037 Good Things

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

When you take the Milwaukee North line in to Chicago, a few stops before Union station, look out the right hand windows. There’s a series of low brick buildings– one-story warehouses or garages, maybe; storage of some sort perhaps– with no windows facing the tracks. They are coated with layer upon layer of spray paint and tagging, all of it relatively recent. One building is covered in this manner, save for a broad swath in the center of the building that is paint free save for one sentence. It’s painted in spidery letters, in chalk white spray paint.

Good things are coming.

That’s what it says, “Good things are coming,” floating in an island of bare brick, flanked on either side by brightly colored elaborate names and nicknames and symbols and arrows.

Most passengers don’t notice the graffiti, the buildings. They are occupied with newspapers, magazines, books, electronic devices. They nap or stare unseeing out the windows, lost in their worlds and imaginings. But those who do look, who do see, do not feel reassured. This is not a good and kind message like “You are beautiful,” or “you are loved,” or “better the day” or the other positive signs that have been popping up spray painted around the city in the past few years. No, this one sends a creeping chill down the back of those who see it.

What’s sauce for the goose is not always sauce for the gander, and what some people consider “good” others consider unimaginably harrowing.

Comments are closed.