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Saturday, 4 February 2006

Diana Slickman 2006

It is a Hobanesque day in Chicago this February 4th. The sky is low and precipitating slightly - sometimes rain, sometimes sleet, sometimes snow.

It's grey, cold, and things feel close. I wandered around my neighborhood, yellow paper in my coat pocket, looking into the shops and eateries to see which one wanted to be part of the SA4QE. There's a resale shop that just moved into an old theater close to my house on Clark Street. The theater was called Calo and for a long time it was the home of the Griffin Theater company. The resale shop is called The Brown Elephant, as the sales from it benefit the Howard Brown Clinic. My OED tells me that "calo" is a Latin word for a camp servant, and also the combining form of a Greek word meaning beautiful. So here is a beautiful servant formerly of the performing arts camp, with two powerful beasts in her life. In I went.

One of the things I like about this celebration is its covert nature. I get to feel like a spy for a little while, as though I am making an important drop for another operative to pick up later. I circled around the shop for a while, again waiting for inspiration to strike or for fate to show her hand. Finally I decided that hiding the thing in plain sight was the sneakiest thing to do, so I unfolded my yellow paper, laid it on a wooden end table, and casually strolled away. Mission accomplished! Happy birthday, Russ!

Here's what the paper said:

Running today, said the morning looking in at Kleinzeit's window.
Kleinzeit got up. Running today, he said to the bathroom mirror.
Not me, said the mirror. No legs.
Kleinzeit put on his new tracksuit, his new running shoes.
Let's go, said the shoes. Motion! Speed! Youth!
No speed, said Kleinzeit. And I'm not young.
Shit, said the shoes. Let's get moving anyhow.
from Kleinzeit

February 4th is Russell Hoban's birthday and if you've found this yellow paper, you're celebrating it with him.

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