I was waiting for my sister in front of the Presidential Towers when a panhandler approached me and asked me for my spare change. To dissuade him I said I didn’t even have bus fare back to Roscoe Village. (I had enough for a cab to Cicero). He gave me a quick lookover and walked away with a slight shake of his head. Two cigarettes later the same man rolled back up on me with his hand out. There was a buck and a half in coin. He said, “Here’s bus fare,
–Bruce A. Miller
* * *
A man trudged by the bus stop at State and Washington carrying a ragged bag; his shoulders were stooped and his feet stumbled. Clearly, he was exhausted. He sat down on one of the rock monuments honoring Chicago women that Sculpture Chicago has placed around the Loop. If you haven’t seen them, these are low limestone boulders with bronze plaques naming 100 women from various communities.
As the man sat down I grinned. I love that the rocks have become a part of the life of the city. I love that the symbols of these women who are in fact our rocks and our support can themselves bring us comfort. Besides, the crowded sidewalks of State Street offered him nowhere else. At the same time, there are so few monuments of any kind to women in Chicago, and I wanted these treated with respect. I was still waiting for the bus fifteen minutes later when the man stood up, shouldered his bag, and carefully wiped the bronze plaque with the tail of his jacket before he moved on.