Large Excessa small storyMichelle Denise NortonI cast three pennies of recent vintage this morning, consulting my I Ching of modernvintage for its ancient wisdom. Wood -- or Wind -- over Water, "Large Excess", two oppositeslinked by the mirror surface of the water. Perhaps the original sage envisioned this union as hedrew the wind symbol during a hurricane and saw its reflection as his tea room flooded."I consulted it for a year, every day. It's funny how with just 64 symbols, you can get onerepeated many times and there are some you never see." Ayla, my acupuncturist hasexperience with this and many fountains of ancient wisdom.I am trying acupuncture, Taoism, and humor as medicinal tools in a two year bout withasthma. My acupuncturist, Ayla, helps a lot. More like a leprechaun than a Chinese sage, shesits calmly listening, sorting, and mischievously prodding me onto better paths for positivethought.I've lived in this section of the city for six years now. It's not the young professionalsection, or the upwardly adventurous gay and lesbian ghetto. I proudly and conveniently (fiveminutes from work) live in the "it's cheaper than I imagined, not a bad building, my roommatesare ditching me at the end of the month" neighborhood. The particular season I was looking,its' orbit overlapped Rogers Park.Once I'd moved in, my first quest was for an excellent Chinese restaurant. As soon asMetro Hunan qualified, I began a few eating traditions: the midweek playing hooky lunches, thepre-theatre meet old friends sprint snacks, the eggdrop soup and Humphrey Bogart cold cure.One tradition I share with the neighborhood. I call it the Saturday night committed singles line.Not telephone, not conga -- takeout. Me, some Loyola grad students, single nurses from thehospital one mile over the border in Evanston, jock type guys whose profession you can't guessfrom their weekend clothes -- we all wander in, look over the menu, order, sit and watchsegments of the city walk by for twenty minutes, then bring home something foreign and yet nottoo alien for comfort as we watch the overachievers on TV. I used to flip back and forthbetween Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and The Pretender -- wild western brunette with a brain,Diana Rigg knock-off brunette with a gun? Tough choice. Large Excess, wind or water."Balance. The Chinese believe balance is healthy. For them, body and mind are one."Ayla comes back to this point frequently. Wisdom that recurs. Perhaps it recurs because it is sooften ignored.Having cast "Large Excess" and meditated on merrily rooting myself through the floodsto come, I decided to treat myself not to take out, but to an actual sit down dinner where I sippedtea, ate something non-portable, and lingered. Ayla had been nudging me about the need tonurture myself. Apparently, it's a generational thing. Hers.So I smiled at Susy and Jim, the married take-out regulars (I eavesdrop mercilessly: shehates their apartment; he hates her boss; the name of their pet is so cute I refuse to print it here.At least, I hope it's a pet.) The female half of the Metro Hunan ownership couple smiled as sheled me to a table, right next to the window. We were friendly -- she knew my first name, I knewshe had three children. The rest of our potential relationship lay hidden behind her politereserve and my craving for anonymity, which was occasionally defeated by my craving for company and scallops gently sauteed in a very spicy, very delicious ginger sauce. I was moretalkative on those nights.