The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Garbage Trucks Down Below

It is early here, or late if you want to look at it that way. Which a lot of people do. Whenever the bellman brought our bags up to our room on Monday, he told is of a bunch of places that serve food until 4 a.m. I stopped him.

"We are from Arkansas, we don't need to go eat that late."

He smiled. I wanted him to call me "Young Squire" like in That Thing You Do, but he didn't. Oh well.

Jen and I have been enjoying the past few days in Chicago. Jen loves Chicago, I mean loves it. It took her almost half a day to stop tearing up just being in Chicago.

I like just taking it all in. The smells. The people. The hustle and bustle. It is a city that just feels alive and electric.

While walking around by myself yesterday morning (Jen was still asleep) looking for donuts and green tea, I bobbed and weaved through out the Gold Coast neighborhood lined with small-time jewelers, Louis Vuitton store, a Prada store, Walgreen's, and blue collar Irish bars. And with each step on the sidewalk, I began to understand the mentality someone could have living in the streets of Chicago. The pride of a neighborhood. A person's home is a person's home. And we take pride in where we live. Whether it is just of Michigan Ave. in Chicago, a new church building in Fayetteville, AR or a shack in the middle of Cacalote, Mexico. With out that pride and sense of home, we aren't really much of anything. We lack identity.

And that is what I have been missing most the past few months, my identity. My identity has been in flux, in waiting. I was neither here, nor there. I was about to be married, but not yet. I was about to move, but not yet. I was about to quit my job, but not yet. My life was one big duality.

Chicago is a city that has been built on dualities. It is a place that embraces it's checkered past, but has such a vision for the future. I have seen countless upon countless references to Al Capone since I have been here. We ate at a place a few days ago that had this really great picture of Al Capone and his henchmen laughing and posing at a picnic. While looking at the picture, I realized just how much the character of Tony Soprano looked like Capone. And underneath the picture was an advertisement for Chicago 2016. The city is trying to land the Summer Olympics and has an advertising blitz going on throughout the city. Just the other day I saw an old man wearing two stickers, one said Obama 2008 and the other said Chicago 2016.

A place where the past, present, and future collide like atoms in a nuclear bomb. Kinda like the South.

It got me to thinking that maybe Chicago is more of a Southern city that Atlanta. But that could just be my bias against Atlanta.

The duality of Chicago is no better evidenced than the place where Jen and I are staying at. Here that time seems spin more in a sphere than a circle. The Knickerbocker was built in the 20's and has that Gatsby feel to it. It was long rumored, like just about every other building in Chicago, to be a hangout of Capone's. And by hangout, I mean Speakeasy and Casino.

Another interesting thing about this hotel is that Chicago's other favorite son, Hugh Hefner, bought the place and made it into the Playboy Towers. Hef even kept an apartment here so he could walk the two blocks to the Corporate headquarters. And even though this old place has had quite an infamous and nefarious past, this place is amazing. The room we have been staying in is quite modern and chic.

I am amazed at how quiet it is up here above the streets. I just heard a garbage truck, but that has been about it. Down on the street, all you here are cars, horns, and the other white noise that everyone else walking around must just get used to. But for me, it was almost deafening at first.

But up here 50 ft above the street it is quiet.

Jen is asleep.

And it is 4:33 a.m.

And I am hungry.

I guess I was wrong about not needing to eat so late.