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Sweet Home Chicago

15 November 2008
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Yesterday I almost met with an accident. (I really did say that in my head – I’m not just trying to sound like my language changed because I was in India. Really, I’m not. Though I am bobbling my head a lot less than I thought I would. I think I subconsciously determined that I never again want to see the look the guard at Esther’s work building gave me when I bobbled my head at him, because that was really embarrassing. So I’m just not bobbling anymore.)

Yesterday, for the first time in eight months, I drove a car. At least three times I turned a corner onto the left side of the street, and it took me a few seconds to remember that I’m in Uh-merica now and we don’t drive that way in Uh-merica. And other times, when I saw another car turn into the right lane of the street I was driving on, my heart jumped into my throat because I thought, “Oh my goodness! That guy is headed straight for me, and he doesn’t even seem to care that he’s in the wrong lane. AHHH! I’m going to die!” And then I would remember that I’m in the right lane also. The reactions really surprised me, honestly, because it’s not like I drove at all in India or the U.K. But, for all of this wrong-lane-ed-ness, that’s not how I almost met with an accident.

Instead, the accident almost met me when I was staring at all the new banks in town. I mean, seriously, why is there a bank on every corner in Chicago now? And when that Burger King at North and Lasalle shut down, who thought “Ya know what would go great with that stench of old fry grease – the sweet smell of cold hard cash!”? Was it the same person who thought “Fifth Third” was a catchy name for a lending institution? Because it’s not.

So anyway, I was staring at this bank that used to be a fast food joint when I noticed out the corner of my eye that the light had turned green, so I hit the gas and almost plowed into the back of the car in front of me, driven by someone apparently more transfixed by the bizarrely named bank in front of us than I was. Or s/he just didn’t want to hit the man with the cane in the crosswalk. Whatever. Thankfully, my reactions have not been dulled by the jetlag that has been waking me up at 4 a.m., and I was able to slam on the brakes before any damage was done. Which is really good because I don’t even know what car insurance we have now. I really need to talk to Mike about that.

Anyway, moving on. I’ve been home for three days now, and I don’t really know what to say. At times, it feels like, despite the woefully unemployed state I now find myself in, I never actually left Chicago, and Zambia and India just make up a really, really, ridiculously long dream. (I could use that kind of sleep right now.) And then, at other times, I look around and think, where the heck am I? It happens just like that – I’ll be doing something Chicagoan-normal, like walking down the cosmetics aisle at Target, feeling perfectly fine, and then, emerging at the end, into a sea of consumers and red dots, I will kind of freak out inside. Just a little. Like I’m kind of lost and where’s the mango man?

And then, at home, I find myself telling my dog something I would have normally told my flatmates in India. (I would tell Mike, but he’s at work. One of us has to support my Target habit, after all.) Unfortunately, Chili interprets anything I say to her as “Time for a treat!”, so that doesn’t work so well and just leads to the whining. Not that I’m complaining about her whining, Mike. No, no, I LOVE the whining!

So when people ask me how I feel right now, I don’t know what to say. The only real answer right now is weird. Just weird.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Unity permalink
    15 November 2008 11:55 pm

    So happy to have you back Christine.

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