#269: Through a Window

January 15th, 2014

Through a window, a bald man in a luxury farm-to-table, antibiotic-free, sustainably sourced restaurant mimed the fistfight that earned him that raging black eye.

Through a window a few blocks down, an old Polish guy and an old black guy slurped ┼╗ywiec (pronounced zhib-yits) in silence. They sat 20 feet away from each other, the only patrons in an old Polish bar that just got windows a few months back.

The other windows on Division Avenue, that strip chosen as the soul of Chicago because a few writers lived here, showed more sterling scenes. Young men and women showing up in groups for hangouts. A curly headed blond man waiting for a straight-haired blonde woman for their Internet date. Closed storefronts. A middle-aged Hispanic woman gazing languidly out the window for people who would never come in and buy tires.

This is my Division. Through a window.

It used to be Chicago, they say. It used to be Chicago because of Studs Terkel, because of Mike Royko, Nelson Algren, that 2012 viral video hat commercial where Craig Robinson and Nick Offerman snipe at each other about baseball.

“Once you get north of Division Street, you might as well be in Wisconsin,” the video declares.

Through a window on this old writer street, the beautiful dine.

Through a window, the ugly drink.

Through a window, life happens for some as others shuffle through the cold and dark outside, watching the world through a window.

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