Week 26: Halfway Point

July 5, 2010 at 7:16 (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

At Week 26, I am halfway through 52 Weeks of New — halfway through 2010.

T and I went to Denver this week for a speedy 48 hours in which we saw his old friend, my old friend, a couple peaks, some wildlife, Buffalo Bill’s grave, his haunted museum, a friend of mine get married, a full moon, two rainbows, a natural outdoors concert venue, a million hippies and something inside ourselves. We saw without looking that we are true Chicagoans.

Now lately I’ve been craving a lot of things Chicago doesn’t offer: trees, grass, inclines, rock formations and roads that don’t go straight out from where you are. In Denver, all that is around every sharp and windy turn, and it is beautiful. It’s so intangible how breathtaking it is, I hardly believe I was there. But Friday night’s concert at Red Rocks didn’t take my breath away, even with the altitude. I don’t know if it’s just my age or not my taste in music (we decided we didn’t care who played that night; only that we saw live music in such a magical venue), but the Widespread Panic crowd made us both miserable. And while it takes nothing to make me miserable, in T’s case it takes a lot.

I take it back. Widespread Panic was my taste. I love dancing to jam bands. I love how — when we were waiting in line — someone called out: “Hey, are you two not drinking beer because you don’t want to or just because you don’t have any?” And then they tossed us a couple of Blue Moons. Someone else offered up their water “because my mom bought me like a 36-pack for $1.50. What am I gonna do with them?” And in talking to these awesome people, we found out the majority of them are from Iowa. Astounding, since our very hospitable host was T’s friend from Iowa, as well.

The rest of the crowd, holy crap, left lots to be desired. Apparently Widespread Panic is the event of the season. Within hours of buying our tickets months ago, they all sold out. And when we rushed in to Red Rocks to lay down our blanket — after getting there hours early — the rest of the country rushed in with us. We made it as close as row 36, surrounded by sex, drugs and douchebags. They stepped on us, scowled at us, pushed us around, danced on top of us, encroached further and further on our square foot of space, blew smoke of all kinds in our faces and — in an uncommonly Midwestern gesture — generously offered of themselves via cocaine on the pinkies of their fingers. We rejected it all, leaving early after traveling all that way to get there. What I may have pretended to enjoy even two years ago I had a hard time feigning interest in because T wasn’t into it himself. And that taught me that Denver is not comprised solely of the active and the activists among us: Sometimes it kinda just hypocritically sucks.

This vacation taught me a lot: how much I enjoy travel, seeing how much old friends have changed, making new friends; and it reminded me to take more advantage of Chicago in summer and any activity and nature I can access. But it also confirmed something I learned when I visited LA in January: whereas I always thought I might want to live anywhere, I now know there are fewer and fewer places that qualify to be my home.

The Midwest is the best. The people are the best and the opportunities are the best. There’s lots other cities have that we don’t, but I can always visit. Unless, of course, the incomparable Chicago O’Hare International Airport gets in my way.


1 Comment

  1. t said,

    I love to travel, but hate being away from home for too long. I know exactly how you feel.

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