The Commute As Travel
It’s been rough. We’re slowly getting ready to go, but we still don’t have a departure date set. Mentally, that’s difficult, because it feels like it’ll never happen. I’m coping by thinking of my daily commute as a mini trip. And thanks to not having to drive, it’s been a nice way to look at things. My commutes are relaxing … as long as the train isn’t too full. Here’s what I’ve seen on my commuter vacations:
For a number of years, I rode the express bus to work, and I got to see Lake Michigan daily. It was great — some days it was smooth, some days it was rough, some days it blended perfectly into the sky. In the winter, if the lake was warm and the temp dropped fast, it would steam. The lake was always amazing.
Now my commute takes me down Burling, and I get to see the front gardens of our neighbors evolve through the seasons. This year, the magnolias bloomed really late. It’s been cloudy and cool, and the flowers are behind schedule. But maybe my favorite part of walking down Burling is the juxtaposition of our rockstar dog-walking neighbor. He wears motorcycle boots, black rock ‘n roll t-shirts, and a leather jacket (never zipped), and he has super-long Axl Rose / Iggy Pop hair. And a little, miniature terrier. Hilarious. Lisa’s seen him pick up the poo and I guess there’s a pretty awesome full body hair flick that he does post fecal retrieval.
There’s always something interesting to observe on Fullerton. Sometimes it’s an early-morning walk of shame. Sometimes it’s a group of bums laughing and shooting the shit. The Fullerton-Lincoln-Halsted intersection is a great people-watching crossroads.
On the way home in late fall and early spring, the sunset view from the Brown Line is wonderful.
I love walking through the Merchandise Mart. The ridiculously high-end kitchens and bathrooms are fun to watch evolve. And there’s always something happening — setting up for an event, installing a new art piece. I also love that in one of the nicest buildings in the city, the best route from the Brown Line to the street is some shit staircase because there’s no down escalator.
The Chicago River
Walking across the Chicago River is the best part of my new commute. The river has such a great personality, and the view to the east towards the Hard Rock Hotel, the Marina Towers, and the classic buildings along Michigan is fantastic.
I’ll miss it, but I’m ready to leave it. It’s time for new views and real travel adventures.