September 14, 2010

Rude Awakening

Sometime in the still-dark hours of this morning I was abruptly shaken from sleep by a massive BOOM followed by a ruckus of multiple car alarms going off simultaneously. "Jeeze!" I thought, "That lightning must've been right on top of us!" A few seconds later I found myself wondering why I hadn't seen a flash of light.

Mercifully, all the vehicle alarms were soon turned off (by neighbors undoubtedly wondering why they'd purchased them in the first place...who could be thrilled at the idea of having to get up at whatever ridiculous hour it was to shut off the durn car alarm after some stray lightning?) and quiet settled in over the neighborhood once more. I didn't hear any further rumbles (which in my half-asleep mind did seem just a little odd), and eventually got back to my dreaming.

I woke up again around 6:00 and was surprised when I looked out my window to see a completely clear soon-to-be blue sky. "Hmm...that must have been a really compact storm," I thought as I made breakfast and got myself ready for the day. After 15 minutes or so I heard some commotion outside. I ran to the window and saw a large street sweeper swishing away along the curb. "Oh crap! It's Tuesday and my car is on the wrong side of the road!" Residential streets in Evanston are cleaned on a weekly basis, each side scheduled for sweeping on a different day of the week, and tickets are issued to anyone who's parked in the way of the sweepers. I ran downstairs, out the door, and about a block north from my building to where my car was parked. I was lucky: just as I was getting into my car to move it, a guy across the street was getting into his on his way (I assumed from his attire) to the office...leaving a fresh space ripe for my taking. "Piece o' cake!" I thought as I walked back inside. I finished my toilette and left the house at 7:01 in time to catch the 7:10 Intercampus Shuttle to the University and start my usual routine of concentrated morning practice.

When I finished up, I decided to head home and take my car out for some overdue errand running. I still hadn't had time to find the local wells fargo and I needed to take care of some banking issues. When I got off the shuttle and walked along Main Street from Chicago to Sherman I noticed a parking enforcement officer standing in front of his vehicle which was parked so that it blocked the entrance to my street entirely. "Wow," I thought, "These people really take their street cleaning seriously!"

I turned the corner and heard a yell: "Excuse me! Hey! Hold on ma'am! Where do you think you're going?" I stopped, puzzled, and told him that I lived on this street and had to go and get my car. "Well I can't let you drive up this street right now." the man said, "Can't you see we've got it all blocked up? They're investigating a bomb. Did you hear it go off last night?" I felt my stomach start to churn...that blast last night had been a bomb? The man continued, "Man blew his head off over there at the school and they're lookin' for more bombs they think might be in the area. You might want to stick around just in case they get to interviewing witnesses." I was, of course, shocked...and a little scared. I eventually persuaded the man that I was just going to go get my car which was parked just a little ways up the street, turn right back around, and leave the area. I continued up the street and a second parking officer stopped and questioned me. I again explained that I was just going to get my car which was (fortunately for me) parked just in front of the main areas blocked by the police. She let me pass. I tried calling my mom at that point to see if she could look up any information about what was going on, but she didn't answer. I got in my car, turned around, and happily exited Sherman Ave. Just a block or so up Main I passed another area bustling with police and emergency personnel. "What...are there bombs all over the neighborhood?" I thought.

My mom eventually called me back and said she'd get online and see what she could find out. I won't bother trying to give you any more reporting on the incident. If you're interested, here's a link to a Chicago Sun-Times article or you can google "Evanston Bomb". Just as another reference though, the cordoned-off area I passed on my drive up Main was the building where the guy who died from the explosion had most likely lived.

I'm a little freaked out that this happened so close to me. Nichols Middle School is literally steps from my door. That headless body was still laying there in the park when I ran out to move my car for street cleaning...the guy with his dog had only just discovered it. Sheesh! I'm glad nothing worse occurred.

1 comment:

  1. WOW. What a day that must have been. I'm glad you're ok.