The weather is what we talk about when we have nothing to say. That said, nobody in Chicago could shut up about the historic/apocalyptic cold snap which hit the city Wednesday. I worked at the bar the evening before and it’s all I heard about. The teachers were happy to get a couple days off—CPS canceled classes Wednesday and Thursday—and most others who came in anticipated staying inside their homes for at least the next day. I was just annoyed.
I love winter and the cold doesn’t bother me. I told anyone who would listen that I planned to do nothing different. I was looking forward to taking a walk to see if Mother Nature could live up to the hype. Most didn’t believe me or thought I was just being contrary. I left the bar around 9pm Tuesday night and caught the bus home like any other night.
I woke up early Wednesday and looked out the window. It looked like a typical winter day. Sunny. I puttered around a bit, then called the coffeeshop to see if they were open. No one picked up. I sighed, then dug out the long-johns I hadn’t worn in years and prepared to head outside.
The first few minutes didn’t feel any different than any cold winter morning. The streets were deserted, aside from the occasional passing vehicle. It was kind of like Christmas. After some time outside, I could feel my nose hairs stiffening with each intake of air. I popped some CDs into the overnight drop at the library (which was supposed to be open but wasn’t), then continued south down Halsted to the Bridgeport Restaurant for some breakfast.
Inside, all anyone could talk about was the weather. I read my book awhile, then texted Jimmy to see if the bar was still standing. He was there but said it wouldn’t open this day, which meant I’d have to make alternate dinner plans. You know it’s serious if the Skylark is closed—that place doesn’t close for anything.
I walked back north hoping to pick up a package at the UPS Store but the doors were locked, so I continued on to CVS for provisions. There I stocked up on snacks and got some weird gluten-free pizza for dinner. Passing back by UPS, I saw the lights on and a clerk inside waving her hands to beckon me in. The package turned out to be the proofs for my book; now I’d have a project to occupy me when I got home.
I flipped through the book-to-be for awhile, made a few corrections, then emailed the printers to see if they had time for a phone call (unless they were taking the day off like most of Illinois.) I guess Michiganders are made of hardier stock, because my phone rang within half an hour. With business concluded and plenty of daylight left, I pulled a chair up to my bedroom window and made a quick gouache of the view. It didn’t look unusually frigid out there, just a sunny, clear day, roofs covered with snow.
Having few prospects for dinner, I got myself invited over Bill and Cheryl’s place. The Bus Tracker assured me that the Halsted buses were coming every seven or eight minutes, but when I got to the stop the wait suddenly jumped to twenty-four minutes. I started walking north. It was cold for sure, but nothing next level or extraordinary. The only annoyances along the way were that my breath moistened the scarf and my iPod conked out about a mile into my walk. I got to Cermak without a single bus or cab going my way. The Cermak bus was allegedly eight minutes away so I walked a couple stops west, then caught it the rest of the way.
At Bill and Cheryl’s I ate spaghetti for the first time in months and drank more than usual. It was a good time. I called a cab to take me home but it never arrived, so Bill generously ordered me a Lyft.
It was a good, fairly ordinary day. I don’t know what all the fuss was about. It’s just winter. I like it.