Sometimes -- OK, oftentimes -- I feel in a rut professionally. My efforts to be something bigger and better than what and where I am now meet small degrees of success, but these successes seem fleeting, and it feels like every time I get a rung up on the ladder, that rung breaks and I'm back to where I was. Every time it seems that I'm about to replace some nationally-known but not very interesting columnist at the Sun-Times, I quickly find myself back to the reality of calling far away suburban police and fire departments in the middle of a weekend night to get details on an accident or shooting, only to be told to call back on Monday.
But enough pity for today, because I need to remember that there was a time seven or eight years ago when I truly, truly hated my work circumstances, when there were times I'd be ill at the thought of going to work at a soul-sapping place, and the one place where I felt free and happy and still full of some sort of potential was at neo, on the new wave "Planet Earth" Thursday nights, with Dave Roberts spinning the discs and a bunch of wonderful, welcoming people working the bar and door and filling the dancefloor. And I need to remember, also, that I would not have believed anyone had they told me then that one day, only a handful of years from that time, that Dave and his other half, Kristine, would have their own bar, and that I would write about it for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Well, Part I of that dream happened just a couple months ago, when Dave and Kristine opened Late Bar, in Chicago's Avondale neighborhood. Part II comes true Friday, Feb. 12, when my story about the place is scheduled to be printed in the paper. The piece is small, only a few hundred words, and there is no accompanying art, but I feel as though I've actually achieved something here. My particular work situation often sucks, but the consolation is that old refrain about having your foot in the door...well, I guess that's true in a way. Now I just need to get the rest of my ample self through that damned door!
Excuse me for a couple days here while I pat myself on the back. In some ways this is a minor accomplishment, but in other ways it signals how far I've come, though there is still a ways to go.