Evanston was an interesting experience. I had nothing to do that day but had to stay in the area. I had a couple loads of laundry to do so I headed to the nearest Laundromat, which at the time was full with all sorts of people, muttering all sorts of grumpy things in numerous languages. There was a dude with obvious anger issues grunting at one of the machines, a couple of Hispanic women cheerfully folding laundry that obviously wasn’t theirs, and a most interesting family. It contained two teenagers, a tenish year old, and a four year old wearing vibrant red lipstick. The eldest, a boy, reminded me of the apocalyptic children I saw in Joshua tree, same stupid non-haircut and attitude. They were led in by a woman who couldn’t have been more than 35. She was dressed like a teenager herself, smacking gum and talking on her phone like she’d never grown up. She was feeding her kids some sort of junk food she’d just purchased. I thought these kids were her children until the youngest started calling her Nana. The two girls with her were not old enough to have a four year old so I’m guessing this brassy woman popped out her first kid at 14-16 only to have it repay the favor by doing the same and letting her take care of the grandkid. Either way she was doing a miserable job, as both a mother and grandmother. Currently she was doing no less than ten loads of laundry, all personal, which had probably been building up for some time. Even the attendants were asking her if she was doing someone else’s laundry because she was taking up so many machines.
Whenever this very special family failed to keep us entertained we could always look back at the guy with anger issues. He was stomping around the place throwing his laundry around like it had a personal vendetta against him when it fell to the floor. Even when he was waiting he was scowling at the world with an expression so intense one got the sensation he might knock you out if you even so much as batted an eye in his direction. He stormed out of that place like no one’s business.
I waited patiently for the laundry. I was half-asleep and wondering if this horrible place was where I had to wait for two days.
I was about to be pleasantly surprised. I decided to go for a walk down the little strip mall in town. I ended up entering a huge store run by two sweet elderly women, one of which greeted me and told me this place was a boutique, an antique shop, a book store, and a flea market. She also pointed me towards some “unique” jewelry. Oh my were they ever unique! I had never seen real stones used in something so ungodly garish. Then again the boutique had old lady clothes, maybe the jewelry matched.
The antique store was mostly odd bits of furniture and scary dolls, an odd set of hand operated egg-beaters. The flea market just had old crochet things no one would have bought anyway. It was all very… interesting, though I loved the friendly atmosphere. It was the exact opposite of the Laundromat.
Next I went to an adorable little art gallery in a JC Penny’s. It had all sorts of local talent, amazing pieces of wildlife paintings. I admired everything but not being rich had to leave even the coolest pieces there.
After this I somehow wandered into a little Chinese history/koi park. It had a little Chinese gazebo and a plaque stating that the Chinese had been instrumental in building the area, putting down the train tracks that the town settled on, though they seemed strangely absent now. Beyond the gazebo there was a garden and a little koi pond, with two lonely koi and some goldfish. I sat back and watched a little sparrow kvetch at me from the gazebo roof. I wandered from the shade, into the warm sun, and back into the shade before I decided to lie on one of the benches in the gazebo. I was so very tired and my back ached, as I hadn’t slept on anything flat for a month or so now. I lay there until a gardener came out and I decided I didn’t want to accused of being a vagrant and swept off. I walked to the little bridge over the koi pond, until the gardener finally left. He took his sweet time, and I am not sure what he accomplished in wandering around. I decided to go to another fossil and rock shop down the road.
The fossil and rock shop, Antares Fossil & Minerals, was a sight to behold. It had big colorful dinosaurs wandering the tiny yard. I walked past a woman watering the plants at the behemoth creatures’ feet. She soon followed us in. It was a tiny place absolutely stuffed full with pretty rocks and fish fossils. Apparently this place was run by a family who owned their own local quarry and traded fossil fish for other pretty rocks. It was an interesting idea for a business.
The woman I was talking to, Lily, owned the shop next door, The House of Light, something I passed not knowing what it was. She was a free-spirited woman, what I’d call a hippie. Her shop sold crystals, gemstones, metaphysical books, and Reiki treatments, practiced by herself. She led me through the shop trying to explain things. She even showed me her little Reiki room and pointed out some of its elements. I was rather confused by it all but that’s alright, I nodded politely. Reiki is just one of those things I know nothing about, but I have been curious about. She claimed she was a Christian woman by birth, God and Jesus and all, until Reiki showed her there’s so much more to the world. I could respect that.
Before I knew it she told me her whole life story, including her heritage, born to one Indonesian and one Dutch parent. I told her of my own journeys and she in return insisted I take a lucky rock home with me, from a basket of colorful rocks. I picked one that fit my hand perfectly, a nice fidget. I put it in my purse next to my lucky flea-sized trilobite.
To finish my wandering I decided to check out a park called Bear River. They had a paved path alongside the riverbank, paddle boats for rent, and swimming in one of the calm parts. I walked behind a big black standard poodle for a long time before its elderly owner turned around. I didn’t really see any wildlife but it was a nice walk.
I wanted to get dinner after this so I went to the local grocer’s, Smith’s, and ordered an assortment of goo. In their salad section of their deli they had pink goo (Strawberry Cheesecake salad) green goo (pistachio salad) and orange goo (Ambrosia.) I found the texture of goo to be repulsive and stuck to the normal salads. Party pooper.
From here I went to a McDonald’s to update the blog and answer e-mails. I sat there for four hours. I was falling asleep in my seat and not feeling that great by the time I left. This was the longest I’d ever stayed at one McDonald’s in a stretch.
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