I have been burnt out but in denial.
When I last wrote here over a month ago, I had discussed reflecting on my life here in Chicago in the past five years. I still am, for better or worse. I cannot help but to be pulled into my past even though I often try to look forward. As happy as I was to see my friend Karen when she visited on Independence Day weekend, and as much as she is one of the three non-family members I trust with my life without question or doubt, she is a reminder to me of how many friendships I have lost in my past. We have known each other for almost ten years, making her the second longest friendship I have maintained to date. I often hear of people my age or older talking about childhood friends and how they still keep in contact on a regular basis and are still best of pals. I lack that. Once in a while I will have some contact with one or two former classmates from high school, but such interaction is often via Facebook or through a holiday text message. Karen is the closest I have to a longterm “childhood” friend even though we met in my senior year of undergraduate college. I only wish that her visits to Chicago could be a bit longer than a few days.
I found myself three weeks ago once again pulled into the past, this time to my first summer here in 2010. Checking my email that Friday morning, I received an invitation through Facebook for an art exhibition opening that evening from Amelia, a fascinating woman who used to pour my drinks at a bar called Simone’s on 18th and Morgan Street. The gallery—which in this case is also a florist shop—was in the same neighbourhood of eastern Pilsen. So later that day, I grabbed my X100 and visited my old stomping grounds.
As I traveled through South Loop and into Pilsen, 2010 slowly seeped back into my mind. From the commencement of my new life and adventure in Chicago, to meeting my now ex-girlfriend in the end of that summer, to the hostile dissolution of the friendship I had with someone from medical school a year later. The good, the bad, the ugly. If there was a soundtrack for walking around the area that evening, it would have been “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones.
I found the gallery/florist shop on South Halstead past 18th Street tucked in a row of other shops and galleries. When I walked in, lo and behold, there was Amelia, talking to some patrons and tending to her artworks. She looked very much as she did the last time I saw her over four years ago. We chatted for a bit as she was tagging her sculptures, some of which were actually living pieces of art—literally. In some of her works, she combined the inanimate with plant-life, making them literally come to life. Others, I cannot help but to find them utterly curious.
After catching up briefly, I took my leave as more patrons came in and inquired Amelia of her work. I visited a few other galleries down the street, something that I never did when I lived in the area. Time flies, but we can change so much in such short duration. I cannot help now but to chuckle yet cringe at how much of an idiot “me from the past” was.
Walking up 18th Street, I saw my old apartment building where my Chicago adventure began. I still wonder at times what became of my former friend from med school and roommate. Is she a physician now, or has she, like me, found a different path? Is she in Chicago still or has she moved elsewhere? We parted ways on rather hostile and belligerent terms four years ago. Life is too short and precious for such foolishness. Such a damn shame.
A block later, I found myself in front of Simone’s, where I first met Amelia and another bartender/gastronome/artisan I have kept in touch with somewhat on Facebook through the years; I hope to see her soon before she departs Chicago to open a bar in Cambodia. (Yes, I wrote that correctly.) I thought about walking in for a drink for old time’s sake, but decided against such. Sometimes the past should remain just that, the past.