I just had the most fascinating conversations with two employees at my gym, Equinox in Lincoln Park. I went there not so much to work out (which of course was an added benefit), but to bask in the presence of actual humanoids. One of the gym employees asked me about my headphones, which gave me a chance to explain that my Ultimate Ears UE-5 Pros were made from casts of my inner ears and provide the most superior sound quality imaginable (and no, they're not hearing aids). I initiated the other conversation at the concession stand:
Me: You know what I wish you guys would get?
Concession stand guy: What?
Me: Those G2 drinks from Gatorade.
Him: Yeah, I think we're getting them.
Me: Only 25 calories per serving!
Him: People have been asking about those.
Me: They're really good.
It was so stimulating! I mean, that's the most words I've exchanged with anyone face-to-face for 48 hours.
I'm spending way too much time kicking it solo in my new capacity as Freelance Writer. I know I need to keep my brain sharp for the moment when the economy leaps to life like a newborn foal and job offers flow toward me in abundance (no pressure, B.H.O.), so here are some activities I plan to start engaging in more frequently:
1. Driving. Chicago's pothole plight works wonders for one's reflexes. Just try driving down Sheridan Road--especially the blocks with defunct streetlights--in the dark, in a blizzard. It's kind of like playing Minesweeper, but with your whole car at stake.
2. Puzzles. I used to love working puzzles, and they provide surprisingly inexpensive entertainment, except I might need to buy a new table for the purpose. Never mind, I forgot about my card table.
3. Cooking. As soon as Bob the Landlord fixes my dishwasher, I'm totally getting back to cooking. When I arrived at my apartment after an outing today, I noticed the place smells like grilled cheese. That's because I've been subsisting almost exclusively on grilled cheese sandwiches...on whole-grain, high-fiber bread, but still.
4. TV. In particular, The Real World: Brooklyn. Finally, a cast whose collective hobbies cannot be summed up in one word: tanning. This season's strangers are so non-hottie-oriented and diverse in their sexual orientations, it promises to be a truly mind-expanding ride.
5. Bubbles. I keep a bottle of bubbles on top of my refrigerator at all times, and sometimes I open the back door and blow a few into the courtyard. I'm not positive it's increasing my brainpower, but it certainly is soothing.