Chicago Transit Authority, Field Museum of Natural History, Gilbert O'Sullivan, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rubik's Cube, St. Patrick's Day, Success Magazine, Sun-Times Building, The Association, Trump Tower, Windy City
Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
I lead six ADHD-powered screens and my beautiful, brown-eyed bride on a sunwashed walking tour of downtown Chicago.
America’s 92nd oldest city, declares Screen Five, historian and keeper of unimportant facts.
This is impressive, Black! exclaims Two, eyes aglow.
With its many museums, varied athletics, great bands and roaring hot spots, Chi-town rocks, exults Three, prompting laughter from me. “I don’t think any true Chicagoan ever refers to the place as ‘Chi-town.’”
Hard to believe you once lived and worked here, comments Five. I do not see you as a “Big City” citizen.
“You should. You were here with me.”
Our private tour drops my lovely Laura off at the hotel. Amber-honey eyes lock up mine. “Please,” she pleads, “be careful.”
Asks Two, Why do you suppose she always says that?
Promise secured and kisses exchanged, I resume the rambling route. We haven’t gone far when, despite the keenness of my long-term memory, disorientation strikes.
Something is not right, murmurs One in tones hinting at a disturbance in the Force.
“What’s wrong, Obi-One Kenobi?”
He ignores my pun as he struggles to understand what has happened. The Sun-Times Building, where you worked as an editor for Success Magazine, says One haltingly. It … it no longer exists.
“Indeed,” I agree, eyes scanning a skyscraping structure. “It’s now Trump Tower.” Looking around, I share One’s befuddlement. “Chicago was already a big place when I lived here back in the ’70s. But it’s grown so much since then that I recognize little of what I see.”
Hey, offers Two, I used to love how the city celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, pouring dye into the river and turning the entire waterway bright green.
– and as I watch, a man on the next bridge slowly removes his coat. He casually leans against the rails.
Inexplicably, I tense. Six knows why. This, Black, is the very place where you encountered a despondent man – legless, friendless, hopeless – who had wheeled his chair and hurled himself into the depths of the river.
“Guard my satchel,” I shout at the unknown onlooker beside me as I strip off suit jacket, vest and tie.
“You’ll freeze to death,” he says. “Guy’s dead, anyway. Been floating awhile.”
Six re-directs me to the watery drama playing out thirty feet below. Some other chap has leaped the rails and swum to the victim, flipping him face up and towing him by shirt collar back to the cement shoreline. A smattering of bystanders clap but do not aid efforts to extract men from river.
And now it happens again, says Two, his horror pulling me back to the present. Adds Five with certainty, The coatless man just kicked off his shoes.
Screen Six demands I run – He is going to jump! – but these legs have endured 30 years and multiple reparative surgeries since they last hearkened heroically. Already in motion, I watch a scene unfold that I cannot arrive in time to stop.
As the man boosts himself, body bowed by resisting handrails, Three begs me to shout. But taxi horns, segmented buses, elevated trains and life’s loudness drown the cautions I declare. In a city dulled by curious behavior, no one heeds a ranting runner who wobbles Wabash Avenue.
Hands waving wildly, reports One, updating us on our jumper. In greeting, not farewell.
“Are you telling me” – I gasp, soaked and still 10 yards distant – “he’s just hailing the tour boat beneath him?” The intensity of that brief run has left me breathless.
Chicago, clarifies Five, is the Windy, not Winded, City.
“What in the world!” I exclaim amid wheezes. “You guys told me he was going over!”
Ten hands point at Screen Six, who confirms, Sure did look that way, Black.
“And what do you think now?” I fume.
That we kept our promise to Miss Laura. We are dry and safe. He winks. But we still have a great dinner tale.
Postscript: The day after my interrupted rescue of the bridge “jumper,” I am at amazing Shedd Aquarium (at left in photo below). Alone again –
Naturally, sings Screen Three.
Temptation in its cutest form caresses my face, whispers my name, beckons Blackwell to dive among the darling denizens.
An ear-splitting alarm sounds. They can read your mind? worries Two. Loudspeakers politely, urgently demand immediate evacuation of the facility, and all eyes turn toward rapidly filling exits.
All eyes but yours, notes Six. During the distraction, dare we dip with dolphins?
I almost shake in anticipation. but two lips say against my will, “We are dry and safe, guys. And with this evacuation, we still have a great dinner tale.”
Home to the hotel we head, heroes in a bride’s heart.
* * * * *
Blackie’s Weekly Wonders
A Bridge Too Long
Everyone Knows It’s Windy
Rubik’s Cube solved by “greased lightning” robot
Best snow dives of the year