More of the Mundane........

Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Friday, July 21, 2006

More of the Mundane (Hey, some of this is soul searching so it's not all going in this blog!)

Wednesday night I took Tim out for dinner as a 'thank you'- great meal, but Chicago prices! Cigarettes (yes, am still doing that) as much as $7.30 a pack, I got a diet coke for $2.75; at this rate I'll be back at work soon!

We came back and a friend of Tim's came over and we watched 'Project Runway'. Now, I have been adamantly opposed to so called 'reality shows' but some months ago I was home sick and watched last seasons' show and became addicted. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend. Basic premise is fashion designers compete and get on a show where they are given challenges to make a specific dress/outfit and then are judged by some really snarky fashionistas. Heidi Klum hosts and almost makes you think that there is some science to making a skirt fall 'just so'. The designers are snippy with each other and as the show unfolds, suddenly you have favorites and those you can't wait to see booted off the show. Yup, I am becoming middle America I guess.

Yesterday I finally made it to The Chicago Institute of Art where I swore that since I am now back on my feet, I would see every single gallery and get some damn culture and start stocking up on experiences. [We all know where this is going.]

I did see most of the CIA and their finest works (Including Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon the Island of the Grand Jatte" and Hoppers' "Nighthawks" and of course Woods' "American Gothic") but my feet! My back! I diligently slogged about 4-5 hours before finally calling it a day, and time for Advil!

It was interesting to be alone in a museum. I started pondering my whole 'aloneness'. I was free to take a brisk walk through galleries I didn't like, and linger long at works that caught at me. But I felt that I was missing things that someone else might have noticed. I also missed sharing my views of what I saw. Yet when I go to a museum with others, I only find myself impatient- not wanting to wait while spending time at pieces that do little for me, annoyed to have to move on from those that do. A dichotomy indeed. Being alone allows for greater freedom, but in that give and take with others, I think much more is given and received. Somewhere deep inside I crave freedom and control over my own destiny, be it the amount of time in front of a picture, or the direction of my life. But I also know that while I often chafed at the limitations found in a relationship, each relationship has contributed to my growth, made me pause and think more (about paintings, and the direction of my life) and forced me to look where I would not have looked. Bottom line, I felt lonely at the Art Museum.

Last night was also the Melissa Etheridge concert. After dinner, Tim, Craig and I went downtown. The concert was at an elegantly restored old theatre with a coffered lobby and gilded auditorium. Again, Tim came through with spectacular tickets. We were in a box on the first balcony (in the old Opera days, the best seats in the house). Now, what I know about Melissa Etheridge (hereafter Melissa) could be put in the following sentence: Breast cancer survivor, lesbian singer, a few good hits. She blew us away.

Now, going there we knew it would be a mostly lesbian audience, and made some jokes at the expense of our lesbian sisters (..."follow the mullets, we must be close to the theatre!") and for the most part the crowd was indeed 80% female. There were a few exceptions, in the box next to us was straight guy who brought his girlfriend, and I saw in the audience a smattering kids, and other gay men.

Melissa performed for over 2 hours straight. Now, those of you who know me recognize I am somewhat of a symphony or opera guy- by the end of the show I was screaming, dancing, applauding, hooting, whistling and generally havin a gay-old-time. What I loved about the show was the range of emotion in her songs and performance.

Before I go further, I have to say that to some this may seem like a long 'gay' screed. Please understand that this is not my intent, but as part of the journey I am taking, I am getting more in touch with that part of myself (some may say I am waay too in touch with that part, but please understand, I am sharing this blog with people who didn't even know I am gay, so it is a big step). Also, the current atmosphere here in Chicago is so unusual in that the welcome is so apparent it simply has been moving. So if this part is a bore to you, please move on, I am sure there will be more cockroaches in my future!

One song was particularly moving. As a cancer survivor, Melissa sang a little about her experience. Tim reached over, grabbed my hand, and said that Debbie was probably smiling down on us. For those who don't know, Deb was probably the 'last straw' in my decision to make a change in my life. She suffered terrifically from ovarian cancer that spread to her bones and caused her to die in great agony. I was close to her.

Debbie is the one who taught me the meaning of 'bitter tears'. One day we sat talking and she held my hand and cried bitter tears, saying all the things she wanted to do yet with her life, the places she wanted to see, the hopes she had, all now gone as she lay suffering and dying trapped in her bed. I learned through her to classify tears a bit more discretely than before. While some cultures have many words for snow to describe all the variety- we only have 'snow': And we only have the word 'tears', but I know that there are many kinds. We place adjectives before this word, and build sentences around it to make the type of tears clear. Bitter is one word we use, and I don't think it really gets to the core of the pain, but it is a start. So I thought of Debbie crying bitter tears and all that she went through (and yes, here we go again) I started crying. Insert a 'sigh' here. Crap, I been in Chicago ten days and done cried twice! Feeling like a big sissy!

But the from the tears of cancer, Melissa went on to the outrage and anger at the world we see today in politics and acceptance of minorities. She of course did love songs. She ended doing "Piece of my Heart" and appeared to channel Janis Joplin. It was amazing. I went online today and started reading her lyrics, I think she is vastly underappreciated and I plan on buying her CD's.

Today has been a lazy day- doing laundry, talking on the phone to handle business, catching up on e mail. Tonight I am moving to Jodina's house (I have been at Tim's for over ten days, I think it's time to give him a break!). Jody lives on the south side and is much further away from the action but I can't wait to spend some time with her.
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