Thursday, May 7, 2009

On top of the world

The view from above is different from the ground.

True that the Sears Tower doesn't fit into the category of unusual travel, but who's perfect? When out-of-town guests wished to shoot up to the sky in an elevator how could they be denied? If only it was Willy Wonka's glass elevator. That would have been AWESOME.

In place of a beguiling Willy Wonka there were plenty of security guards and post 9/11 bureaucracy. Despite the fact that it was pretty crowded for 4pm on a Saturday we made it to the golden elevator in about thirty minutes. After the obliged touristy picture of all of us, later transformed to look as if we were floating atop Chicago and marked up to $22 for our consumption. But I digress.

We stuffed ourselves into the elevator along with the other guests pursuing the golden ticket and away we went. It was pretty uneventful, no wavering or shaking, just the sensation of getting higher and higher. A teenage girl in front me opened and closed her mouth to prevent her ears clogging and I did the same. We got to the 99th floor pretty damn quick.

Poof! We were on top of the Chicago world. Looking down, it felt pretty awe-striking to see the familiar places so small. The silver Star Trek appendages of the amphitheater in Millenium Park, the green wings atop the Harold Washington Library. It looked just like, well, Gotham. A strange and fascinating combination of the industrial and the Gothic. Of working class culture fused with lofty ambitions.

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