35 mph winds from the northeast make the lake roar and the alarm clock unnecessary. A low grey sky and spitting rain, but the radio says it’ll clear up later, so I bike to work. On Rogers Park and Evanston side streets, buildings mostly block the wind except by Calvary Cemetery (Hi Mom!). Wet leaves strewn in the urban cyclists’ sweet spot–far enough out to avoid getting doored, but not so far out to risk ending up as some speeder’s hood ornament–make things slippery. Not ideal cycling conditions, but it’s still Fall in Chicago, and soon enough Winter will arrive to dope-slap the last aftertaste of Summer out of our mouths, so it’ll do.
Quiet day at work. Some email, some paperwork, some prep for next quarter’s classes. Returned an overdue library book.
But once again, the media have lied to me. It’s still windy and rainy. That’s why God invented Gore-Tex. Back south, but by another route, west to the North Shore Channel and its sculpture parks and bike path through Evanston, Skokie, and Chicago. Nice setting for a training ride: time the lights right and you can get up to a good speed even with this weather. South of Devon, the path swoops down under the east-west cross streets and only puddles, stray children, and leashed dogs slow me down. I love this inland waterfront, its combination of the man-made and the natural, the essential drainage infrastructure that makes building a city in a swamp practicable. My destination is the retail store at the Half Acre Brewery down in Lincoln Square, to stock up on four-packs of Daisy Cutter and Gossamer Ale for a shindig scheduled for next week. Gotta plan ahead.
Home into the wind and in time for a power-nap before the night gig. Will it be one of those evenings where a cavalcade of clueless jamokes order Irish Car Bombs (won’t make ’em) or ask me my name (won’t tell ’em)? Or a smooth, profitable night with regulars and strays alike having some fun without any aggravated mopery? No telling, but at least I have a Gossamer to anticipate for that 3 a.m. after-work nightcap. Long days, my Thursdays.
About the author:By day, Bill Savage is a professor and administrator at Northwestern. Thursday nights, he tends bar and fights crime at Cunneen’s. He contemplates cities and nature.