It was that time of year when the world couldn't quite make up it's mind. The temperature had transitioned to a more consistently tolerable level and the sun sat too high in the sky for it to be full on winter, yet drifts of snow remained, reminders of late season storms. Icicles, nature's crystal chandeliers, trailed down from roofs and balconies . They were late winters thaw frozen in a moment of time. Still, it was too early to be spring. The years green grass, let alone flowers, had yet to appear And only the most hardy souls dared to go out in anything less than a heavy coat.
On this particular morning large wet snowflakes fell reminding us that winter was not done with us yet. I was in a CTA station waiting for the bus that would take me to the airport. Like almost every year around that time I was enroute to visit my friends in Phoenix. A woman, at least clean and dressed for the cold, with a cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee in her hand, moved in and out of the station smoking a cigarette while pointing her finger and arguing with an invisible, imaginary adversary. It was 4:45 in the morning. Who did I expect to be out that early? Noel Coward once wrote "Mad men and Englishmen go out in the noon day sun", apparently mad women and Americans go out at 4:45 in the morning when it is snowing. A young black man walked past me dressed in the public transit uniform of a navy blue bomber jacket and well fitting cargo pants. It is a look reminiscent of a member of a SWAT team, which I feel some guilt and embarrassment in finding oddly sexy. I recall watching the closing ceremonies of the winter Olympics, being held that year in Canada, on a previous visit to Phoenix. As they paraded across the field in their high boots, their Sam Browne harnesses smartly buckled over snug red jackets I remarked "I can't help it, I think Mountie uniforms are hot." One of my hosts declared "Oh God yes!" Sometimes it's nice to know you're not alone in this sort of thing.
People got on the bus wearing a thin layer of the snow falling outside. Arriving at the airport I encountered, as always, lines on top of lines. We check in, a line, we passed through security, a line we boarded the plane, a line. I passed the line time people watching. In particular the well built man in the stocking cap and tight tee shirt. One could easily imagine him pacing in a cage. An MMA fighter, barechested and barefoot, wearing satin shorts. He was, as one of my Phoenix host has said on occasion, hot in a serial killer sort of way. In reality he was probably a youth minister.
Our Frontier airplane sported an image of a white snowshoe bunny on it's tail. Ironic considering we were headed to the desert. An hour past our original departure time we were in the air. Chicago, the city that works.....eventually.