In the parking slot next to Levi’s Wagoneer, I am sitting listening to music in my BMW. I no longer have any taste in music, did I tell you that? My interest in cool bands faded once I met your dad. Instead of exerting control over what tunes were on in any space I entered, I started to accept everything unconditionally. Today I’m listening to WOJO, a Spanish language station that plays Mexico’s top forty. It’s brassy and pleasant, and makes me think of vacations and sunburn and fresh fish, if I were noticing the music at all, which I’m really not.
There are only nine FM stations still on the air in Chicago.
I’m writing about what’s happening inside my car, because nothing much is happening outside. I’m at Levi’s campaign headquarters, but he has yet to emerge.
I peer into the other cars coming into the parking lot. I observe that most people sit in the driver’s seats for a while before getting out. They shuffle things around with their belongings or check their phones or write notes. One man reclined his front seat as far as it would go and either meditated briefly or took a nap.
I never realized there was such a predictable pocket of aimless time in the lives of so many. If I were a sociologist, I might ask for a grant to study this particular interval between the moment the car is turned off and when the driver steps out. Back in the days when our economy was robust and the population not decimated, efficiency experts and self-help gurus should have suggested activities to fill up that particular spot of precious nothingness with something useful, moral, or educational.
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.