Went to Chicago this weekend to visit my folks. I do miss Chicago, though I could never move back. Its alot of fun, and the people are good. You have to break through the ‘city gaze’ to talk to anyone, but once through that wall you are rewarded richly in conversation.
My parents have their place under contract… now the busy work of daily showings and cleaning nightly of the place is done… and finalizing the sell is all that’s left. Not a bad price, but they still don’t have a location to go to. Chicago? Wisconsin? Someday maybe Scottsdale… but I kinda doubt it. They’re not exactly fond of the heat, and they really know the midwest. Arizona for them is where old people go to die. The midwest is where you live.
I found real espresso near their condo in the city… one block away. After all these years, and right when they are leaving their building, I found the perfect cup. Its an Italian deli smack next to a starbucks. I walked passed the full Starbucks Saturday morning into the empty deli. It had to be twice the size of the Starbucks, half filled with empty tables and chairs, half with meats, cheeses and a lone espresso machine separated by the standard deli counter. The atmosphere is as cluttered with items bunched together in a manner like you’d find in Italy, but much of it was gaudy merchandise common in the city. I did noticed a few items that I saw back in Sienna.
I had gotten a cup there the day before on a lark when I was walking to the river. The cup was perfect. It was exactly like what I had at the better coffee stands in Sienna. Saturday morning was no exception. I bought the espresso, and sat down by the window. Eight AM Saturday morning is usually dead in that part of the city… but I could see a few people walking in the morning cold. Clutching their breakfast as it was slowly turning to ice in their hands as they walked on.
Italy was nice… people hurried though the streets of Perugia, but always paused in the morning to take in the day. Unlike Scottsdale, Chicago is surrounded by art, but no audience seemed to enjoy it. Italy had the art and the audience. Staring out that window, I could see only the drudgery of ones daily activities. Maybe the cold hides the truth under hats and scarfs, but I grew up there. Much is lost from the daily routine of people crawling through the city… hurrying through the sprawling beautiful architecture for a few dollars and, if they’re lucky, some potential.
I spent part of Saturday at the art institute… watching children joylessly sketching sculptures made years ago in their lily white pads. To think that I was one of them years ago; no clue of what was in front of me. Couldn’t wait to leave, couldn’t wait to grow up. But I had my books. I had my art. I had a reason to stay. I left regardless of that reason, and I stopped writing. I found art where art wasn’t intended… but whenever I come back to Chicago, seeing the intentions of those left behind makes me miss that which I left. There is nothing to go back to; anything desired would have to be rebuilt again. One cannot build again what was once destroyed.
The coffee was really good in that store. Being so hot in Arizona, its hard to find good coffee there. I know of a coffee shop in Scottsdale that can do a good cup of espresso, and their beans are locally roasted… which are brewed to perfection in that present given to me by my bride. But I bought a two pound bag in that store to bring home… hoping to get the same flavor I had in Chicago. And I have every intention of going back and getting more.