Mid-January Observations

Many will remember  the week from January 18-24 as the week of  The Inauguration.  Big  Crowds, Big Event, Big History. Followed by the First Days In Office. Others will remember another week of dreary, bitter cold winter weather.

I did not get to see the events in Washington on Tuesday. Nor was I drawn to them. I am not much of a Big Events guy but I love the day-to day sightings of life.

This is what I noticed this past week.

Monday was Martin Luther King Day. For me it was a rare day in which I would work in our downtown office as opposed to the suburban hinterland that is my workhome most days.  For kids and many parents it was a day off.

The doors to the parking garage elevator were closing when I heard steps and at the last moment I determined to hold the door for them. That burst of  basic urban etiquette brought  a Monday morning treat. A man and his 5 year old daughter entered. She was a cute little girl with an angelic face and curly blond hair. The treat was being able to observe these two for the length of a 4 floor elevator ride. He was talking about how they needed to stop in his office and then he would take her to breakfast. She did not care about breakfast. She was looking  up at him with that adoring  gaze that girls of that age give to fathers. It is a gaze from a world in a vastly different dimension than the world of teenagers–boys at least. I hope the dad enjoyed the moment as much as I did.

On Tuesday, like millions I had an opportunity to observe a  a tall, strong, African American take charge. In my case this person was female and a board member of a relatively new client of mine. I had met this woman briefly one time but had no sense of her. She is highly intelligent,  thoughtful, purposeful and as ready to listen as to state her opinion. I was very impressed and look forward to working with her more.

On Friday morning I was at the Drury Inns in Chesterfield, Mo. I was leaving the lobby after partaking of the breakfast buffet. As the elevator doors opened– it was my week for elevator encounters– out walks this woman followed milliseconds later by her Great Dane. Rumor has it that the dog ate the man who came by to tell the woman of the motel’s no pets policy.

Friday night I saw the look on my son’s face as he entered his friend David’s house to find 20 friends and his parents yelling surprise. We were celebrating his 18th birthday. His  look of surprise rivaled mine the moment I realized that I have an 18 year old child.

Saturday morning was another single digit Chicago winter morning. Instead of my usual sleeping in I met a client for breakfast which led to three observations.

First, is the Drake Hotel where my client is staying. The Drake is one of those old elegant hotels from a long ago time that has managed to survive and thrive. It is known for the Cape Cod restaurant and the magnificent view of Oak Street Beach, one of the city’s finest. I love the old world style of this hotel and while I pass it frequently I had not been inside for years.

On my drive home on Lake Shore Drive I get to see much of Lincoln Park. What I noticed most on this early morning with a temperature of 5 degrees and a wind chill well below zero was the number of runners out on my favorite running path. There were the people running by themselves but I was more drawn to a group of 6 that were talking, even laughing as they ran. A group takes coordination and commitment and, in this weather, a touch of insanity. In my running days, about 15 years and more ago, I would run outside as long as the temps were 20+. I found anything colder to be too painful. And yet here these people were.

Lastly, I needed salt to melt the several inches thick ice on the steps leading to our front door. As I walked through Home Depot I realized that a very small percentage of people dress to go to the Drake and then find themselves hauling 50 pound bags of salt at the hardware store.

A big/little thing I did enjoy this week was hearing the phrase “President Obama”.

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What you read is what you get.

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