tiny and giant, fast and slow

I watched the silhouette stride across the three mammoth windows of Grand Central Station – just a tiny stick of shadow making its way through giant panes of light. Nobody minds when someone stands still in the middle of Grand Central because everyone is either a commuter or a tourist. Commuters rarely pause and tourists rarely speed. The two kinds of Grand Central Stationers coexist easily and well, as long as they respect the plaid crossing pattern when they do decide to move.

You know the pattern I mean, right? I remember it from marching band and 5th grade choir concerts. One line of people meets another line of people at a diagonal and when the lines intersect, the people alternate so both lines pass through toward different directions. Anyway, that’s how movement happens in the Station and it is a wonder to observe. Diagonals on diagonals and motion on motion and it all buzzes like a beehive of ambition toward productivity of work or play.

And above all the commotion was this solitary figure last night, the tiniest silhouette framed by summer evening city light.

I straddled the world between tourist and commuter (because I am rarely fully either) and tilted my head toward my right shoulder to consider what tiny looks like against giant and what fast looks like inside slow. It was probably foolish, stopping like that for no reason.

But I can’t shake the mystery of feeling both tiny and giant, both fast and slow.

Living in the city is like that for me. It is why my body felt like a hundred dead weights by the time I reached my apartment door with groceries last night and it is also why I went on a bike ride with my husband to listen to jazz in a tea room an hour later. The perfect sunset breeze, an upright bass, and the best conversation over a decaf cappuccino is what summer date nights are made of.

And so we rush a little bit to slow down a lot. We subway scurry home from work and we bike to lazy trumpet sounds. It is like the calm, steady stride of a silhouette in giant train station windows above a frenzy of motion – both tiny and giant, both fast and slow.

things that don’t surprise me

The heat is borderline unbearable, but I still love it.

People think I’m crazy, but I love getting into my car and letting the thick, stale air hug me for a minute before the sweat starts to trickle. I wear my hair down and drive with my windows open and try to remember how much I longed for these days in December. I love summer.

This summer day reminds me of the days I lived in Chicago. The oppressive heat is part of it (it was walk or public transport if I wanted to go somewhere), but today makes perfect sense in light of my track record (read funny stories here) of strange things.

I had a meeting at the University for a social media project I’m working on. I know – you’re jealous already. I’m getting paid to do social media and I’m still giddy about it. I decided to bike to campus because parking tickets are outrageous and because I love biking (thank you craigslist and that nice family man in Des Moines who sold me a purple beauty). I realized soon after I started that I would not show up to my meeting looking refreshed.

After I parked my bike and booked it up two flights of stairs to be 5 minutes early, I was wiping sweat off my nose and eyebrows for the next 20 minutes. After I had introduced myself and sat down, I realized my flip-flop was broken. Between my heaving breaths, sweat wiping, and random throat tickle (of all times to get a tickle attack!), I managed to ask intelligent questions while planning an exit strategy with a broken flip-flop.

At the end of the meeting, I peeled myself from the chair in the conference room and squeezed my toes in a last ditch effort to walk out with my dignity (and my broken flip-flop). When I realized this was impossible, I picked up the beaded thrift-store sandal (thanks, Dad) and said, “Well, I guess my flip-flop broke. That’s awkward!”

I thought I’d dealt with the worst of it when I walked out of Ross Hall barefoot and then I climbed on my purple bike. With one flip-flop on and one flip-flop in my right hand, I biked back to my house with a ridiculous case of the giggles. I imagined the inner conversation of every person I met, “I wonder why that girl is barefoot… Doesn’t she know it’s illegal to ride a bike without shoes? Humph…. high school kids! Seriously, she’ll lose a toe!”

And I just giggled.
These things never surprise me.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy