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Thursday, April 28, 2005


Today I went to a training seminar for area resources. One of the sections was about the local transit system. Fifteen bus routes that don't even cover half the city, and end by 8 p.m. You definitely need a car to get around this city. I'd never even try to plan a trip on a bus; it'd be a major undertaking.

Discussing the bus system gave me a sudden sock in the gut. Chicago. Oh, Chicago. The busses there are dirty, smelly, and always running late. God I loved them. Knowing how to maneuver the city in them, being able to decide on a whim to go somewhere, and hop on the bus . . . that made the city mine. Even if I was walking down the street, not aiming to catch the bus at all, just the sight of one made my stomach jump with excitement, knowing what freedom I had if I wanted to go wherever I wanted.

I don't know if this qualifies as a spiritual experience, but it's definitely moving: riding the bus home from a bar, slightly buzzed, whizzing through the city. It's different than riding the trains, which sail above the city. The buses delve through the heart of it, and I take note of places every time we pass, check them off in my heart. I felt like such a living, breathing molecule of the city in moments like those.

And so it aches to remember, and realize I'm now living in a place where cars replace walking to the store, the bus, to work.

And then? The strange thing is that it's been a while since I existed with a constant ache for Chicago. I'd wake up missing it, get through the day missing it, and fall asleep missing it. As visceral as my response to the local busses was today, reminding me of Chicago, so intense too was the realization that I hadn't been consciously missing it lately. Like a cold sore on your lip that you worry and worry and are constantly aware of--that you believe will never heal--suddenly one day you wake up and discover that it's been ages since the cold sore has healed.


Blogger Megan said...

The reason why I shy away from the suggestions to move; change your city, change your life---is that I'd miss Mpls so much it would hurt. Getting around is so easy. I would hate to move somewhere where I would HAVE to get a driver's license.

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

I appreciate your thoughts on the busses in Chi-town. I could never love them, but I really appreciated this post. Thanks, el.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh el, i love how you can make something that most people don't think twice about sound romantic and exciting. oh the buses of chicago, how i wish i were riding one... :)

2:54 PM  

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