For the month of December, every couple and family in Chicago flocks to the Lincoln Park Zoo for Zoo Lights. It is an amazing display, capable of putting a smile on the grumpiest of Grinches faces. A million colorful lights are strung on every tree, fence and lamp post. There is music, and mulled wine, and all those other festive fixtures. On top of it all there are some very sleepy animals, wondering what all these crazy people are doing wandering around a frozen zoo when it is past their bed times. Obviously, to see this:
I read this article yesterday about how traditional jobs are being replaced with contract work (or in my case not even contract, but just writing in exchange for money, like literary prostitution) and it made me think.
I have been uneasy about my employment situation for months. I have been given some amazing opportunities at incredible publications in Chicago. They provide me with the outlets to write about food, drinks and entertainment while exploring the city I love. However, working from coffee shops, or without pants while listening to Bon Iver in my living room, does have it’s downsides. (Note, I am actually listening to Iron & Wine and am also wearing pants). I feel very isolated, which is difficult during this transitional stage in my life when I am away from my friends from college and my childhood friends are all over the country.
I like to break up my days by dragging my butt to the gym, or shopping with money I don’t have, sometime I cook (which also does not involve leaving my apartment), and I go out whenever I can. But at the end of the day, freelancing feels like a constant break, continuous procrastination, and little concrete accomplishments. While my traditionally employed friends may complain about their long days at the office, they get to feel that sense of relief when they make it back to their apartment at 5:30, can kick off their shoes and relax. I am constantly working and not working. I live attached to my computer, plugging sentences into articles, emailing contacts or scheduling tweets. My life lacks balance, consistency and as a result, the satisfaction of putting in a good day’s work.
Freelance may be the new 9 to 5 in difficult economic times, but I worry not only about the economic effects of this trend but also the psychological effects on a society that has a hard time adapting to changes in the norm. Banksy knows what I mean:
I’m living a Chanel life on a Ramen budget
Taste of Chicago 2011
I’m not really a baseball fan. I understand that the sport represents Americana along with apple pies and divorce, but I think it’s boring. I especially am not a Cubs fan, despite geographically located closer to Cubs territory, I am a White Sox fan. What I do enjoy is going to the games. Wrigley is an undeniable landmark, and the experience of watching a game there cannot be compared. The atmosphere is electric, the hot dogs are the best in the country and the fans are dedicated to one of the worst teams in the game.
Chicago Gay Pride Parade 2011