The Notorious Nomad Settles

I’m just, just getting resettled in Chicago. Blogging right now is a little risky. Anything I write sets me up for a definite (and now public) whoa, that’s really what you thought? or a little did you know…a few weeks down the road.

But I’m blogging anyway. Here’s why:

I was trying to get on the ‘L’ (the train) the other day and it wouldn’t let me. I beep-beeped my little Ventra card and I pushed my weight against the entrance gate…and nothing.

Really? I thought to myself. I tried walking through again. The bar didn’t budge. What on Earth!?

Anyone who has been in this situation (which if you live in Chicago, is you) knows that there are few worse feelings in the world.* It’s like. The Ventra card failing causes instant panic, I don’t care who you are. Because there’s always someone behind you and there’s always a train coming and because that’s just the power of the evil Ventra card.

At that dark moment though, on this particular day, a man walked up and in one sentence and with one effortless movement saved the day.

“You’re trying to go through the wrong gate,” he said matter-of-factly.

He reached his card across the way to my entrance, touched his card on the correct corresponding touch pad for the gate that I was trying to enter, and then left through his gate–the gate that I had unintentionally opened for him.

In one beat. Just like that.

It took me a split second to realize what had just happened.

(And about ten tries to explain that in words right now.)

Forgive me, but yes, I’m going there. I’m turning this embarrassing little story into a metaphor. Because this is a bit how I feel about moving back to Chicago and it’s just too perfect.

First, the obvious: I’ve run into some annoying gates.

Stomach problems? Check! Losing vision rapidly in one eye? Check! Feet randomly bleeding from my shoes so that I am dripping blood and incapable of walking without a significant limp? Check! Temping at a law firm and the first sentence from the boss being, “WHAT. YOU DON’T KNOW LAW. WHY ARE YOU HERE.” Check!

Transitions are tough.

Even despite earning a reputation as a nomad, since I’ve lived in 4 states for longer than a month in less than a year (holy crap, I had not counted that til now!), it still is an adjustment being back in the city.

However, I feel energized and ready. Ready for whatever! Ready to delve into my craft. And even though I might struggle a little at the gate, I have a pass and a sense of which train I’m trying to get on, and some truly amazing people who are there for me.

Because it would seem that you really only need one quick thinkin’ somebody to help you out.

And at the very least, I do have that. A rather important Somebody, actually, who is watching out for me as I explore, wide-eyed, this bizarre city-world so foreign to me, so completely different than the world I grew up in.

So today, in the face of the inevitable little did you know to come, and despite every gate I’ve faced, I’m choosing optimism.


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