Finally got in to Chicago at 11:30 p.m. local time (that's 12:30 a.m. my time). The bus was noisy and cold and it seemed to take forever. There was a weird half hour stop at a turnpike plaza in Indiana.
Because I had been upset all day I hadn't eaten much, so I decided to get something to eat. I figured I would be too tired to hunt for food in Chicago. The only choice was McDonald's. I thought about the various salads, but I finally decided that I really only wanted fries. I got a small french fry and a small iced tea. I always had a ritual with McDonald's fries and it's funny, I haven't been there in years, but I instinctively did the same thing: emptied the fries into the paper bag, emptied half a packet of salt into the bag, closed the top, shook. The first few were pretty good, but I really didn't love them the way I remembered. I ate them slowly and after they get cold, they're really hard and don't taste very good. So I ended up throwing away the last few.
Watching out the window as I came into the city, I felt humbled by all the lights. There are so many people here, and so many lives, and all my problems and hopes and dreams aren't even a slice of the world, not even a crumb. Maybe a speck that falls off a crumb. What I like about traveling alone is the anonymity and friendliness of it all. It does help me to realize how much I really like people when I'm completely on my own in a strange place. The little interactions that I have with people, like the funny late-night desk clerk who joked with me while trying to get the computer to work, make me happy, and the perspective of being one unimportant person in a sea of others is kind of comforting after all.