I remember loving Chicago as a kid. The towers, the Loop, the pizza. We used to stop for lunch in the city on our way to Wisconsin. I heard about the Student Activities Committee Chicago Trip, and signed up as soon as possible.
We spent this past Saturday in the city. We wandered from place to place and never knew where to go next. We looked up at the ends of skyscrapers and saw the clear sky. Young men, probably my age, sat on the sidewalk with 10-gallon buckets and drumsticks, and hammered the pace of the city into existence. They grinned into their blurry hands and rocked quickly in tempo. They sat on the curb next to the oblivious cars that sped down North Michigan Avenue.
We crossed the street and the sun reflected off The Bean onto our faces. We looked up and saw in the massive mirror a hundred people gathered around, taking pictures. The strange monument of Chicago loomed over us.
We wandered around in stores and had pizza for dinner. Classic Chicago tourist stuff. But I’m from Kalamazoo, a relatively small city. We don’t have Giordano’s on every block. Chicago is huge, a home for 2.7 million, and even walking the streets feels like participating in something bigger.
We got lost a few times, and maybe wandering is only wandering. But when a small town kid is swept up in the rhythm of the big city, even for a few hours, it feels like something more.