in which witness is borne: birds, politics, fiction and critical art theory

Leaving Logan Square

Saturday, August 06, 2005
winding down the move this past week, i glimpsed a pair of AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES feeding on the sunflowers in the back yard of the old place. Our move takes us not far to the south, and a bit west of where we were--and i'd like to take a moment to appreciate Logan Square, palm over my heart.
Even though we were in the borderlands of the neighborhood, in an isolated house that has sat hauntedly on its corner for 130 years, we managed to extract some of the pith from this rapidly gentrifying place: Las Asadas, the taco shack with its new orange menu sign and tiny barstool counter. S. sang its praises whenever I left town, reverting in a flash to ordering chicken tortas and taquitos with salsa verde rather than cooking on the stove himself. Why not, it was damn cheap. And there was Cafe Lula, as Ira Glass writes, arguably the best neighborhood restaurant in the city. I'm a cheap date, so I liked the reasonably priced yet consistently yummy items on the menu, plus the fact that you get a free mini-appetizer consisting of whatever the chef is experimenting with that week.
Never mind that these usually resemble a fried cricket with some sort of spicy mayo, I appreciate the gesture.
Osco Drug. What can I say. You were like my reluctant yet reliable childhood friend, the one who never really got who I was, but was there for me anyway. You had limitations, but these were clear and well-marked, so no surprises: stocking Monistat, but locking it in a plexiglas case so I had to suffer the humiliation of having a male employee open it and walk me to the front counter; a produce section consisting of seven avocados and a box of pallid tomatoes; and a reliably bad computer system, which always misses the sale items, requiring the cashier to call for a price check even when i KNOW i am, like, the eighth person that day to purchase that particular sale item. It got so that I would get the sale item, bring it to the front, and let everyone in the line go ahead of me because i knew it wouldn't show up correctly in the computer.
And finally, the Blue Line train at Western and Milwaukee. As long as I have memory, this will be my favorite CTA station. I got to know its particulars so well: the elevator that takes you to a bridge above the train platform, where, if you are trying to take the train on the other side of the platform, you must get off the elevator and walk across the bridge, where a second, secret elevator operates between the bridge and the platform but doesn't descend to street level; the kiosk on the west side of Western, which allows riders to use their passes to get on without going into the station, but at their own risk(several times I had the misfortune of getting my card stuck or otherwise malfunctioning at this location, causing me to enter the byzantine system of CTA pass rescue); and on and on. They even now have a Dunkin Donuts inside the station, a mystifying development given the CTA's injunction against eating and drinking on the train. Maybe they expect people to simply hold their donuts?
8:09 PM :: ::
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