Chicago ice

My little sister Lisa and her boyfriend Sean came to visit this weekend. We roamed from the thrift store to the coffee shop to the diner to the handmade market to the record store, to Too Much Light, to the couch, and back again. Everything was just as it should be, until the morning they were supposed to leave. At 6am we bundled up — sleepy as hell, trying to be coherent — and made our way outside, braced for the long drive to Midway airport. It was pretty much the coldest morning ever on the planet. Like, I was shocked we saw no woolly mammoths and penguins skidding around. And my car, well… my car door was frozen shut. This has happened before, and a good kick and shove usually knocks it free. This time, no dice. More kicking, more shoving. Nothing. After a few minutes it became clear that I’d have to abandon this idea and put them in a cab if they were going to make their flight. I didn’t have enough cash on hand so we shuffled like a trio of penguins down to the corner gas station. The screen on the outdoor ATM was frozen over so I couldn’t see what buttons indicated which choices. Was I withdrawing 500 from my savings account? Fifty from checking? Press, press, press, hope. Finally with the right amount of cash in hand, I hailed them a cab and sent them on their way. We barely remembered to say goodbye, in the shuffle and hustle of things.

Later that day I was walking home from work and completely wallowing in the grumpiness of the temperature, the wind, the ice, inching my way down the sidewalk with my head down. Then some guy walking ahead of me on the sidewalk, similarly bundled up and looking down, just started sliding on the ice, taking quick short steps to get his speed up and then sliding like a snowboarder as far as he could go. I smiled. And after he’d crossed the street, I tried it myself. Ok, I almost fell on my ass immediately, but the walk home seemed a little less cold.

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