Ashok got me up at about 6 AM our time -5 AM Chicago time- insistent to go walk. We made our way down from our high-rise perch into the weird early daylight in Chicago. We went to bed in daylight and got up in daylight. Does darkness fall in Chicago in the summer?
A dog is always a hit in the city. Kids stare until their parents ask for permission to pet her. Adults stop to tell you about their dogs or dogs from years past. Chicago is one of those places where it’s more fun to have a dog than to be dog-free. That does not include the part about taking an elevator down and walking 1/2 mile to find a grassy spot.
Last night the Riverwalk was hopping. Bars and restaurants along with boating concessions line the sidewalk. Bands play loud music, drunken laughter fills the air, and throngs of city folk fill the sidewalk looking for a breath of fresh air. This morning we were alone except for the night workers cleaning up the mess and security personnel. And, of course, 5 AM is a perfect time to mingle with those who have been out all night.
When I lived in Memphis and was training for a marathon, my training route took me down Beale Street just after daylight. Partygoers would turn and drunkenly scream encouragement and amazement that my dog and I were out running. It was always a pleasant and ironic exchange. I am an early bird, and they are night owls. It’s at this time of day that we mix.
This morning two beautiful young women and a handsome young man accosted us at the corner. “I miss my dog,” he screamed. “Can I pet her?” We stood around and chatted on the corner while they swapped off hugging and petting a somewhat bewildered dog. The guy showed me videos of his dogs while the redhead confessed she had cats. They kept apologizing in slurred speech for their exuberant reaction to my dog. It was cute. It made smile. I was happy for the morning mixer. And I can’t even imagine walking on those girls’ stilettos especially when inebriated.
I love these morning mixers. It’s an unusual and happy time of day when travelers catching flights, all night partiers, homeless folk, night workers and police mingle and cross paths. While the rest of the world is snuggled under their sheets, we get to kiss if only for one sweet fleeting moment.