Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chicago III

Okay, this is the last I'll write about the recent Chicago trip.

On July 17, Monday morning at the Ogilvie Transportation Center, I stood in line at Dunkin Donuts in the lower level with my bike at my side. I was next in line to order when a tall black man in a dark green suit jacket with badge and identification, came over and told me I have to leave with the bike. I told him I was taking it on the train. He said you either have to wait for it on the second floor or leave with your bike. I told him that's where I was headed and that if he let me buy my donuts I'd be on my way. Mind you, I spoke in a calm, relaxed tone, smiling. He said no, you have to leave.

So I left the line just as my turn came to order and walked the bike outside, locked it to the nearest post, and came back inside. My 150-foot journey outside and back -- both times -- was flanked by four uniformed personages. One, a middle-aged woman with a walkie talkie on her shoulder, the original tall, skinny black guy who confronted me in line, a frizzy-haired 70s throwback white guy, and, at the door the baddest of them all, Ving Rhames done up taller and fatter, giving me a death glare, all cue ball head and flared nostrils.

Damn Homeland Security, Orange Alerts, Al Qaeda, the attempted shoe bomber, Littleton, Oklahoma City, Unabomber, Waco nuttiness of the world everyone tries to shield themselves from. Police state bureaucratic rules make it a hassle to buy a donut. But I got to the train on time and left Ving and his cronies to keep the food court safe from donut-munching bicyclistas.

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