Chilled Out

Many Januaries ago, I landed at Midway Airport around 12:00 am after my flight had been delayed several hours due to a winter storm.  It was pretty cold, and windy, (which I expected,) but the snow was surprisingly gloppy (which I hadn’t expected), and was rapidly falling in teaspoonful-sized portions and sticking to everything made of asphalt, concrete, metal, glass, or anything else. I guess gloppy is easier to manage than icy, which might have explained why the flight wasn’t cancelled.

I cursed myself for having scheduled an early-morning interview for the following day. Thinking that a taxi would not make great progress in this weather, I boarded the (then) new Midway (Orange) Line north to Chicago’s Loop where I would transfer to the Ravenswood (Brown) train.

En route to the Jackson Street station, I remembered that the Brown line didn’t go north to my neighborhood after midnight (more cursing ensued).  I got off the train at the Jackson Street and was surprised that I was able to hail a taxi after only a few moments. The driver who was especially chatty, had a thick (almost caricature-level) Chicago accent and sported the obligatory Ditka mustache.

My pulse quickened a bit, when he entered Lakeshore Drive, the always-busy expressway that follows a serpentine course along the coast of Lake Michigan. I would have welcomed some stop-and-go traffic. Though the driver seemed remarkably at ease under the conditions, and talked  about growing up in Chicago and offered commentary on the local sports teams, while periodically reaching out of his open window to give the driver-side wiper a snap to dislodge the accumulating snow.

As cars blew past us, my driver became increasing agitated by others’ reckless habits  especially with SUVs that zoomed past us at speeds that were well above the safety threshold under these (or even dry, sunny)  conditions.

When one vehicle, came close to colliding with us–first from the rear and then from the right side–as it roared by the driver shouted his disapproval, while deftly injected a physics lesson–that covered friction, inertia, and maybe conservation of angular momentum–before pivoting back to his assessment of the baseball team from Chicago’s Northside:

After a few more moments I directed the driver to get off of Lakeshore Drive. He advised me that it he did that it would “take forever” to travel north because of stoplights and slow traffic. The thought that slow-paced traffic, on a straight-line road, seemed rather comforting. I told him that I had an interview in a few hours, so it would give me an opportunity to nap, so I was cool with “forever.”

“Wake me up if you get stuck so I can push you out,” were my last words before nodding off.

Seemingly moments later, the driver called out “Sir, I’m on Lawrence, near da Sears and Roebuck’s, which way am I turnin’?” Forever had arrived more quickly than I’d anticipated.

Minutes later I was in my apartment where I changed clothes, plopped onto my futon and crawled beneath the comforter. I closed my eyes momentarily and jumped up remembering I had an interview in a few hours. I anticipated a hellish morning commute to the West Loop, and set my alarm for four hours later.

Still more cursing…and a modicum of slumber ensued.

(Oh, about the video. I don’t have a mustache, and thus recording the video in Zoom, so make a digital one. It didn’t stay on very well, next time I’ll grow one, or glue one on.)

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