A CHANGE OF THOUGHT

NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN CHICAGO, YOU CAN CONSTANTLY BE BOMBARDED WITH PEOPLE ASKING FOR MONEY. HOPEFULLY MOST GIVE IT WHEN THEY HAVE IT TO SPARE. IT IS HARD TO WATCH THE AVOIDANCE BY SOME AS THEY CLUTCH THEIR BANANA REPUBLIC SHOPPING BAGS … A SIMPLE “I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING” SHOWS MORE RESPECT THAN IGNORING ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”

Thanks Charles Dickens, I couldn’t have said it better myself. (See, here I go again, stealing another artist’s words.)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about balance. Taking the good with the bad, the happy with the sad. Searching for a gray area in a world that sometimes seems to only want to be black or white. But what I have recently discovered is the varying shades it can hopefully all be.

I believe in karma. I think that what you put out in the universe will eventually come back to fully reward you or bite you pretty hard in the ass.

I am not a kind person because I expect one day to be given a medal because I gave my last $1.45 away on the train last night. (I knew it was payday today, and I would have a means to the end of my “poverty” … at least for a minute.) I am kind because I do believe you should treat others as you would want to be treated.

The girl that came through the train I had seen once before, several months ago as I waited to board at Roosevelt. I had just left the grocery store across from the station when she approached several people around me, only to come up empty-handed. I knew I had no cash or change, so when she got to me I asked if she would want some food instead. Her response was emphatic, and she thanked me repeatedly as I tore off a banana and opened a box of granola bars to leave her with a few. So when she came through my car last night, I didn’t hesitate to give her half of what I had. (And truth be told, I had even borrowed that change from my friend Joe, to be doubly sure I had enough fare to get home last night.) And I was thankful to be able to give the rest of it away just a few minutes later, to a man seemingly in just as bad of a situation as the girl before him.

I’m fortunate to have a more-than decent life. I have wonderful family, friends and even some great colleagues.  I have a roof over my head and there is power charging up my laptop as I type this. I’ll go to Elim Wigs in the morning and treat myself to $10 worth of fantastic cheap jewelry or maybe a new hat; I’ll see a preview of a play tomorrow night; have meals with friends this weekend; and I already purchased Huxley a few bully sticks to celebrate his birthday, and a can of sardines for Talullah so she wouldn’t feel left out. I won’t be going to Reckless Records and buying any new vinyl, but maybe I’ll find a $3 gem at Shake Rattle and Read. I can only dream of taking a last-minute flight to Amsterdam, but walking my pooch to the beach so he can enjoy the ice and snow will be thrill enough for now.

I guess what I am trying to say is that my priorities are always covered, and sometimes I can treat myself to little “happies.” I have to remember  more to take great solace in that. When it comes to matters of finances, I need to not constantly see it as and all-encompassing, soul-sucking, stressful 3C-9017 … but view it as more of a 14-4106 TCX. (Sorry non-design geeks, those are Pantone colors … a British Traffic Black and the much lighter Gray Dawn.) So I’ll shift more towards 11-0602TPX (Snow White) and rejoice in the fact that I don’t have to walk up and down the aisle of a train to ask strangers for their change when I have the support that I do.

Someone will always be there to catch me if I do lose my balance.

In the best of times … or the worst of them.

THE BALANCE I SEEK COMES IN MANY FORMS … FROM SURVIVING THE BLEAK FAMIALARITY OF THE RED LINE EACH DAY OR YET ANOTHER SNOWY NIGHT IN CHICAGO … TO FINDING SNAPSHOTS OF COLOR AND KITSCH AROUND THE DECAYING CORNERS UP MY UPTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD.

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