Do you ever watch news coverage of extreme weather and wonder who the hell those people are walking by the lake in high winds or strolling down Michigan Avenue in a blizzard? I always ask that oft-raised rhetorical question: Who are those jackasses?
On Tuesday, “those jackasses” included me.
I didn’t mean to put myself in a situation where one of Chicago’s Finest would have to wave me away from the running path I was on. He asked if I had seen the yellow “Do Not Enter” tape at the entrance to the lakefront path. I actually hadn’t seen it because it had blown away. I am pretty sure he was asking himself why he ended up on the detail that would require him to deal with dumbasses like me.
As I retreated following my conversation with the officer in the bullet proof vest (which seemed a little excessive given the context), I realized there were only three of us regular citizens on the lake front path. That should have been a clue, but it wasn’t. I was so happy to finally be running and out on the lake. I had been checking on East Coast friends all day in the wake of Sandy. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that it would be dangerous here in Chicago.
I know it wasn’t my brightest idea to run on the lake path during high winds.
I certainly didn’t plan to get too close. But I did want to see. I wanted to see Nature’s sublime power from a close-but-still-safe distance.
It was just a run on the lake, not a motorcycle ride without a helmet or a sushi dinner from the gas station.
And while I hate disappointing authority figures like the frustrated officer who wanted me to go back where I came from, I am glad I saw the lake in all her power. I won’t soon forget the sound of the waves crashing against the wall and the spray of water over the path ahead of me. While it was nothing compared to the scene on the East Coast, it was a helpful visual for someone like me who sometimes gets confused about the amount of power she wields in the world. Next to the Lake, it was quite clear who was boss.
Not me. Certainly, not me.