Oct 23, 2010

Goodnight, Loop

It was late. I couldn't leave work until I'd finished something so that my boss could travel this week. And the big important meeting, which had gone on all day, was still in progress.

This all-day meeting had gone, as one might imagine, through several phases:

At 8 am it was coffee. With people all-business-like and just bathed. Smelling of focus, determination and something pleasantly synthetic -- was it dryer sheets? Listerine?

At noon it was sandwiches, with people folding up their sleeves, tossing off their shoes and earrings and getting comfortably serious.

But, by 2 pm, people began running in and out of the room with panic on their faces (needing things, PDFs, better pens, for me to text them at certain junctures just so they could leave the room).

At 4 pm there was a lull. Which was punctuated by yelling about twenty minutes later. Where the mood of the meeting pretty much remained until about
7 pm (when, finally, someone laughed, and, then, everybody laughed). At which point drinks and Chinese take-out arrived immediately to the conference room, literally, out of thin air.

And, just like that, the whole place became littered by a million boxes and bottles.

Then, finally, at 8 pm, some people filed out.

Personal calls were made.

And, I guess everything was going to be okay.

Except for me.

Me, at my desk the entire time. Going through the well documented stages of crisis. Imagining, at times, simply abandoning my job and being so happy not to worry about these flight itineraries anymore (a convoluted, headache-inducing travel plan that took several people to three cities in two days, then briefly back here, then off, again, to two other cities).

When I finished my work and left the building (the meeting still going on, though by then securely in it's "wrapping-up" phase), it was late. I was exhausted. But I was happily surprised to walk out into balmy weather. It was warmer than it had been that morning. And this was October.

And, the Loop, as busy as it normally was, was weirdly empty after business hours.

It was nighttime.

I looked up and noticed something spooky quietly unfolding above the University situated at Jackson and State. At eye level, looking east, this intersection is a bookstore, a bus stop, the mouth of the subway, a man with a microphone talking about Our Inevitable Damnation, cars, and people -- with some el tracks tucked behind everything else.

But, by now, it was deserted. And the eerie cloud-thing going on in the upper right corner of my field of vision couldn't be ignored.

Weirdly unfolding clouds, lit by some yet unidentified light, were doing arabesques in an otherwise ink-black night sky.

I thought these clouds might be lit by a spot light or an up-light, but it turned out to be moonlight. The moon in the Loop, normally being an afterthought of a pale speck in the sky (if one notices it), was currently the biggest moon I'd ever seen.

I mean terrifyingly big. The way the moon is idealized in travel photographs of places along the equator.

And then, if this could be any more dramatic, there, a-top the eighteen or twenty stories of the university, amid the moon and the continually disappearing and reappearing veils of clouds, I saw a turret.

How did I ever miss such a detail on this building, before?

It was the northwestern-most facing turret of the building, that, in all it's century old green-copper-conical architectural relentless-ness, stood against this, most creepiest of scenes.
So, an unsettling spectacle of absinthe colored clouds was gathering and re-gathering under a huge October moon, with an old batty turret in the foreground. And, here, I hadn't smoked anything.

I half expected Sherlock Holmes to sweep in
all a-sparkle, brimming with literary magic, merely to inquire if wouldn't join him on an adventure that could only be embarked upon through the Wonders of Reading.

(with him only ever looking at me through that big, psychologically distancing magnifying glass of his).

No. I went home.

At long last. On the west-bound train. Watching as this particular scene shrank away while the moon, itself, remained constant.

And life was, once again, just so.

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