Sight: As it turns out, Chicago looks a lot less depressing during the summer! By the time I moved back onto campus for my summer research in late May, the trees were finally glowing bright and green (with a couple of pink plants still blooming, too). The lake was no longer a dirty, windy grey but a deep, clear blue. Strolling along the riverwalk downtown, the sharp glare of the sunlight off the glass skyscrapers was almost welcome after a long and dark spring semester. More than anything, just seeing people smiling while walking about campus or along State Street did more to take away the desolate air of last semester than anything else.
Touch: Just about everything this summer was felt through the cold sterilized latex of my lab gloves (from the on-campus research position I was lucky enough to get this summer). For about 30 hours a week, I got used to the hard plastic pipettes and cold glass bottles full of chemicals that kinda burn your nose if you accidentally get a sniff (not that it ever happened to me, of course).
Smell: Staying in my room at Delts over the summer was a mistake, both for my sense of smell and my sanity. The odors from people forgetting to do their housekeeping chores or take out their garbage (or more than likely just choosing to be an objectively bad person and not do them) were not welcome, to say the least. It got bad. Those same people also refused to do their dishes. Ever. You ever wonder what a sink full of week-old food smells like?
Taste: Yet again, I burned my mouth on a 7-Eleven coffee, this time while cramming for an exam in my summer biochemistry class. I couldn’t taste the energy drinks or Flaming Hot Cheetos I got as “study fuel” after that, so that particular study session was a little bland.
Smell, Continued: Don’t forget that almost half of your ability to taste comes from your sense of smell! Having an extended chance to practice my cooking skills while staying at Delts over the summer was phenomenal, however. Cooking chicken in a lemon-pepper marinade or baking apple pies with an egregious amount of cinnamon (almost) made up for the rest of the experience of living in the house.
Hearing: The Anderson .Paak concert at Northerly Island was one of the best live pieces of music that I’ve heard in ages, even if “Malibu” isn’t my favorite album of all time. The band he tours with, The Free Nationals, absolutely killed it with their backup singers, guitars, drums, keyboard, brass section, and any other supporting instrument imaginable. Afterwards, I retreated back to Museum Campus with the close friend I went to the concert with, just to hear the sound of the waves lapping against the concrete sea wall in front of Shedd Aquarium, a much-needed come-down after an exhilarating live show. There, we met up with a mutual friend-or-acquaintance from high school, where the pitter-patter and awkward cadence of high school small talk filled the air late into the night.
Hearing, Continued: Oh, and I saw Car Seat Headrest live a couple of weeks after that, for free in Millenium Park! Hearing the odd harmony of every sad hip teen in the greater Chicago area shouting the chorus to “Bodys” in unison was an amazing experience.