I just finished my very early morning interview with Rick Kogan on WGN.
I woke up at 5AM, sprung out of bed, sang to the dog, walked the dog while I sang to him, tried to keep my excitement in check as a said goodbye to my sleepy husband who had only come in from work a few hours before, and headed out the door - still dark out.
I took my quiet walk to the train and rode the el with other sleeping humans, most on their way to work, some coming home from the bars, the smell of liquor totally unmistakeable on their breaths.
I got off at Grand and marveled at the lack of people anywhere, my god, by 5:30 in the morning in India, everyone was up, even on a Sunday.
I walked to the Trib Tower and stopped off at the Starbucks off the Intercontinental Hotel, of course it's open, thank you Starbucks. I was 15 minutes early because that's how I roll and that's how I'm comfortable and I sat and took a few deep breaths, remembered that I'm doing this for the love of the city and remembered that nothing else really matters.
Walked into the lobby of the Tribune Tower, there are quotes all over, about Chicago, about the freedom of the press, the lobby is a cathedral and it's extraordinary.
I walked in, met the producer and travel correspondent who had been on my tour a few months ago, so happy, so friendly, so proud of their own work, it's contagious. I sat in the green room, calming my mind, listening to Kogan on the radio and smiled to myself. Yes, yes, yes, this is what I want my life to be like, yes, yes, yes.
I went on, always nervous that I won't have enough to say and remembering it's Kogan's job to make that easy for me. So friendly, shaking my hand, smiling at me, Rick freaking Kogan, been listening to him for years. The show went smoothly (I think I might have jumped the gun at the end, but it was enthusiastic, so...) and I thanked them, shook more hands, smiled, thanked them again and walked right out of the Tower.
I walked over the river, it's now a whopping 7:30 in the morning - and I looked out at the buildings across the river. So much had to happen for them to be there, so many plans, so many planners and builders and architects and people and money and I'm sure there were so many things in their way....and I marveled once again. I've seen these buildings all my life and they astound me everytime I take the time to look at them closely.
I smiled at the river I was married on, smiled at the river where I gave my first ever river tour, smiled at the hotel where my friend John works and the spot where Fort Dearborn was erected and I just smiled at this quiet, gray city, so strong, so accidental, so on purpose.
This city lifts my heart, it reassures me, it inspires me, it calms me, it excites me....
The greatest city in the world, no doubt about it.