Coming to you live from St. Louis, where I've spent roughly 1.3 of the past 3 months, all told. Now that I've been 26 for two days, the figurative part of growing up has come in the conscious decision to stop playing the martyr. You probably haven't realized it (because I'm so good at it!), but I'm really good at it. I spent my first afternoon home finding stealthy and biting ways to remind my mom that I'd rather be in Chicago. I've since taken a step back, buttoned my lip and chosen to appreciate my time here (for various reasons I will touch on later). Besides, it is best to take advantage of being laid off by getting out of town. A normal person would feel guilty using PTO to lie on a futon and watch License to Wed. A jobless person feels productive.
Yesterday I decided to ignore whatever sinister virus has taken over my bronchial region and go for a run down Forsyth and alongside Forest Park . It was drizzling a little, but the weather was pretty mild, and as I stopped to get a drink of water near the History Museum, I noticed a bee resting feebly on the faucet, picking up its legs individually to avoid the drops of accumulating rain. A last vestige of summer before the weather becomes completely unbearable. This is evident beyond the few resilient insects, as the park itself was still green and gold... a stately reminder of what makes this city quietly beautiful. Last week my aunt took her kids to the park to take advantage of another balmy day. In her email, she referred to these pictures being a reflection of "St. Louis at its best" - a pretty accurate statement.
My mom's listening to AM radio in the kitchen, and apparently we're getting snow today. I imagine I witnessed that bee's final moments on earth.
We had some family over for dinner last night, a small fraction of the whole (which means like, 15 people). I received half a bouncy ball and some phenomenal homemade cards, including one with my likeness drawn on it. It looks sort of like The Scream, only not as pretty. Instead of saying grace, my uncle decided to look up YouTube versions of I'll Tell Me Ma. I think my favorite is Sinead O'Connor. I can't take credit for these amazing montages involving burning embers, kittens and old album cover images. Someone far more genius than me had a hand in this. I just copy and paste.
I ushered in 26 drinking Bud Select and watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia with Annie, Kevin and Heather. It was perfectly mundane, and I loved it. Here's to hoping it sets the tone for the coming year. No unwelcome surprises. Business as usual. I have a lot riding on you, current age. If you let me down, I'll be forced to abandon you for something new this time next year.