A power surge murdered my DSL modem last Friday. (I should have known the clock on my microwave wasn't the only casualty.) I went the whole weekend without an Internet connection in my apartment, which enabled me to do things like, say, have a life. Plus, I have a BlackBerry.But last night, I finally broke down and called AT&T to get the beef on my connection. Turns out the solid red power light was the electronic equivalent of a heart-monitor flatline, and my warranty was up — so I headed to Best Buy by bike in search of a way back to the web.
I could have taken the bus(es), but it would have taken twice as long — plus, I was full of energy from a day cooped up in my cube with gorgeous weather taunting me beyond tinted office windows. It was dark when I left the apartment post–Gossip Girl; my long trip to Clark and Diversey was lit by pools of soft orange light and the occasional storefront glow. For some reason, I never feel unsafe biking around Chicago at night, probably because it seems like there are always people out and about. And even though there are those days where I go grocery shopping and would kill a man for an engine and a trunk, rides like last night's remind me why I love my self-propelled transportation.
There's a scene in Amélie where she grabs a blind man by the arm and races him through the streets of Paris, breathlessly describing the sights he's missed out on even though he's surrounded by them all day as he walks around with his white cane. She leaves him, reeling, near the Metro station and goes on her way. Counting orgasms (quinze!) and delivering trinkets to lonely old men. There's so much people in cars don't see while they're weaving through traffic at 40 miles an hour, but I get it all. They don't know what they're missing. A guy taking a smoke break on a stoop, having a sneezing fit. Pipe-cleaner shamrocks taped to a second-story window. A tired woman doing dishes over a Mexican restaurant, enveloped in steam. An exuberant dog on a leash, clothes-lining a kid on Rollerblades. Me nearly keeling over laughing. Tickle Me Elmo propped up in a window as a legitimate decoration. The smell of baked goods somehow wafting to every side street in Lincoln Park.
Buckled safely inside their cars, Chicago drivers miss so much. But I get it all, then I come home and write about it. You know, now that I have Internet again. Then I realize the world around me makes no sense, and I love it all the more for that. Then I reread what I've written and feel like more of a voyeur than before. Oh, well. Maybe I just assume other people love attention as much as I do…they just don't talk about it.