From the monthly archives: "October 2013"


Oct. 15, 2013—

If you are in rough current, you look for signs.

I live on the near West Side of Chicago where there are more coffee shops than grocery stores. More often than not  I’m served coffee to go by slow moving, glum characters listening to Morphine.

This is no way to start the day.
On Monday morning I stopped at Swim Cafe for their fine coffee and oatmeal with brown sugar.

A new barista was behind the counter dancing to “I’m Coming Out.” She was in her inner disco zone as she was preparing a bagel.

I knew the dance-funk song but I had forgotten who had the hit. I looked it up when I got to my glum place of work——(Diana Ross, 1980; written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Chic). Well, I was not hanging out at gay discos in 1980.

It was Ross’s second solo hit single and she had said the lyrics reminded her of getting out from Berry Gordy’s thumb.

I doubt the Swim woman was of age when  “I’m Coming Out” was a hit. But the innocence of the scene made me smile. To her, it was likely a throw away moment. But for me, as I witness  connections become increasingly difficult and spontaneity less appreciated, it stuck with me the most of the day. 

I miss signs of random expression. They don’t even dance on the bar of the Matchbox anymore.

Where did our love go? (The Supremes, 1964).
You could get written up at some places for dancing to “I’m Coming Out” while you work. Coffee shops are filled with folks burrowed in laptops or punching away on their iPhones. 

Her happy dance reminded me to continue to try to step out of myself. 
The city’s seas are full of adventure. I need to remember that.
And for the rest of the day I tried to smile at strangers.