Finally, Chicago: Getting out of downtown

Reading off the back cover, the older gentleman at the University of Chicago Bookstore said I just had to get this book.

The book was Omarosa Manigault Newman’s “Unhinged.”

I don’t have an issue with the guy’s politics, but I have no desire to read that book.


Meanwhile, my wife found it hilarious that former President Barack Obama’s “Dreams From My Father” had the little sticker signifying that the author was a former student or professor at the school.

As if that was what the book needed to sell.

My new friend then wondered where Bob Woodward’s “Fear” was, although he couldn’t remember if if was Woodward or Carl Bernstein who wrote it.

I had seen it when we came in, so I pointed him to the front of the store.


It was about a 20-minute train ride from downtown Chicago to the Hyde Park section of town and the university, and the thing my wife and I both noticed immediately was how quiet everything was.

Even when you live in a quiet place like we do — they basically roll up the streets at 7 p.m. — it doesn’t take long to get used to the low hum of the city: the cars, the people, things running and moving and doing the kind of stuff that your hotel give you earplugs for. (As I write this, a whole bunch of horns are blaring outside the hotel, and we’re on the 11th floor.)

img_3581So you notice when it’s quiet. About the only noise was the gleeful yelling of children from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools headed to the playground.

And then once we cleared the playground, it got quiet again. Even on the campus itself, everyone was walking around very seriously, and very quietly.


Seen written on the divider at Medici, where we had lunch today: “f-ck capitalism.”

Also, in the same white, cursive handwriting and lack of capitalization: “also you’re great.”

Clearly, this person did not have a lot of exposure to Milton Friedman’s ideas over at the university, or did and thought they were hooey.


You don’t see a lot of used bookstores like the Powell’s we went to today. We used to see them in just about every decent-size town we went to, but I’m guessing that between eBay, Amazon and however else people sell stuff online, it’s easier than taking books to the used bookstore.

And you definitely don’t see a lot of bookstores with sections on, among other things, Marxism. It wasn’t just a few books, either, but basically floor to ceiling.

After we walked around the store — my wife bought three books — assuming people have been bringing their books to Powell’s (as opposed to the owners acquiring them elsewhere and then selling them), folks around Hyde Park have some very eclectic reading tastes.


When we stopped by the water to take a break yesterday, it looked and felt like Florida.

Today when we stopped, it felt like Cape Cod in September, if just a little warmer.

The skies were darker, the sand a little more well-trod, with the wind stirring up the waves on Lake Michigan.

From my days of living on Cape Cod, I can tell you many residents think the fall, especially September is the best time of the year.

The weather’s still good. The beaches are still enjoyable.

The summer residents have gone home and there aren’t nearly as many tourists.

It felt a little like that today, minus the salt in the air.

2 thoughts on “Finally, Chicago: Getting out of downtown

  1. Pingback: Finally, Chicago: Worth the wait – A Silly Place

  2. Pingback: So this is Madison: Old, new and memory – A Silly Place

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