Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clearing Out

So in the last couple of weeks I discovered Craigslist. Not that I didnt know it existed - heck I even walked past Craig's little office in Sunset when I was in San Francisco last year. But I had never actually transacted over the web. I know people bid for Manohlo's on Ebay, but I could never bring myself to actually sell or buy anything from strangers. Now with the move to Chicago and all, I have decided to sell all my old furniture and literally start afresh. I think that moving allowance could be better used to buy a cute couch than transport old stuff half way across the country. Anyway, I posted my furniture online on a Monday and by Saturday most of it was gone. That’s what I called a perfect marketplace. Those dimly recalled economics classes about fair price, demand / supply et al are actually beginning to make mild sense. Anyone who wants a decent dining set and some really old cane chairs, please ping me.
I am in Chicago this week, ostensibly searching for apartments. Surprisingly, its turning out to be rather difficult. Again Craigslist is what we turned to and hopefully by the weekend we will have a few places shortlisted. Other than our bland corporate apartment (an aside – I am officially sick of corporate apartments, this being my 5th one) and the office, I haven’t seen much of the city yet. Though I did enjoy my bus ride to work. It reminded me of Singapore and how much I have missed really tall buildings. I have written earlier about how I am a huge fan of public transportation, not just because of environmental reasons, but also because its just so scalable and convenient. I am half inclined to sell our car and just walk or take the bus everywhere, but obviously K isn’t that keen. Perhaps, I can nag him into getting a city car at the least, a cute Beetle or a Prius.
There’s something special about riding the bus in a big city. You feel really small and yet absolutely buoyant as you look at the buildings around and catch a flash of blue sky that is breathtaking against the clamor and the noise. For all its bigness, Chicago feels pretty relaxed. It doesn’t have the mad rush-ness of New York or the intense politicky-ness of DC. And its not as cold as I thought it would be. I mean, it is 12 below zero today, but with 3 layers of clothing and ample headgear I actually didn’t feel it so much. See, I do know how to look on the bright side!
And talking about bright side – go Obama! He took Wisconsin and Hawaii this week and hopefully will sweep Ohio and Texas. Every time I see Clinton speak, I feel like I am watching a female Bush – shallow, power hungry and secretive. And then there’s Obama, who for all the taunts about shallow speeches, radiates integrity. Whats more, he has taken well meaning advice and started weaving his policy statements into his speeches. I don’t believe people actually listen to that though, they just want to know that they finally have a leader who can be trusted. The result of all this is that Obama is eating into Clinton’s so called base – white men, union members, blue collar workers and older folks. All this excitement lead me to do something I would never have otherwise – I actually donated some of my hard earned money to Obama’s campaign. That’s how much I believe in him! My friend is throwing a fundraiser for Obama this Sunday at Busboy’s and Poets with Michelle Obama attending. If you are interested in donating and / or attending click here.
Yesterday night as I was watching Obama’s speech in Houston, I felt literal chills down my back – he was that compelling and charismatic even if I had heard most of the lines before. And I just had this sinking feeing that some racist pig somewhere is going to assassinate this guy if he actually wins the nomination (or the presidency). And guess what I read in the Times right afterwards – a lot of people feel the same way! Which is a sad statement on the state of affairs that is. The world really needs some hope, methinks.
Other than that, the next few weeks is going to be about saying goodbye to DC. I went to the National Gallery of Art last weekend to say goodbye to my favorite paintings. An amazingly articulate assistant curator gave our group a compressed tour through the Western art section. She talked about the passage of art from Religious to Renaissance to Baroque to Impressionist and Post Impressionist so passionately that I came away wanting to take an art history course (another to do on my list of things to do before I die). It was one last goodbye to my favorite Renoir – Girl with a Watering Can (a print hung in my bedroom for years) and of course my favorite artist of all time – Vincent Van Gogh. Anything he paints is a veritable explosion of colors – even when you think it’s a two tone painting, it really isn’t. For instance, when you see this particular painting up front, the background is not just greens and yellows like you think it would be, but also some delicate pinks, mauves and light blues. If that isn’t art, what is?
After I get home (or back), I have dates with the Freer and the Sackler and the Phillips and short stops at the Smithsonian, the Hirschorn and lunch at the Museum of the American Indian. Although I know Chicago has great hangouts, there will be a few last hurrahs at my DC hang outs – Brick’s Keller, Chi Cha Lounge and Buffalo Billiards here I come! One other thing I want to do is actually go to the top of the Monument and take in a sweeping view of DC – which in all two years of living there I have never actually done. And before I know it, it will be spring and the cherry blossoms and time to actually leave.

1 comment:

mmafan said...

TMZ,

Good luck on your move to the Windy City. I envy you in the biggest way. Chicago is a dynamic, yet very relaxed city compared to DC and other Northeast cities. I'm sure you will have a great time there.

I left the DC area back in November after 7 years for a move to Southern PA and a new job in Baltimore. I felt personally it was time to move on. To be quite honest, I am much happier now.

While I thought I would miss the DC region madly, especially the ammenities and Metro access, I have adjusted well here. Baltimore takes getting used to, but it is much slower and laid back than DC. The great thing is that I can still get to DC in a couple of hours and enjoy it now as a "tourist".