#299: On a Night

March 26th, 2014

Cops were scattered throughout the student center.

Some cops sat at the tables where students on endless MacBooks studied, laughed and ate surprisingly decent food from the nearby food court kiosk. Other cops leaned against walls, blocked stairwells, stood in circles chatting and talking shop while casting their eyes around the throng of college kids.

The young woman at the desk laughed a bit when I asked about the cops. It seemed nervous more than amused. She leaned forward, dropping her voice.

“The USGA is meeting and there’s an item they’re discussing that relates to Israel and Palestine,” she said.

USGA is the student government. Israel and Palestine, wooo. That’s a whole different thing.

I found out later the school’s student government had passed a measure the week before calling for the school to divest their investments in eight companies involved with Israel.

Hence the cops.

I don’t know what happened at the meeting. I asked the young woman at the desk for directions to the building where I was to meet a student. I teach at that university.

Two young women carrying three hula hoops each walked into the train stop.

It was cold and dark when the student and I finished our meeting. On the train back south, I sat by a hefty, bearded man with a top hat covered in pins and buttons. I recognized a Doctor Who TARDIS from one of the buttons, so assumed the other designs and logos were similar fancore nerdery.

A thin kerchief was wrapped around the top hat, pinned in place by the bits of fandom. It depicted a raven encircled by chains.

There were shots fired tonight in Rogers Park, people on Twitter are saying. A guy shot in the leg maybe? I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s true or not. People lie online all the time. People get shot in Chicago all the time too.

On a night when students rage and women carry hula hoops, on a night where men wear funny hats and others get shot (or not, I don’t know I don’t know), on a night when cops block stairwells while casting their eyes around endless students and endless MacBooks, on a spring night that feels like winter, on a night in a neighborhood in a city on a dot on a spinning, endless globe, I sit alone.

I sit alone and type what I saw.

Comment on this story

Another night of stories

What's this?

You are currently reading #299: On a Night by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.