Hiding In Plain Sight At Hyde Park
Around 2 P.M., I had reached my destination at [a nice-looking bench in] the University of Chicago. Immediately, I had seen that directly in front of me was the university’s bookstore. Also, I had heard construction workers jackhammering away at the concrete, which sounded to be a few hundred feet behind my location. It wasn’t until 2:12 P.M. that anything interesting had occurred. At that moment, I had seen multiple men exit various buildings around, as shown on the map. All these men were wearing crisp white lab coats, with crisp leaves sliding against the concrete ground beneath my feet, making for a subtle sound. Autumn is nearing, I proclaimed in my own head.
I see two students walk past me, in a rush and deep in conversation. Green sweater guy on the left shouts confidently, “he’s not even that good a soccer player!” 2:23 P.M. They laugh as they enter the bookstore, never to be seen again (simply by me, I hope!). Relaxing with a Monster energy drink in his hand, a university police officer strolls around and begins conversations with people. Not with me, though, obviously. 2:30 P.M. Slowly but surely, two more officers (one male, one female) quick on their heels appear out of nowhere. Before I have the chance to react with what has happened, the officers strain their vocal cords, increasing in volume. “What is going on?” I think to myself as I try to listen closely. 2:34 P.M. One officer shouts, “I can’t believe Johnny did that!” They burst into laughter. Oh, I see. This is just plain old gossip. Carry on. 2:37 P.M. An old friend from high school sees me and yells, “Hi, Jimmy!”
Written response: Does a walk through Chicago’s streets soothe you, induce stress, or produce some other emotional response? Why? Are there certain kinds of streets or places in the city that produce these emotional responses? Where, when, how, and why?
I always found the city to be very calming at night, and I enjoyed strolling down any given street to free my mind and let it flow wherever the wind took it, as I would follow. I never really understood what about it made me feel so comfortable; maybe it was this certain emptiness — a lonely, quiet feeling that I would encounter while walking down the middle of an empty city block — that gave me the opportunity to finally be free of everything for just a little while. I didn’t worry about which street I would start walking on. The starting point had been of the least importance to me. I only needed to remember the journey, in case I got lost and had to retrace my steps. And for the memories, can’t forget about those. I just really love the city life, that’s all.