Soapin the Streets

He’s out there on the corner soapin the streets at Foster and Walcott, the bodega owner’s son, or nephew, or cousin or whatever. If he’s even related to the owner. Maybe he is the owner. He looks too young to own his own corner store though, I don’t know. In any case he’s out there washing away the winter, the remnants of leaves and gravel and coagulated exhaust, broken glass, and shards of bud light cans and cig butts. Swept away on the first day of the year that smells like spring, the sidewalk perimeter lathered and brushed coarse, as shiny as dull concrete.

It’s astonishing how this city changes from the cold months to the warm. Chicago Depression: it’s a regional-seasonal-emotional condition, and it’s a pandemic. Seems like the winter eliminates 30% of the public space here. The sidewalks are trenches (when shoveled), or lunar surfaces (when the owner is a dick). The streets become an obstacle course of dibs and snow mounds, and the parks don’t really exist because you can’t actually go there. Urbs in Horto? Just fuck you. The aforementioned horto is covered in 26 inches of snow that’s been here since November, concealing a Noah’s Ark of dog shit. But I haven’t noticed that the parks don’t exist because I haven’t left my house for non-essential business since Thanksgiving.

Then one day, you walk outside and your coat is a little too heavy, your hat unnecessary, your scarf just an accessory. You’re waiting for the bus and your hair is actually hot. The streets don’t have that snow barrier. People are lying on blankets in the park. Things are vibrant. The music in your headphones sounds just a little better today than last week. Maybe things aren’t so bad after all.

That day is today. It’s the first warm day in Chicago.

Writer: Kevin Borgia
Location: Foster & Walcott

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