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The hurried life of city cousins


November 19, 2012
Billie Shelton ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

And then there are the people in the city. When I recently spent a day in the heart of downtown Chicago, the throngs I saw looked to be a little different than those I see stopping at the afternoon coffee gathering at the store here in Hamilton County or going in and out of the local post office on a weekday morning in any of our little towns.

Mostly, our city cousins are in a hurry. They have somewhere to go and a specific time to be there, it appeared to me. So many of them were rushing to cross before the traffic light changed or to board the train before the door closed or to get into the lobby and out of the wind as soon as possible.

And I don't think that's necessarily much different than the way we behave; it's just that there are lots of them. Travel is easier here in the wide open spaces, I'm sure.

And there were groups of people in the city that you don't see in small-town Iowa. Take the workers we saw marching a picket line. I'm not sure what the company was, but I do recall that our guide told us that we were seeing the longest-running strike in the world. These poor folks had been on strike for eight years. I wonder what the issue is?

Along the way, farther along the trip there was a good-sized group of Chicago Asians carrying signs and banners, too, along with colorful silk flags as they crowded along the sidewalk at one building. The cause was something about freeing Thailand, I believe.

Then there were the people on the train commuting back home at the end of another workday. Everyone looked pretty weary and jaded, dressed in their business clothes. I don't see many of those suit types around here, either. Many had briefcases, I was surprised when one young professional opened his and took out a can of beer to enjoy during his Friday evening commute.

Well into our commute back to the suburbs, a young professional woman sat down in the empty seat next to our group of three. She didn't say hello, didn't make eye contact, and her body language made it clear that she wasn't open to anyone else. Even when one of our party tried to engage her in a little Iowa-type visiting, she was having none of it. Even when we said why we were there and where we were going, she didn't volunteer anything about herself at all.

Not exactly the Iowa approach to visiting with your neighbor, but we didn't have time to educate her how it should be done. I think it may be something you have or you don't.



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