#432: This Side of Freezing

January 30th, 2015

It was one degree of freezing, the bulbs under the Walgreen’s sign organized to say.

31˚ F

The bulbs flashed off, then flashed back on, this time organized as the Tide logo and the amount of the laundry detergent sale.

It was night and it was black and it was one degree on the side of freezing as the bus continued its steadfast refusal to arrive.

It was Logan Square, the cusp of where craft beer bars meet late-night massage parlors.

A relatively new condo building sat above storefronts no one could rent or sell. Next to the Walgreen’s where hipsters bought beer and smokes, a Catholic Charities grocery story for women, infants and children in need.

Down each end of Armitage, signs glowed. Cheng’s Chopsticks to the east. Go Tavern and Liquors to the west. Cleaners, insurance agents, dentists for the old and settled. Bars, craft taverns, meeting spots for the hip and young.

It was a street corner balanced. The cusp between rich and poor, between gentry and gentrified, between pricey and priced-out.

But it was a street corner tipping in one direction. Slowly, inexorably listing one degree to the direction of fancy and prosperous, of hip and cool and too expensive for people who have lived there for decades.

It’s just a street corner on a winter night. One that’s dark and chilly and looking just to get colder.

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