Some days I really love the city.
Then there are days like today.
To be fair, I had a wonderful day overall and enjoyed gorgeous weather in the morning and early afternoon. But this evening's commute from work back home was eventful, and as I see it, those aren't the best kind of commutes. I work about a mile and a half from home, so I usually walk to and from work. But this afternoon, I was carrying quite a bit, so I decided to walk about a quarter mile then take the bus.
I'm walking along, and I feel a few raindrops. It's not bad at first, even without an umbrella. I try convincing myself that it feels "refreshing." Then, all of a sudden, it begins to come in torrents. If you've ever experienced true Chicago rain, it's almost as if it's raining horizontally. Even if I'd had an umbrella, it wouldn't have helped much.
I pick up my pace, and soon I'm running for cover under the bus stop awning. Thankfully, I see there's only one man there waiting, so there's plenty of room to join him. Except this guy is smoking like there's no tomorrow. Can anyone tell me why smokers have to blow the smoke out as far as possible, making sure everyone can inhale it? I'm sure that's not exactly what they're trying to do, but it was so strong and nauseating. I tried to crane my neck out of the bus stop to breathe the "fresh" city air, but then I was getting soaked. So I chose the second-hand smoke.
A few minutes later, the bus finally arrives and I feel so relieved. I gather all my stuff, looking like a bag lady, and sit down in the first empty seat, only to soon discover why it was empty. The man next to me immediately turns to me, and in a voice you might use at a football game, yells, "We're in Chicago. Chicago, Illinoissss. Chicago is in the state of Illinoissss," spit coming out as he mispronounces our state. I smell his rank, boozy breath.
"Uhh... yes, we are," I replied, hoping this conversation could end.
He continues, still at a deafening volume, "We're in Chicago. We're not in Hollywood. That's in the state of California."
I wish I could say that at this point, I completely engaged with him in conversation and asked him how his day was going, but I just wasn't in the mood. I tried to look away, and each way I turned, I saw someone staring in my direction. Some gave me that "I'm so sorry" look; others snickered. The man continued talking/screaming, asking me if I know Matt (?) until he decided it might be a good idea to sneeze right on my arm and on my purse. Could this commute get any better?
As we pulled up to the bus stop, my hero Shawn came to my rescue with a huge umbrella to walk me home. And he had even made dinner! My evening went from a 2 to a 10 instantly.
I'm sure whenever it is that we don't live in this city, we'll look back and laugh hysterically about moments like these. But in the mean time, I'm going to go sanitize my bag.