As the van rolled forward and I scrolled through the song list on my iPod, a shadow fell over us. I glanced over at my classmates, then at my teachers in the front seat, and then finally spied outside of the window. My heart came to a screeching halt.
Five lanes of traffic on one side of the road. A train riding on its tracks overhead. And, in the distance through the fog, buildings upon buildings towering up into the sky, so high that the fog veils the tops. Skyscrapers. The first time I've ever seen them. Disbelief consumes me as I stare around at all of the people waiting at the train station between the lanes of traffic, and the cars around us, the way we loop up toward those enormous buildings that seem to tower toward Heaven.
Chicago. I hear a laugh behind me, and my friend states, "Well, here's Chicago, Kendra. Everything you thought it would be?"
No. No, it wasn't. I knew to expect the skyscrapers and the traffic, but...to be honest... I'm a little shocked at the condition of the place. The stories I'd heard about Chicago had me thinking we would pull in and see nothing but slums and the occasional big building, but to my pleasant surprise, this place was cleaned up really well... Beautiful, really.
This morning I walked into a store two towns away from me. At night, the employees are expected to sweep, vacuum, and mop the floor as well as clean the tables and services available to patrons. I was stunned to see that none of this had been done. I've seen the store in the morning when it has been cleaned, and now, I suppose I've seen it when it hasn't been cleaned.
It's a surprising, and not overly pleasant, experience. I felt sorry for the worker who had to be there that morning. They expected to walk in and have everything ready to go for the day, but instead they were walking around cleaning everything up.
It's strange how such little things can cause such a big change. My experience in Chicago was sweetened so much by the aspect of such an amazing city. The people weren't as rude as I had expected them to be, and altogether, it was amazing. Whereas in the store, the experience was a little bitter.
Basically, that's all I have to say about that. Isn't it weird?
What stories do you have where reality defied your expectations (and vice versa), for better or worse?