Saturday, September 29, 2007

the heart of the hood

Having grown up in suburbia, I'd always wanted to live that "city" life--you know, staying in some highrise and taking public transport everywhere and carting my groceries home in a little metal cart on wheels. It seemed so exotic and fancy. But over the years as I've hung out with cc in her hood, I realized that its neighborhoody vibe is much more my style. In Lincoln Square, they can walk to good restaurants and interesting shops, the El is nearby, friends don't have to spend 40 minutes trolling for parking (and when they do, it's free). The bumping nightlife isn't too far away, but the area is quiet with a lot of families. It has cute cafes, parks where kids play little league and martial artists practice on Sunday mornings, and its home to the Old Town School of Folk Music, which, despite it's hippie-ish name, offers classes in everything from Flamenco Dance to Capoeira.

This last week, I spent several more days at cc's barren digs. Even though we both had to work, we went to comedy shows, a friend's book release party, and stayed up watching all the premiere-week shows. It was a blast, as usual.

But as I was packing up my air mattress and saying good-bye, I was also getting my last look around her place. I've been coming over there for tea and great conversation for almost five years. I can't count how many times I've sat on her green-and-gray stripedy couch, gossiping until the sun peeked in through the blinds, the birds began chirping and her husband stumbled in half-asleep asking, "you guys are STILL TALKING?" Or how many times her son, b, came tearing down their long front hallway wearing some sort of superhero getup. I've crashed over there so much, and always got great sleep in that oh-so-comfy Spiderman sheet--covered bed.

It was hard to recognize the place without all the signs of the family who'd lived there: no framed black-and-white baby pictures on the walls; no wall-to-wall bursting cases of books; no viney-plant that I'd given them on the kitchen windowsill. (It touched my heart that her husband, P, took it to San Diego as a carry-on item). And there wasn't a Power Ranger in sight.

I know it's going to break cc's heart to hand over the keys today. Even though she was born and raised in New York, she appreciates how great this city is more than anyone else I've ever met. And while I'm lucky that she's going to be here for a while longer yet, saying goodbye to her place is just another reminder that soon I might be saying goodbye to her.

Lincoln Square is just never going to be the same.

9 comments:

Sphincter said...

Aw, bummer! But what a great excuse to head to the West Coast--you've GOT to visit.

Sphincter said...

P.S.
I've linked to you on my blog. If you choose not to be associated with Sphincterhood, I will understand...It's not for everybody.

R2K said...

: )

Alexandra said...

i feel so happy when i hear someone is moving to san diego- its paradise on earth over there and don't listen to anyone trying to say different - they're just afraid EVERYONE will want to move there-

anyway- she'll be happy there

Jon said...

I have 2 sisters that live in SD. That's got to be worth something, right?

ML said...

That's so sad :(, but you'll still have to visit, right? Just a different place.

Radioactive Jam said...

You know the saying "some things never change?" Wouldn't it be great if you could decide which parts of your life that would apply?

naechstehaltestelle said...

I LOVED Lincoln Square when I stayed with a friend there. It just seemed so comfy and hip at the same time. I'm sorry your friend will be leaving. It's always hard to say goodbye to a friend who will stay up all night and gossip.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog while looking up pictures on Google Images for the Pessimist's Mug...and ended up reading it for at least a half hour. I must say you're absolutely hilarious. =]