A hangover and a nice, steady snowfall kept me busy yesterday. Please accept this re-post from 2010.
The escalators just inside The City Center weren’t running this morning.
I don’t need them, of course, having been walking on my own since the tender age of 11 months, but the sight of the non-escalating escalators gave me pause.
Since childhood, deserted streets have been my friends. Do I see zombies? I do not. I see freedom. This may shock you, but I’ve got a pretty sturdy little imagination on me and it absolutely loves scenarios like this…
I pause to survey the scene.
It is 6:45 a.m. and that whole end-of-the-world thing that we've been hearing so much about has finally happened.
I am, of course, on time for work.
I move in my usual direction, like a cow leaving the milk barn and heading to pasture, in search of coffee. Nine years I’ve been doing this. Something’s not right, and it’s not just the non-escalating stairs.
It is then that I realize that there’s no line at the Starbucks.
Dizzy with pleasure, I walk in like I own the joint. “’Mornin’, Joe,” I say to the coffee dispenser. I help myself to a cup, jauntily throwing a quarter in the tip jar. “There ya go,” I mutter. “Although I’m still unclear as to why I tip you...”
Lawlessly, I cram my pockets full of Splenda packets.
I take a seat, prop my feet up on the table in front of me. I am making lazy plans to head out to a Winnebago dealership and drive one south when it occurs to me that the escalator has started up...
I shake my head, the daydream ruined, and my eyes focus on the moving stairs. In reality, I have not gotten my coffee yet, and there is a man in a blue workman’s style uniform in front of me.
“Mornin’,” Pete says. You can tell it’s Pete because that’s what his shirt says.
“Got the steps moving again, I see,” I say.
He nods, almost bashfully. I smile at him to show him I mean no harm and proceed toward the Starbucks.
And I feel cheated when I see that there’s a line.