I was intentionally in Hyde Park yesterday. I try like hell to not be in Hyde Park, intentionally or unintentionally. True, I do have to drop my Aunt Rebekah off after our monthly shopping trips to River Oaks, but those are usually quick in and out jobs. Get in, get out.
The other day, though, the day that I finally came to terms with being creepy, I went with some co-workers to the Pancake House on 51st, the one across from Kenwood. Dude! I didn't realize that my job was so close to the Park. So, yesterday, to commemorate my last day of class (I'm graduating, bitches!), I went to The Snail, formerly my favorite Thai restaurant, to celebrate. Unlike those drives with Aunt Rebekah from the Manor, I was forced to take locals. My god, the emotion. Turning off Lake Park onto 55th, I noticed that University National Bank is no longer on the corner. I had my first banking account there. No problem, I'm a fricking rock, so I took note and kept driving. While passing the viaduct that leads to that strip of Thai restaurants on the south side of 55th, I noticed that the Kikuya is still there. I smiled and remembered the time my little brother came to visit me at my dorm and I had taken him to get sushi and then had taken the rest of the money daddy had given me to spend on him to Dr. Wax (when it was still in that basement) to buy vinyl. My how the young lad had mastered chopsticks in no time. I pulled up right in front of The Snail and walked inside, placed my order, and sat as they prepared my Pad Siew (and Pad Thai and chicken eggrolls, but this is not about my tendency to find comfort in food). The dining room was empty and looked pretty much the same it had the last time I had been there. I thought about the time I went on a date with some dude from my school and didn't eat cuz I had just eaten at BJ, so he ordered noodles and I just sat there and watched him eat. (I have this strange fascination with watching dudes eat; I'm weird.) I also remembered that time Flomas* and I had eaten that place dry as we ordered everything on the menu, yukked it up, and acted fools. I looked out the window, remembering what an unhappy, undriven excuse for an undergrad I had been, and how I'd been a constant fixture on that stretch of 55th, often walking from campus to my room at the Shoreland, hating every minute of it. I thought about my life now--unfortunately grown, with responsibilities, a fricking high school teacher for god sakes--and wished like hell I could get that four years of bullshit responsibility and free time for drinking and drugs back. Mickyfrickies just don't know how good they have it.
I guess that's why I hate Hyde Park; there are way too many memories there. My mom and I lived above the Morry's when I was born. I went to grammar school there and still remember the first book I bought from the 57th street book store. I labored through undergrad there and met too many people who I kinda miss and have subsequently lost there. Boo hoo and shit. I fricking hate that place, but I will be back for some Nicky's.
* Clearly not a real name.
Let me leave you with a song
A friend and I, one who I'd met in the good ole Park, were in my dorm room one night watching a VHS of old videos I'd taped, and this one came on. We automatically dropped everything and rhymed this entire song word for word, bobbing our heads in unison, until it went off. he was dead a few weeks later. good times i tell ya.