Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Willetts and trains...

i've found that one of the most enjoyable things about taking the El is that you get to see an almost-hidden part of the city. When I'm walking down the street, or taking the bus, I'm subject to large, moving advertisements and tons of people and noise.

but, for some reason, people don't advertise too much on the backs of buildings facing the El (except for in Wrigleyville, but that's just to get everyone drinking before the game, i guess). and you get to see the backs of people's homes, where most of the living happens.

tonight, i saw the silhouette of a Celtic cross in someone's bedroom window and had a truly inexplicable moment of calm in my soul. I saw women gathered in a rather non-descript office building/turned mosque, beginning the call to prayer. i saw a couple sharing a bed with each other, a dog, and the glow of the makes me feel a little like a spy.

and that doesn't even account for what happens on the El, which leaves one to wonder how a presumably-sane person can somehow believe that an elevated train makes them invisible. I now know all about someone's divorce proceedings (apparently, pets are involved and it sounds very sad), breakup (also sad), and pathetic attempts to pick up members of the opposite sex 20+ years younger than them (most definitely the saddest one of all).

i've seen folks with mental illness or urine-soaked clothes alternately ignored and engaged. i've formed little, fleeting friendships with people who just happen to be going my way.

i've loved trains since i was little, thanks to 3 generations of Willett men who've hitched their wagons to the Union Pacific engine. And, I know that the Chicago elevated train is a far-cry from the coal trains that run up and down the Columbia Gorge and that my grandad knows so well. But, regardless, it feels nice to have my own train and tracks that i feel at home in...

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