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Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Thursday
Dec132012

« In Which We Begin To See Other People »

"Jumping", Gladys Nilsson

Elbows

by KARA VANDERBIJL

When he told me he thought I should see other people, I jumped at the chance to please him. 

I saw, in no particular order: 

— a barber named Lenny with a bald spot between his eyebrows

—  a much older man, but only because we took the same bus every day

— the insides of too many peanut-butter sandwiches

— an accountant, Chris, whose number fell out of my pocket at the same moment I saw him reading Game of Thrones on the Brown Line

— a man who bit his fingernails and then touched his iPhone

— Rahm Emanuel at the finish line of a 5K

— my neighbor’s chocolate lab, the existence of whom we were ordered to vehemently deny

— a person I believed to be Robert Downey Jr

— three waiters at breakfast joints who denied they had Earl Grey

— a gentleman with whom I exchanged no words, only glances, over piles of underthings at the laundromat

— a woman who whispered “Thank you, Jesus” when another woman got off the train

— the Turkish Consul General at Lenny’s barber shop

— a hipster who vocalized the “x” in “xmas”

— Chris, in a bookstore; I pretended I didn’t recognize him

— someone shorter, but only because we were sitting down the whole time

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

— a small child eating a piece of kimchi

— an ancient hippie listening to a transistor radio outside the public library

— an otherwise educated-looking individual who referred to the store as “Bloomie’s”

— a man who vacuumed and shouted into his telephone at the same time

— five-thirty AM

— two women who mistakenly equated “yes, I live here” with “I know the name and location of every restaurant in the city”


— a woman on a regional train who took off her shoes and put on slippers for the three-hour trip

— Canadians

— a young woman carrying a Target bag inside a beat-up J. Crew bag inside a beat-up Anthropologie bag

— Madonna’s hands on another person

— a man who reached out to touch my elbow although he was surrounded by women and I was trying to ignore him

— someone swimming in Lake Michigan

— an abandoned chicken nugget

— a man who knelt to pray over a homeless mother and child, then stood up and walked away

— no snow

— three Santas near the tree in Daley Plaza

— Lenny’s cousins, all equally bald except for one

— a couple in the bar across the street; I made bets on whether or not they’d hook up

— a person who opened a K-cup and ate the coffee grounds inside as if they were yogurt

—  a row of women with equally straightened hair and identical Longchamp bags waiting for the train at Southport

— a man on the train who poured coffee from his travel mug into a used Starbucks cup

— a banker, a financial advisor

— one of my old French students in a beret (he attributed it to the weather)

— an average number of doctors and lawyers

— two people who made uncomfortable small talk during the entire commute simply because they happened to be acquainted and on the same train

— Chris’ mother buying nylons at TJ Maxx

— a cashier at Trader Joe’s who tapped into the rich inner emotional life of the woman in front of me while simultaneously checking her apples for bruises

— a baritone

— the bottom of two boxes of Raisin Bran

— a man who flossed through an entire episode of Parks & Recreation

— Lenny’s ex, who finished his sentences and his plate of spaghetti

—  a street performer singing carols off key

—  someone else leaving a friend’s party early, although presumably not for the same reason

— drunk boys who could presumably still afford cabs

—  Chris, again, over lunch, but only because he insisted and agreed to stop reading G.R.R. Martin

—  my hairdresser standing in line at the bank with an updo

— the UPS delivery man who left me three notices in beautiful calligraphy

— Lenny, the morning after

— the chocolate lab peeing on the landlord’s roses

Kara VanderBijl is the senior editor of This Recording. She is a writer living in Chicago. She last wrote in these pages about Downton Abbey. She twitters here and tumbls here

Paintings by Gladys Nilsson.

"Hunting For You" - Robbie Williams (mp3)

"Different" - Robbie Williams (mp3)


Reader Comments (1)

:) very loverly.
December 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranumeha

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