I’m watching the blue tide that continues to roll through downtown Chicago. My perch: The second floor of the Sharp Building, prime School of the Art Institute real estate in the Loop. Where is the geographical “heart of Chicago”? You could make an argument for this spot.
No one is at work today and if they are (or if they were) they weren’t. Kids all over the whole state skipped school. The teachers skipped school. On the news this morning, one of the reporters said, “Um, I literally just saw my kid’s school principal in the crowd near Wrigley Field. We’re good.”
If you did go to class, if you did have a meeting, the static electricity in the atmosphere scrambled everything in the best possible way. Whatever you were supposed to be doing, however you were supposed to be doing it, the usual Friday schedule for millions of people got booted when those kids won the game and it didn’t matter — still doesn’t matter — if you don’t care about baseball. This isn’t about baseball anymore, remember? It’s about astonishment and relief.
Now, the folks who work in shops and restaurants downtown have their work cut out for them, but I worked in the service industry for a long time and — though Christmas is really the only day I can think that comes close to the feeling down here —I know how it goes on a day like this: If you’re a waitress, you’re gonna make a killing because people tip better when they’re happy. If you’re in retail, the hours are gonna fly because everyone’s so amped. If you’re slinging lattes at a coffee shop… Well, I haven’t ever done that job, exactly, but I imagine inside all the cafes and stores it’s as much of a party as it is outside on the streets. Sure, people are drunk and there are some weirdos out there, but that’s every day in the city, baby. There’s just less confetti most days.
The parade started at Wrigley this morning and then came downtown on Lake Shore Drive to get to Michigan Avenue. I was listening to the radio and doing things around the house when I realized that they were almost to my cross street! I ran to the window, threw open the shade, slammed the screen up and stuck my head out the window really far — so far I actually got a little woozy when I glanced down — and I could see them! I could see the buses with “CHAMPIONS” emblazoned on the side! Right there on Michigan Avenue! Some little kids up on the 20th floor of my building were out on their balcony and they cried down to me, “Hi! Hi! Go cubs! Up here! Up here! Wave to us!”
I realized at that moment that I was only in my bra and underpants. I squeaked out a “Hi there!” and ducked back in to put on some clothes. Don’t worry: no one was scandalized. It’s just that kind of day.