"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer



A change in the angle you look at the painting. Adjusting the equalizer a bit. Or hearing somebody else's side of the story. Otherwise known as a change in perspective.

How many ways has my first week of unemployment been the best week of my life? The more I think about it, the more way I count.

First, just seeing the neighborhood during the day again. Seeing the crazy homeless woman screaming profanity that would make a sailor blush at the Sun-times hawker as she muscles her shopping cart halfway onto the curb. Halfway on, halfway off, she turns around to shoot out a giant, bloody loogie at the paper guy. But, the wind catches it, sending it onto the hood of the car waiting at the light. I looked at it's driver, but he just half-smiled at me and sat there. David himself wouldn't have dared sling so much as a pebble at that woman.

I have too long been only down on the Mag Mile during the day, surrounded by waddling tourists and sweating suburbanites looking for absolutely nothing new or out of the ordinary. And the Mag Mile obliges. It's safe, flat, with pretty colors and nothing is scary. Rarely, at least. But in the depths of Chicago's neighborhoods during the daylight hours lurks inspiration that will take you to dizzying heights and depressing lows, all in a single block.

At 6:30 am yesterday morning, after my 5am team time trial practice ride, I sat at the Starbucks (safe as well, I know, but after a 90 minute ride at near 90% - all before the sunrise - I need some familiarity) at Irving and Damen, eating some yogurt and sipping coffee before my massage appointment. I was chatted up by a couple of half-drunk gents, red- and rheumy-eyed, about my bike.

"That's a nice bike man." I'd brought it in the entryway since I had no lock. "I used to be pretty into bikes, man. I was pretty good."

"Shut up. Yer no good at nuthin'," replied his bearded, grizzly friend, who looked to be 50 going on 80. "Can't even make love to a woman right." With these guys it was lines straight out of a Clint Eastwood movie from the '70's with an orangutan as the supporting actor.

"Shut up, Dad." They then both shared a tender moment from a plastic vodka bottle.

It's also been the networking. I have three job prospects from friends and teammates. Yesterday I enjoyed dim sum at a restaurant I walked past for 3 years in Argyle and never went into before then. We sat, talked about the wine biz, ate fun rolls, and watched Caroline take pictures for her restaurant blog. We headed out afterwards for a little bit of the aroma of the neighborhood (and if you've ever walked between Broadway and Kenmore on Argyle you know what I speak of) and sights and sounds of the street's many grocery stores. Here's one that gives the gist (I've submitted this to engrish.com):

(It's some sort of grape flavored gummy.)
"It's translucent color so alluring and taste and aroma so gentle and mellow offer admiring feelings of a graceful lady."

Knowing that I am done with the advertising scene forever has filled me with a joy that constantly refreshes every few minutes. All it takes is one particularly bad commercial - KFC for example - or simply one of the ubiquitous pea-green LaSalle Bank taxi toppers slinking around the city to remind me it's all behind and in the past. One breath of fresh, sweet bus exhaust while St. Ben's strikes noon on a hot day to tell me everything has changed.

Finally, it really is, as I always say, teammates who make the difference. Being up at 4:30 and riding at 5am three times this past week has filled me with power, confidence, and an unbeatable spirit. It has carried into every phone call about my resume, every time I investigate another job posting, and certainly today in the stellar first interview for a job in the 'burbs.

Yes, the 'burbs. With a 20 mile ride on decent roads, I can get training on my morning commute. The benefits are spectacular, the best I've even seen, and I felt the interview couldn't have gone better. So hopefully I am getting a call early next week. Although, if I could land a little bar tending a couple nights a week to round out a bike shop gig, that would be absolute heaven. So if any-youse bike riding drinkers out there have a lead, please throw it my way. That is if you already have a job yourself.

I leave you with a few more pics from the week...

At the Cubs Game:

An old Beemer in Wicker Park:

In the Zoo:

Sundays Salmonfest:

Happy Birthday, Jan!

Midnight, and drunk, heading home from Evanston on California. Who needs health insurance?!

But up at 6am for a beautiful Labor Day. The turn-around point:

Uncle Rick and me at Erik's Monday BBQ:

And his hat was pretty popular:

And from today's interview excursion to Elmhurst:

1 comment:

sophie said...

Lookit you all dressed up for an interview! Any word yet? I should come visit you at the restaurant where you're working.