Part of the Clockwork

My wife and I pile the kids into the car each morning at eight-thirty, then I walk to the train station to catch the eight-fifty. At night, I leave the office about 5:30 to catch the 6 o’clock. Same time in, same time out. Every day. It takes about an hour to and from, though the train ride itself is only about 15 minutes.

There are hundreds of other people on the train. I see 80 or so every day, sometimes twice a day, at my station. I’ve given them names, like Cheeseburger, Linux, and Smart Little Man. I have no idea what they do or where they route off to when they leave the station. Off they go.

On my walk to and from the office, there’s a security guard who works at the bank. He usually comes out for air around the same time I walk by. There are men unloading frozen goats, pigs, and ducks from trailers into the butcher shops. I walk by an audio equipment store which plays up-tempo jazz on outdoor speakers. That provides a nice interlude on my trek.

Author and marathon enthusiast Haruki Murakami wrote a book called “What I think about when I think about running”. The pages are filled with diary-style meanderings conjured up during his jogs. He doesn’t think about writing books when he runs, he says, rather whatever fills his mind. Sometimes it’s something, other times it’s nothing.

Rain or shine, I take my daily walks to and from. I wouldn’t trade them in for a BMW or a ride on the EL. There’s a rhythm in my commute which is a part of my day, my week, my life. My walks give me time to absorb the rhythm as it unfolds before me. It’s the little bit of clockwork in my day, the heads and tails of my life here in Chicago.