Three recent moments:
I am shopping for a wedding card. I know I am in Andersonville because at least a quarter of the selection has a same-sex theme. I know I am holding the world's worst wedding card when I pick one up that says "May you have a blessed marriage ..." on the front and "... and many more!" on the inside. Perhaps there was a mix-up at the card factory, and somewhere out there there's a birthday card whose inside reads, "... and for God's sake may it be your last one."
A student from my alma mater calls to ask for a contribution. First she wears me down by asking about my job and cajoling me into reminiscing about my college days. I'm too preoccupied with the eggs I am frying to remember much. After about 10 minutes I am so fatigued that I almost beg to give $20 so I can hang up and have my lunch. Finally she makes her pitch. "Today we're suggesting that alumni give $250." I laugh out loud, but she handles it with I've-been-calling-journalism-majors-all-week-I'm-used-to-the-guffaws aplomb. We split the difference at $30. I had, after all, just an hour earlier found $10 on the ground at the groceria when I was buying my eggs.
I'm on the Red Line to Evanston. Two elderly riders are communicating in sign language. I turn down my iPod to eavesdrop.