the brotherhood of the bus stop

Today, snow, and lots of it.

I was standing this evening, freezing in my knitted garments, at the bus stop on Division. Three intellectual boys with bright-colored sneakers were clowning in the cold, blowing breath onto the glass of the shelter and drawing hearts in the frost of their breath, smoking and blowing smoke into the air. They were talking about some ridiculously dressed woman they had seen earlier today. They said, “She looked like the Renaissance.” They were so smartsy and college about it, I had to laugh, we all laughed. I told them they were high on the temperature. They just moved here, too. We all just moved here.

Something is happening here. I don’t get on the Division bus without meeting another young person, another artist, who’s just relocated to Chicago, snow and all. The word is out that the scene here is as hot as the weather is cold, and the housing prices are half of what they are in LA, NYC, or SF. Everybody is moving here. And everybody who isn’t, should be.

I don’t ride the Chicago street bus without hearing people talking about vintage amplifiers. I don’t buy an EggMcMuffin at Adams and Wabash without hearing women talking about Stratford Shakes and the Goodman and ChiShakes and going back every year. There is a real audience here. For all the arts. I don’t even have to think about it. It’s all around me.

And now that Chicago is the city of Barack Obama, too, it’s the place to be for the politics as well. And the pride. I think the Grant Park energy is still ebullient in everyone’s faces. I saw a woman today wearing a T-shirt with the date of Obama’s first day in office on it.

This is the place to be, and I feel that even more strongly now that I’ve spilled myself on the ice for the first time, walking home on Rockwell.

It’s like, Welcome to Chicago. – SMACK! –

I can’t wonder, and I don’t, if my life would have been different if I had come here sooner. I only know I’m here now.