Four months ago, my wife and I moved into “The Home.” Our mantra from day one has been, “This is going to take some getting used to.” Yet we settle in—slowly, like mud in the Mississippi. Big wheel, keep on turning.
Change occurs in celestial ways. I track the path of the sun. Not simply its ascent over Lake Michigan, but it’s daily arc across the sky. A higher arc means less direct sunlight floods our southern exposure and I can remove my White Sox cap indoors. Now picture this. On the vernal equinox, the sun aligned with Chicago’s east-west streets and, in those solar-powered canyons, I saw my shadow for the first time in years. I thought it was a stranger until I flapped my arms and found that what I only thought I was seeing was what I really was seeing.
Change comes in mundane ways. Early on, I thought the upholstered chair and coffee table motif across from the elevators a quaint decorative touch. Now I know the feng shui is not decorative but practical as I sit, rather than stand, waiting for the elevators to creep all the way up here to Floor 34.
Change occurs in human ways. My wife and I are considered the “younger generation” by the octogenarians and beyond who reside in “The Home.” Conversations glide or lurch toward common ground. Our dog, Randy, has become the currency of exchange. “What a beautiful boy/girl, and so well behaved,” say surrogate grandma and grandpa. Everybody knows Randy and, recently, some who greet him daily have even begun hailing my wife and I by name.
Change begins at a molecular level. Not until I sang along to “Heading for the Light,” not until I lowered the headboard so the bed doesn’t resemble a guillotine, not until I heard a lady in the lobby say, “Nice man, nice dog,” did I begin to feel at home in “The Home.”
MUSICAL NOTES: With apologies for the “Free Bird” reference in the title. I lifted the line, “Big wheel, keep on turning,” from the song, “Proud Mary.” George Harrison’s “Heading for the Light” is a 1988 song by The Traveling Wilburys (George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, with Jim Horn on saxophone).