Everyone has habits. You’ve got the kids who were thumb-suckers, the chronic hummers and harmonizers, the people who gesticulate wildly with their hands when they talk, and others still who were — or still are, you sickos — the nail-biters.

I’m a fist-baller.
I’m not sure why I do it or when I started doing it. And I don’t do it on purpose, of course — that’s how habits work: unintentional, subconscious and maybe a little too revealing of je ne sais quoi. I’m sure mine has something to do with stressors manifested in my psyche that result in a physical reaction. (…I just made that up.)

So. Not everything has been stellar since I got to Chicago. If we’ve spoken, I’m sure I’ve made it sound like it’s been nothing but gumdrops and lollipops.

Here’s the sour with my sweet: I can’t say I’ve missed a train; no, I couldn’t even get off the first train I got on. I am still sleeping on a couch. I accidentally woke up at the time I was supposed to be leaving for work this morning. I left work yesterday and was met by a chilling rain…umbrella-less.

But.
I look back on my train debacle and it’s actually pretty laughable. I saw Ogilvie; I hope I don’t see it again. But the conductor didn’t charge me for my pass and, GOD, those Metra employees are friendly. I’m sleeping on a couch but…well, I don’t know. It won’t get any worse? I woke up late this morning, got ready in record time and am coming to find out that being over-prepared isn’t always best — I got an hour extra of sleep and was only 30 minutes “late,” during which I would have done nothing. Do the math.

And oh, yesterday’s rain. Do you want to know what went through my head as I was walking to my car?

And another thing, never a briefcase in Paris and never an umbrella. There’s a law.

…This is not me. If you’ve met me, you know this is not my outlook on life. I’ve been saying the oddest things as of late, along the lines of, “It just feels right.” or, “Just let it happen.” I say it with a smile, but I’m also kind of serious.

I caught myself three times today with a curled fist. Sitting at my desk at work; reading at lunch; driving home, mid-harmony, windows down, my hand was in a fist. What does that feel like once I notice it, to have my muscles pulled tight like that? What does that look like to others? WHY?

I slowly unclenched it; I laid it on my desk, set it on my book, cupped the wind as it flew by. It doesn’t match. I don’t need it. Because the outlook above? Let it happen? No briefcase, no umbrella? Maybe that is me. Maybe it can be me. Maybe that’s what Chicago is giving me.

And, no friends: This isn’t Paris, but as I walked to where I sit tonight (Starbucks at Clark and Berwyn—its outdoor patio), I realized that I have yet to be anything but enchanted with this place. And I’ve not been to Paris yet, so this will do. Never a briefcase, never  (OK, sometimes. Probably. Yeah, the next time I remember) an umbrella. But thanks, Audrey. And Chicago.

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