Going Loopy

We’ve had a wonderful couple of days in Chicago – being given lots of insider tips and knowledge from Bonnie, which is a real bonus of staying with local people through the Warm Showers scheme. There was one real tourist thing I wanted to do: the downtown area of Chicago is encircled with an elevated railway line called the Loop (or L). The first part of the elevated railway was built in 1892 to help alleviate the increasingly congested streets. However, the real reason I wanted to have a trip on the Loop was because it features in the 1995 romantic comedy movie: ‘While You Were Sleeping’ staring Sandra Bullock! In the movie she works as Lucy an El station ticket collector. Lucy Moderatz (Sandra Bullock) is a lonely token collector on the Chicago Transit Authority who has a secret crush on a handsome commuter named Peter Callaghan, whose name Lucy does not know. On Christmas day, she rescues him from an oncoming train after a mugger pushes him onto the tracks (Randolph/Wabash Station was used in the film). He falls into a coma, and she accompanies him to the hospital, where a nurse overhears her musing aloud, “I was going to marry him.” Misinterpreting her, the nurse tells his family that she is his fiancée. At first she is too caught up in the panic to explain the truth. She winds up keeping the secret for a number of reasons: she is embarrassed, Elsie (Peter’s grandmother) has a heart condition, and she quickly comes to love being a part of Peter’s big and loving family. One night, thinking she is alone while visiting Peter, she confesses about her predicament. Saul (Peter’s godfather) overhears the truth and later confronts her, but tells her he will keep her secret, because the accident has brought the family closer.

Funny how a film about a women desperation for a man, (after all we know that all women need a good man – not!), who is in fact a stalker and compulsive liar can turn out to be such a warm-hearted rom-com. Anyway film or not, the views of downtown Chicago from the Loop are worth the ride – just be careful not to fall on the tracks in case Sandra Bullock is lurking!

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