Monday, June 11, 2007

Ahoy Chicago.

Just when I thought I knew you Chicago, you go ahead and surprise me. It seems kind of unfair that now that I'll be leaving this amazing city I love, that has become so comfortably predictable to me, it surprises me with a new flirtation--the Chicago water taxi. I've been taking it for a week now and learned of it just before that. It's the most pleasurable and refreshing way to commute ever and it's free through June 17th.

This morning on my way into work, the taxi and I and the maybe 7 other people on board, were stuck behind a gaggle of sail boats working their way through the draw bridge system of every major cross street in downtown Chicago.

I didn't mind the wait; in fact, I feel quite lucky to have experienced it. All the bridges went up, one by one, creating incredible views of skyscrapers interspersed with metal bridge grating, blue skies, and movement--the movement of old, creaky bridges. I knew logically that they wouldn't fall and crush me into the depths of the river, but the whole time we were under them, I was creating an escape plan for when they would, because when something that giant and seemingly unmoveable actually moves, scores of feet up in the air at a 70 degree angle, stopping dozens of cars and hundreds of pedestrians, then you are humbled and feel quite vulnerable.

An elderly woman on the bow of the ship with me turned to her friend and said, "I've moved that bridge. My uncle used to raise that one and he let me do it once". How cool is that? She must've been 80 if she was a day and I could just picture her as a young, nervous girl, pushing a button, or turning a crank, or whatever she did with her uncle by her side. What a different time, but not so very different from this feeling that she, and I, and most likely everyone else had on that ship this morning.