For whatever reason, I awoke this fine Wednesday ready to grab the day by its pointy little Wednesday horns. Perhaps it was that the air conditioning in my apartment, broken since May, was finally humming again. Or maybe I still felt the residual laughter of last night’s improv comedy class at Second City. Whatever the case, I opened my eyes feeling refreshed, resolute, and ready for anything.
As I sat up and stretched, my first thought was prompted by a pleasant but assertive voice emanating from my alarm clock radio – it was the voice of a Chicago Public Radio weatherwoman – and the message was clear: today will be another scorcher… big surprise.
I silenced the radio halfway through the five-day forecast and as I ambled sleepily toward the bathroom, I began counting the minutes before I would have to depart from the arctic asylum of my apartment into the sultry morning heat.
Bankrupt of minutes, fresh from the shower and out the door, I stole a glimpse of the Chicago skyline from my 4th floor Wicker Park balcony and despite the heat, a glimpse was all I needed to put a bounce in my step as I shuffled down the balcony stairway and out onto Ashland Avenue. As I turned to walk due North, I could feel my pores open and I began to sweat cleanly, my body yielding to the inescapable heat and boiling humidity that somehow seem to permeate even the early morning hours of Chicago in July.
I walked purposefully from Blackhawk Street to the Clyborn Metra stop, and by the time I reached the platform, my shirt clung to my back like plastic wrap and my exposed skin shone in glistening homage to the sun. I caught eyes with a fellow passenger, similarly roasted and could have anticipated his observation: “Sucks about the heat, eh?”
Musingly, I smiled and offered a nod, though I couldn’t have disagreed more at that moment. Truly there were days when I would have likened the morning heat to a dentist’s drill but after six Chicago summers, I now consider sweating before work a rite of passage, and wear my sodden shirt as a proud symbol of Chicago citizenship.
About the author: Jared Melnyk is a south-side native who has lived in Chicago for 6 years. He loves seeing live music and wonders why at 27 he already feels like the old guy at the show. Follow Jared on twitter at @pillowcase99.