Imagine the cool crisp air, Thursday, February 4, 2010. The temperature’s unseasonable again, creasing 40. Stepping out into the day, deep breaths are taken across the city. The sun shines off the glass-clad skyscrapers along the Chicago River. The Brown Line clatters, clickety-clackety and clean as a toy over the bridge above the waters. A tall boat’s coming through, it’s after morning rush, the bridge tenders point State, Dearborn, LaSalle, Franklin, to the nourishing sunlight. There’s a cloud in the sky, a large white shred, moving west slower than a stagecoach, as if it’s been part of the prairie forever.
The first rumble is more like a grumble. Cheap car alarms on cheaper cars sound. Antsy cats rise to fearful attention. The skies go still. The air stalls, hum of man and nature just hangs for an instant before the rumble comes.
The streets bounce with canisters, like stovepipes, like drains from rooftop water towers. They clatter from the sky: cellular towers shatter in mid-syllable, shrapnel dazzling in the brilliant late winter sun. The projected face in Millennium Park freezes, sizzles to black. BAM! Another punch, another lurch, another roll: the cloud moves to the lake, placid, impassive, several cars crash into several more and into the parked cars along Michigan, rumble, crash: The Bean drops from its mooring, drops, rolls, onrushing down Michigan where the cars have parted, reflecting that one white cloud as it wobbles down—then the center line tears like a paper towel, neatly like a perforation, and The Bean is swallowed by the warm earth. And it shifts again…
It’s always an abstract apocalypse until it occurs next door. Tragedies are what happen through the television screen, the Internet, right, much farther than arm’s length? Read the rest of this entry »