Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 50

Then there is the abandoned hulk of the old post office, straddling the congress highway. I read where they thought it was big enough to put an airport on the roof when it was built. Now it just gets used for an occasional exterior shot in some Batman movie. I read in the paper that there are plans to use it as part of a large complex with two towers bigger than the Sears, but plans like that come and go in Chicago. They where going to build a 2,000 foot Chicago spire on Michigan avenue and the river, but all they got done is a huge, round hole that looks like a home for dragons. Even some of the ones that do get built, get scaled back, like the Trump tower. It was going to be 1,500 foot tall, but after 9/11 he got scured and cut it to 1,389 feet so as to not be the tallest target in Chicago. I kind of call it stumpy now, lol. Further west I can see part of the blue Ogilvie Metra train station standing proud at the end of the rail line that you can't see as they are under the roads there. We have a Caribou coffee shop we pick up from there on the second floor that is near a sky bridge to another, older building near the river. I mention it because it's always a challenge near rush hour, it feels like a bust open ant hill. Everyone must be late the way they frantically run by, eyes wide, sweat breaking out on their faces, worried they won't make a train. I'm a big dude, but I still feel like a salmon trying to swim up stream, they just don't care. Even old ladies cut too close to corners as I try to make a right, which when making a right should be my side to be on. A trick I am learning is to hold your arms out further than you normally would to look bigger, then at the last second pull them in to get past the rushers without hitting them too hard. I also try to not make eye contact as they know this means you see them and will try to give them room. Pretend to not see them and they will avoid getting hit more. When your in the city walking, or on public transportation, your personal space starts just under your clothing, and even then that is debatable to some.
   Occasionally, the smell of a restaurant will hit you like a ton of bricks. It's bitter sweet in that it brings back memories of BBQing with buddies, but I have no money to go and actually eat that BBQ.
   Riding with the Boz has been a blast! Shaped like a cube, his head always seems to be tilted forward a bit and his arms never touch his sides, he is constantly evaluating who is around and what to fire back. To ride with the Boz is to become part of a Chicago circus act on the street. Every pretty girl is a chance to tap the horn and wave. Every breathing female becomes a chance to tap the horn and wave. He did it once to a lady with very grey hair and as he saw the look on my face, he said "Well now, I gotta get the senior vote!" LOL. Looking Black, but being half Puerto Rican, he seemed to relish the chance to shock those that thought he wouldn't know what they where saying. Then at times he would let on that he was in the military and for a moment the clown would go away... but then he'd be off on a new tangent about some Blue tooth headset he got or the glasses with the video camera built in. Boz was the main driver of the missions bus, taking the choir group to small towns all over several states. He ran it like the captain of a ship, and had too at times.
   I just recalled a story of when I was riding with Dean. He was a nice easy going guy and one day he took me for a tour of where he grew up on the west side of Chicago. This was out where the houses grow in little clusters, like weeds in the cracks of a sidewalk. Then you realize that the spaces between them are where houses have burned down, like the gaps in a fighters teeth. Many of the remaining houses have boarded up windows and he points out the group of young toughs sitting on a porch while one stands on the outside of a fence watching the traffic going by, the dealers and look outs.  He spots the hookers right away, and they don't look like they do in the movies, lol. At one point he shows me a corner lot with a sunken center and tells me that is where he had his first beer on his 21st birthday. Then he tells me that his friend got shot there that night, and then they burned it down. Dang. I look at Dean and say, "I'm enjoying this trip down memory lane with you, but I'm really happy this is early on a cold, Monday morning, and they can see you are driving." Later on that night I tell Errol from security about the excursion and he says, "Oh? you went to the ickies?" and he lets out a huge grin. LOL, you gotta like these guys.

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