Tue, 25 May 2004


last days in this city (cont.)

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The brief sojourn in the City by the Bay left me exhausted. I've taken two red-eyes now ever since I vowed never again to take a red-eye. Nothing beats rolling in at 5:30am, to the drear of false dawn creeping behind the Sears Tower, above the lake.

Like they say, you never know what you have until you lose it.

I distinctly remember thinking something along the lines of "I'm home!" as I cruised the Orange Line, half conscious. As close to home as anywhere, I suppose, despite the fact that I will no longer have a mailing address in six days, once again living out of my suitcase, as I often have in these five years since I left the city of my birth.

(I hesitate to call that place "home," it having become as alien to me as any place else. Except for my parents, everything from my childhood has been pretty much transformed or obliterated. My friends from elementary school have all moved on, as have my siblings, and every time I come back, I am made acutely aware that my life there is, thus far, quite unrealistic. More on that some other time, though.)

On the other hand, I wonder if the only reason why I wax nostalgic about the Windy City is the fact that I know I'm not going to be stuck here for another winter.

But I must say, it is in this city that I learned the beauty of being alone. Strangely, the alienation I feel amid the grid of these city streets feels "right." As I wander, disenchanted and full of cynicism, I feel bizarrely at peace.

I don't want to call it a surrender. I'm not going to claim that I will be alone forever. For one thing, I know I'd be accused of being melodramatic. Rather, I'd like to say that I have deferred romance and companionship indefinitely.

Still, the world turns, and I'm not getting any younger.

For now, I suppose I must be content to watch and live vicariously.

As I was first, so shall I be last.

Of my friends from college who decided to get an advanced degree, I was the first one to start school again, and I will be the last one to finish (by a margin of three weeks.) For a while I wasn't really looking forward to graduating. In my field, graduation is sort of anti-climactic. It doesn't really mark anything, other than the acquisition of a piece of paper. The epiphany of Match Day has come and gone, and the first day of internship looms ominously. We aren't finished by any means, and all of us will have to go through at least three more years of training.

But seeing B and his class march down that aisle reawakened my excitement.

Stupidly, I am doing rotations until the bitter end. (Some of my classmates have been on vacation for months now.) So, despite knowing that a watched clock does not move, I've been counting every second.

It's so close that I can taste it.

Anyway, I ended up sleeping all of yesterday away. I made it to my apartment around 7 am, took a shower, got dressed, and then drove through rush hour traffic to my final rotation. I probably almost died at least seven times, since I kept nodding off, but miraculously, I made it in one piece. Naturally, the paperwork was all screwed up, and I ended up not starting. So I got home around noon or so and passed out until 6pm. After talking to M briefly, I continued to pass out until 6am the next morning. And I was still exhausted. Maybe I'm coming down with something. (SARS, perhaps?)

So I'm still kind of in a daze today. I went to Jamba Juice today and found myself absent-mindedly staring at a girl, who smiled at me wryly and then laughed aloud along with her friend. I naturally panicked and withdrew my gaze.

I clearly have a lot to learn.

And I am clearly not all here.

I have very little incentive to focus these days. I kind of worry how I'll straighten up by the time internship starts.

17:36:46 25 May 2004 > /soul > permalink > 6 comments


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