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Archive for May, 2012

If the timing is right there are seats available, but standing isn’t so bad.  It’s thirty minutes of elation whether sitting or standing.

A crowded street filled with pedestrians.  Workers.  Shoppers.  Residents.  Commuters. Tourists.  Children.  Store fronts displaying the finest wares, some of which are affordable and some which will be affordable in time.  Tailored jackets.  Polished shoes.  Sparkling cufflinks.  Supple leathers.  Bold prints.

Thousands of windows look down upon me and I look up in response seeing things that are the results of tremendous egos.  Stonework.  Brickwork.  Metalwork.  So many tall structures, each trying to outdo the other in some way or fashion.

Long before the last stop all the seats are taken and the aisle is now full of people standing.  Those seated have their bags on their laps.  Those standing try to keep a narrow profile so as to leave some room between one another.  Some are plugged into an electronic device watching or listening and some are reading books.

Half of the trip is spent passing through Michigan Avenue, bumper to bumper.  The Drake Hotel passes by and we accelerate onto Lake Shore Drive and can do so because we’re at the leading edge of rush hour.

In the blink of an eye and off to the right tall buildings are replaced, as far as the eye can see, by a body of water so vast and so blue.  A brave soul out on a sail boat.  To the right residential buildings rise again, higher and higher.  I’m passing through a narrow strip of land that separates the two – elements made by nature and elements made by man.

Lining the lake are people living atop one another, crowded together for one thing only – a view of the water.  More windows, more stonework, more brickwork stretching northward and these man-made elements stretch too, as far as the eye can see.

The boats are back in the marina.  The bridges along the river were raised last weekend  so their owners could take them out of dry dock.  The greying wood docks and the white bows of boats against the calm blue waters.

Looking out to my left I see the building where Carol lives.  It’s next to the French restaurant that’s perfectly situated in a building with a mansard roof and ornate dormers.  A moment later the Imperial Towers are in view, a pair of buildings in which I’d like to live.  No one is rowing in the shallow lagoon built inside of Lincoln Park.

Overhead large jet liners begin their descent, their tail colors barely visible but their four engines and their wide-bodies allow for an estimation of the distance they have flown.  More people arriving waiting anxiously to fill the already busy streets.

On the soccer fields are uniforms that move quickly like colored pixels on a screen.   Another marina passes by.  A tall man is standing facing backwards and I watch his eyes trace against the moving landscape.  Everyone else is facing the lake as it’s view washes away the memories of their work day.

To their backs are more high-rises still, one of which is the Aquitania with it’s ornate lobbies and menacing plumbing problems.  Shortly thereafter emerges the mass of pink stucco known as the Edgewater Beach Hotel, the long-ago summer resort to some of the city’s elite.  It’s even more imposing when viewed from an eleventh story balcony in the building across the street.

As we exit Lake Shore Drive yet another high-rise is nearing completion.  A friend refers to it as a Stalinesque monstrosity.  I like it for that very reason.  Turning on to what will be soon a residential street once again, a man on a bike waves hello to the bus driver and smiles.  Half of the riders exit at the next stop and file into the new grocery store.  Dinner awaits them.

In another mile I’ll be home.  Views of the lake are replaced with more high-rises and the view is shadowed because of them, even by the lowest ones along the west side of the street.  Here the streets are filled with commuters – pedestrians and automobiles but the pedestrians move faster than those in cars because now rush hour is in full swing.

The temperature is noticeably cooler as I exit the bus across the street from my building.  It’s always ten degrees colder here than it is just a few blocks inland.  Dogs are being walked after being indoors all day.  Neighbors carry home groceries.

Thirty minutes have passed and an entire world has passed before my eyes.  Something to see in every direction.  From the majestic waters of Lake Michigan to the majestic structures of steel and concrete.  Constant movement all around.  From rhythmic waves to jumbo jets.  I marvel at these sights from the windows of the express bus from downtown.  I never tire of this ride.  It is always magnificent.

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