I walk by the first of these tags every day, to and from work, and have for months now. I've had the image of it just as long, cropped and ready to go. But it was lonely, and wasn't complete; it needed a peer to the right. I found that peer weeks after taking the first text, and weeks prior to today, while riding the shuttle bus that replaces much of the L on recent weekends.
The bus was packed, stuffed far past code, the windows perspiring. Heather and I had slid the window open next to our coveted seats, preferring the cold drizzle of that Saturday to the steam seeping from the other straphangers. Through that fresh 3-inch break in the damp glass, we watched our new neighborhood fade into our old one, noting the progress of gentrification; that Montrose is the new Lorimer, Dekalb the new Montrose, us the new Morgan.
Through that break in the damp glass, I saw the second of these tags (the only other piece by Christian Paine I had seen longer than his name) and desperately attempted to note the intersection, knowing that I could never have photographed it through the condensation and rain.
I was unable to record the actual location, but felt that I could find it again, drawing a red line on the map in my head. I attempted one morning when I awoke an hour early, exiting the train prematurely and wandering around the area between Jefferson and Morgan; an area I should know better by now than I do. The search was fruitless, and as I grew later for work, I abandoned my quest for that day's content.
As it turns out, it was a dry run for this morning's stroll through the industrial quarter. Armed with reconnaissance from Heather's ride yesterday along the same detour on the same crowded shuttle, I was able to find the piece in question; just 2 blocks past the perimeter I had stumbled towards the first time around.
Related: In this town I’m the leper with the most fingers.