I can’t remember what happened which days. I’m referring to texts and emails – of which there are dozens – to try to piece together some kind of timeline. But here are the notable happenings of my first week sans my parents.
On the goodbye Sunday, after parting from my family at Panera Bread, I was collected by the roomie and her family, and dragged along on hours – hours – of shopping for her belongings. It’s always interesting to see how other families operate, and, no matter how nice the other people might be - it pretty much never fails to make me grateful for my family.
After much shopping, we went to Roomie’s parents’ airbnb and I applied for jobs on their wifi before becoming entirely distracted by the Olympics. I don’t understand how I – the least sporty person on earth – turn out to be the one who is most invested in the Olympics in every group I’m part of. I want to hear every word the commentators say. I want to see every competitor, even the ones that have no hope of winning. Next time around, I swear I will have good, consistent Olympics access.
On Monday, I gave the roomie’s family a proper introduction to IKEA. I feel like I was born going to IKEA, so taking first timers was a decidedly bizarre experience. The roomie and her mom had actually visited the store once before – but not properly. They’d tried to run in and out for one thing, not knowing that that’s just not how you do IKEA. When they saw a bed they liked in the showroom, Roomie’s dad asked, tiredly, “Do we need to find someone to come help us take this out of here?” Not knowing that the nice flat-packed version was helpfully downstairs. On the drive home, when the various articles we’d purchased were being listed, he kept saying, “Wait. We got a bed AND a couch AND a bookcase back there?”
We ate lunch at Souplantation (which isn’t called that anymore, but I don’t remember what it is called) and I was sort of delighted to find that their menu hasn’t changed since I was six years old. The same corn bread and soft serve ice cream in those swirly bowls! In a world of change it is nice to have a constant.
In the afternoon I visited an adorable vegan-friendly café/coffee shop called Atomix. The kindly barista was the sort of guy who always looks happy but slightly startled, and stares right into your eyes for a second before responding. I kept wondering if I was saying or doing something abnormal, and it was surprising him – but I think that’s just how that guy was.
I applied for a job at a vegan restaurant and immediately got a call about it, which reeked of desperation, but was extremely exciting.
Tuesday was applying for a million more jobs, and downloading an NBC app so I could watch 30 minutes of free gymnastics at a coffee shop. Simone Biles, guys.
Wednesday was a day of drudgery. I sat with the roomie at an uber hipster tea and Indian food place in Wicker Park, applying for jobs. I left to get the electricity turned on, rode a bus for 40 minutes to the wrong place, got hot and hungry and decided to have consolation Chipotle. I printed resumes at FedEx. It was all pretty boring.
On Thursday, during a visit to the West Loop area, I noticed that a positive thing about my neighborhood is that it doesn’t smell like pee. Because, nice as it is, some of West Loop smells like pee. I did more boring grown-up stuff before heading off to a very nerve-wracking interview for a job as a chocolate tour guide. (More on this later.)
Friday I got very, very rained on. Wet socks, wet shoes, wet pants. After going home and getting less wet, I had another nerve-wracking interview at the vegan restaurant. (Again, more on this later.) On my bus ride home, the manager called and offered me the job. With great joy, I emailed an artisanal cheese peddler from Craigslist that wanted me to interview with him (work would have started at 3-4 am on Saturday mornings) and told him that I was previously engaged. I took my first proper bath in an exhaustively scrubbed tub.
On Saturday we used the oven for the first time.
Sunday was the day of the “See Train” debacle, so I got dumped off in the West Loop, missed my church service, and consoled myself by buying a breakfast of Spicy Buffalo Tofu Strips at Whole Foods (on the way in to whole foods I walked past the most gorgeous black man I’ve ever laid eyes on, by the way - he was wearing SUSPENDERS and still looked good) and eating/tearing them in a way that must have been very unattractive, if not frightening. (But the gorgeous black man was not there to see me, so I didn’t care.)