Thursday, August 8, 2013

Plasticity of Form

I face the first car problem of my trip when I find a staple embedded in my tire causing a slow leak. I decide I’ll have to deal with this at some point so I look for a place to have it fixed before I leave town. I also happen to need a haircut so I stop at a barber shop my J recommended and while the barber is working I ask her where she would go to get her tires. She recommends a Discount Tire down the road.

The wait is going to be over an hour but the patch is free and I figure I won’t do much better anywhere else without an appointment. As I sit and wait I notice a poster on the wall for a biography of the company’s founder, Bruce Halle. I’m baffled by his choice to pose shirtless for the cover of his book and am starting to get a bad feeling about the shop I’ve chosen. I’ve noticed the salesmen upselling everyone that comes in; a $10 per tire coating, special lug nuts that need a special wrench. Then I hear one guy explain; “The reason tires wear out is because of the friction between the tire and the road, this coating reduces the friction so that the tires last longer”…I jumped up and called out to the salesmen “Hey, I’ve gotta hit the road, where are my keys?!”. I have no doubt that these guys would have “discovered” that the staple in the center of my tread had somehow worked its way into the sidewall and ruined the tire. So I found another shop, paid $10 to have the tire patched, they did it in 10 minutes and I was back on the road.
Once I got to Chicago my first stop was the Frank Lloyd Wright house/studio. I find this fascinating because it started as a stock blueprint house which Wright made small changes to before it was built. Over the years he modified it significantly and added on entirely original structures. There are different treatments found in single rooms where he tried out different ideas for the design of the interior. I had a wonderful guide on a tour where I was the only guest. 

The house was on Chicago Ave, so I was able to drive straight down the road into the center of the city from Oak Park. In my eagerness to get out and explore I pulled into the first parking garage that I saw near Millennium Park and found out that the first 30 minutes cost $15, and 3 hours cost $30. Once I parked I searched frantically for the exit of the garage, hating that I was wasting these first $0.50 minutes walking through a parking lot.
When I finally emerged I was right on the edge of the park near the Crown Fountain, I walked up through a sculpture garden and under the Cloud Gate and then over to the Pritzker Pavillion where I saw people taking seats for a performance of the Grant Park Orchestra later in the evening. I walked down over the river past the guys hawking boat tours. On my way I ran into a woman asking for 75 cents to make her fare back home on the bus. When I stopped to talk to her she said she needed a dollar and when I pulled out my wallet she realized she needed two. I gave her two and then walked on wondering why I fell for that.
Back at the Pritzker Pavillion the orchestra was preparing and the crowd clapped as the first violinist walked out to take her seat. They began a performance of Ginastera’s Pampeana No. 3 and I watched from atop the wall near the side of the stage. The acoustics were good and I started to walk through the park as they played and ended up on Nichols bridge leaning on a wide, smooth wooden railing looking into Lurie Garden as the music floated over the trees and wafted over my head. Just as my 3 hours were up they broke for intermission and I headed out of the city.

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