/* */ vita graphein/-: Threat level: High

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Threat level: High

Last week's London bombings have been a shocker and more so, the magnitude has been horrific. I was actually getting ready to leave for office and was just watching the news and this came right into my face. To think, I was going to take the mass transit system too, just as I had been doing so for the last few weeks. I mean, I never have felt threatened or scared all my life and not that I do so now, but somehow, certain things are just not the same. Its ironic, that people carry on as though nothing happened at all and to see Londoners do the same within a few hours of the incident was surely great to watch. Moblogs seem to have got some stunning pictures and I am sure most of you must have seen them too. First hand pictures and info through other weblogs recreate the incidents as though they happened right before you.

The Department of Homeland Security has increased the Threat level for mass transit system here in the United States from elevated to high and this is very visible. I see more and more uniformed officers and cops in stations and during rush hour when the trains and the stations are swelling with people, their presence is really felt and needed, I wonder. Its very surreal, that I have never thought of anything on my way to work or school apart from getting there on time, and maybe how to handle the day. Now, its a little different...

Moving on, I had been to the Hindu temple of Greater Chicago, as I had to meet someone I knew and had left early in the morning. (well, my early is like 8-9 AM!) We (me and roomie) had rented a car on Friday evening from O'Hare International airport and man it surely is a stunner of a place. Massive and huge to say the least and to see as usual, planes taking off and landing within seconds of each other is so awesome. In fact earlier that day from the office I actually saw 2 planes taking off and 1 landing within like 4 seconds of each other. I can see 3 of the 6 runways O'Hare has, and there is construction on for 2 more. While we were waiting to pick up the car at the airport, every second car happened to be a limousine! Stunning sights. I still can't help being fascinated by the cars here. The Impalas, the Jaguars, the Ford Mustangs, the Subarus, the Nissans, the Cadillacs, the Volkswagens...the list goes on. Everyday, when I am not sleeping (which, by the way, now happens to be my most favorite pastime on the train..err...the crosswords which I thought I had started all over again, can wait!) on the train (to work), I am looking out to catch views of every car, hoping someday I will own one of them, maybe something better than any that has comeout so far (long shot, heh?!). Ferraris are kinda rare, but I did see a few in Chicago, 1 even parked right in front of our house. Cars, cars and cars...all of the most sophisticated and stylish variety..

Speaking of the car, we rented a Ford Taurus and was a nice car, just over 2 years old. In fact, I wanted to try my hand at driving and was doing so in the parking lot of the temple, and I almost whacked a parked car. I mean, I was trying to back up, and just for a second (which was more than enough!) mixed up the accelerator and the brake pedals and was ripping in reverse! Well, I did the needful, but only just.. In fact since I only have a learner's permit yet, rules forbid me to drive a rental car (no prob if you own it), so if I had hit, we were in more shit than we could imagine. After that episode, we drove to Dekalb, as I had to pick up some stuff and then got home sometime back.

I also seem to be putting on a little flab (sic) and more so in a country which is obsessed with (body) shape and health. I need to get back to my (physical) self too and my work which has got a little more sedentary is not helping much. I have to start working out more and be presentable when I am back home, which btw I am planning for December. In just about a month, I would have been here for a year, and I can't comprehend it as of yet, time sure has flown. Well, to think of it, I have been here (on earth) for the last 22 years..man, that sure is a long time (heh)

To round it off, the July 4 weekend was nice, except that everyone termed it as a long weekend (since we had 3 days off instead of the normal 2), and to me it seemed the shortest one so far. I guess the number of days you have off is inversely proportional to the time it takes to get through them. On July 3rd, me and my roomie, went to play (beach) volleyball on the lakefront and sure was good fun. The crowd was amazing! (nothing more). In the evening I wanted to watch the fireworks, but got to see them (unfortunately), not on the Independence eve, which is supposed to be one of the finest in the nation, as I could not get there due to overcrowding. You may not believe it, but there were a little over a million people (!!) who had come to watch the fireworks at Navy Pier (where I was going to go too) on July 3rd evening. Well, after waiting for the bus for over an hour (never have done this back home also), I came back. I did go the next day which was a great display of fireworks as well, but a drizzly weather though. In all, a good weekend though short as can be.