Week 1, Day 6

Today started out with a bike ride to my yoga class, which mercifully started at 8:30 instead of 7 this week, so I could sleep in. After class, Ellie took me over to a farmers’ market about a mile and a half away at The Plant, a food to energy facility about 14 blocks south of here. I so, so, so wanted to tour the building, but the first tour wasn’t until 11:30 and it was only 10 and I had a lot to do, and it was a small market so hanging for an hour and a half seemed creepy (although I did manage to spend 45 minutes there). I plan to get back another week when there isn’t a deadline looming.

How did I manage to spend 45 minutes there, you ask? (Or if you’re smart, you didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you anyway.) I started with a stop at the Pleasant House Bakery stand, where I purchased the first thing that attracted my eye. It turned out to be a coriander-orange custard custard doughnut. I am not a big fan of orange flavoring in my food, but it was too late because I already bought it (buy first, ask later, fly without a net, it’s the only way), and I was really hungry (I hadn’t eaten before yoga, and it was 10am), and oh, am I so glad I got it. That thing was delicious! I walked around in a stupor while I ate it, nibble by nibble. I did not want that thing to go away. You can’t have your doughnut and eat it, too. But you can buy another, should the necessity arise. Always bring enough cash to farmers’ markets – although at this one you could buy at any booth and swipe your card at the front booth.

When a bakery is that good, you have to go back. So I did. Twice. Once for this sticky bun kind of thing that is still stuck on my teeth I’m sure. Again with the orange, but oh so yummy. Then back again to buy a sourdough baguette, which I had to eat the end off of so it would fit in my backpack. Someone’s got to fall on these grenades, and I’m just the person to do it. Before you read on, you should know, lest you think I am a glutton, that I saved the sticky bun thing for later.

By this time, I was mighty thirsty, so I invested in a cup of cantaloupe water (he had watermelon water, too). This was a good choice. The vendor handed me the cup and said he put a lot of ice in it, and that after I finished I should come back for a refill, which I did a little later. This is the perfect after yoga drink. So refreshing, and not too sweet. The man’s son, about eight, was handling the money. Cute kid.

I walked across the aisle and got elote: grilled corn on the cob, smeared with mayo and cayenne pepper. This one was vegan, so they put some yeast powder or something on it, too. Once again, I got it with everything – no net! The mayo was Just Mayo, a vegan alternative mayo. I just had some on my sandwich, too. I think I like it better than regular mayo (sacrilege, I know).

I made my way back home, and eventually to good old Harold Washington Library (HWL). I am revising a paper I’m writing for The Science Teacher, the National Science Teachers’ Association high school science teaching magazine. Internet was out at the apartment, so I headed to the library, which was quiet (but busy) and comfortable (enough). There was only one (well, two) interruptions. The first was a pair of men arguing (with swearing) somewhere on the same floor I was on. Eventually, they stopped.

The other was a young man, maybe in his late twenties, who asked for help connecting his tablet to the internet. Well, actually, he told me he just bought a tablet from a pawn shop and was having trouble using it and noticed that I had a laptop and could I help him. He just wanted YouTube and Google.

I will admit I wavered on this one a bit. He was pulling a cart to which was attached several plastic shopping bags, most of which were filled with partially eaten containers of junk food (Pringles, soda, and the like). He was quite possibly homeless. Plus, I really wanted to get this paper done. On the other hand, he needed help in a topic I am almost expert in.

Something about his sincerity called to me. He just needed help. So I helped him. Actually, I told him I could help him for a minute or two, just to give myself an out. He took a box out of one of the bags, and unpacked a tablet. There were still the original packing materials. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be charged yet, but he turned it on and handed it to me. It turned out to be an Android system. My confidence suddenly fell away. I’ve never even TOUCHED an Android before, much less set up a network connection.

Fortunately, it was rather intuitive once I got oriented. For some reason I had to set up the network twice before it worked. The Chicago Public Library homepage came up, and I handed it back to him. He asked about getting connected on the train and at McDonald’s, so I showed him what I did. I think he was the happiest person in Chicago at that point. He thanked me profusely many times. He was so excited.

At five o’clock, I got kicked out of the library and headed home. I had a glass of wine with my host (who I think of as my roommate in my head) and his friend. They headed out to dinner and “something after that”. I’m happy to have the place to myself tonight so I can relax (except for the occasional loud explosion – it IS Fourth of July weekend, after all) and read.

 

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