Thursday, September 14, 2006
I really like my silly ride to work. It's about 5 minutes long, and in it I pass the deep, water-bed roots of the city. I go through the "lower" part--the streets below the false bottoms of Michigan Ave. and Wacker Drive, where the tall buildings are really anchored. So I see the real bottom of the Wrigley Building, the Tribune Building--all these buildings that you think you're seeing all of when you're above ground. I go by loading docks and employee entrances and boat-boarding spots along the river, past smoking hotel employees and TV interns and people in hair nets sitting on crates. I go by the city impound lot, by the Billy Goat, by media vans, down unusually twisty streets that hug the river and its banks. And every single day, except in winter, I hear the squawk and tweet of some renegade group of parrots (I guess?) who live under Michigan Avenue and whose calls echo weirdly throughout all the rivets and steel. I emerge in natural light at Wabash, in the cluster of valet parkers.