29 Hours in Chicago, Part 2

When last we heard from this hapless writer, she’d:

  • Just returned from a quick trip to Chicago, and complained about how exhausted she was
  • Seen Radiohead in concert, and complained that it made her sad
  • Watched and complained as her dishwasher leaked all over the kitchen floor

It’s time for a different perspective. First, Chicago:

While there were no parades heralding auspicious and long-sought victories, there was a race in Grant Park. I unwittingly avoided the 20,000+ runners by heading straight to the McCormick Place convention center from the airport (instead of stopping at the Hilton Chicago to set my bag down). Everything else about the trip ran just as smoothly—there were no hitches in my part of the trade show business (the reason I was there), and I even found some time to write in my downtime. And, there was shepherd’s pie.

The last time I was in Chicago, I’d had the shepherd’s pie at Kitty O’Sheas, the Irish pub inside the Hilton Chicago. If you like meat and potatoes and carrots, it’s worth trying. For months, I had been looking forward to having it again, and it did not disappoint. Shepherd’s pie is a major comfort food for me—it has very fond associations from childhood. But it’s also one of those foods that can easily be kind of blah if everything doesn’t come together right. I think everything comes together brilliantly in Kitty O’Sheas shepherd’s pie.

Next up, Radiohead:

Radiohead’s OK Computer has been my desert island album for the last twenty years. As in, if I found myself stuck on a desert island, what piece of music would I want to have with me. It’s a pat answer, and if I were really forced to select one piece of music on the fly, I would probably pick something very quixotic and regrettable, like my Golden Throats compilation.

But the reason I love OK Computer…no, really, it’s reasons, plural. One, I can listen to it after a long absence and still hear something new. Two, it always evokes an emotional response. So maybe that response is sadness, but it’s always a new sadness. Hear me out on this: some songs that used to make me sad—say, “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, covered by various artists hence—I’ll hear now, but the emotional response is over. It’s like, “remember that time ‘Landslide’ made me cry,” I’ll recall with something like fondness.

With OK Computer, I can hear the wailing guitars and other stringed instruments opening the song “Airbag,” and I’m transported to someplace new. Someplace different from whatever was making me sad twenty years ago.

Now, I don’t necessarily enjoy feeling sad. But I enjoy the necessity of feeling sad. If that makes any sense. It’s nothing short of a gift, that there is music out there that can consistently evoke new, edifying, sadness in me. Plus, there’s this lyric from “Subterranean Homesick Alien:”

…all these weird creatures who lock up their spirits / Drill holes in themselves / And live for their secrets

It may not be the most optimistic view of the human race, but there is a lot of truth in this particular lyric, and it has stuck with me through the years.

So, the concert: They didn’t play “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” but they did play several songs from OK Computer and The Bends, and they all sounded great. I heard one reviewer complain that frontman Thom Yorke looked like he was listening to something different from what he was playing, but I was too far away to notice. Thus, I enjoyed the concert, and I’m ecstatic that I can finally say I’ve seen Radiohead live. And I’m happy that Radiohead can still make me sad.

And finally, the dishwasher:

Husband Tim fixed the drainage problem when he got home from work that day. I’m pleased to report that I ran the dishwasher this past weekend, and nary a drop escaped to the floor the entire cleaning cycle.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

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