I’m afraid to even mention this on the Internet for fear that word will catch on and destroy the secret to my morning commute, but considering I have about 6 readers, perhaps it won’t be such a moment – Lower Wacker Drive is open. That lovely, subterranean tunnel that snakes around downtown Chicago, has been reopened after a lengthy reconstruction. Lovely and harrowing all the same. It is not a route for the faint of heart. Entrances appear without warning. Exits disappear into sketchy alleys or dead ends. Proper signage is almost extinct. I have seen men fully exposed as they relieve themselves against its walls (ew). Hustlers appear from nowhere just when a light turns red and if you pause at the wrong moment, a cacophony of car horns will convince you otherwise.
Entering the Underworld
No, Lower Wacker Drive is not for the faint of heart. Yet it is my favorite, speedy, underground passage. I think I’m clever that I know it’s secrets. The bat caves of Chicago.
It is also the place that I curse the most. Because I have taken great care to learn and navigate it’s passageways, I expect others to do the same. It’s an auto response that I do not take pride in. It’s harmless, right? The kids aren’t in the car, I get to let it all out, no one can hear me. But when I finally got around that car that paused at every hole in the wall, I realized that I must have cursed more in the last five minutes than I had all weekend.
Cursing causes no relief. I think it just makes me a surly, erratic, explosive person. Just another wretched urbanite, hostile at the interloper. Tourists! (I actually love tourists – weird, I know.)
Expressing rage by letting it out only makes it easier to do the next time, like when the kids are in the car (oops – don’t say that at school, sweetie). Not so cute when the 4yo says the s, d and occasional f word. Yikes. It’s like practicing a habit, only not such a great habit. Each time a fierce word is said in frustration and anger, it is reinforced for that next moment. Holding it in, well, maybe that’s not so great either.
I’m thinking that trying to empathize with that driver who is lost, confused, baffled by the enclosed tunnels would be an exercise of letting go, instead of letting it out. It feels awful to have expressed a verbal assault on someone, then drive by and realize the driver is about 80, barely peering over the dashboard. Haven’t we all been that slow, uncertain driver at one point? In a strange place? What can be stranger than Lower Wacker?
Better to slow down, get around, in through the nose, out through the mouth. Sigh. Get home safely.
And now, for something completely silly…
Turtle sightings in the Chicago Underworld.