Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Notre Dame de l'Expressway

You may have seen this on BoingBoing. (More coverage at the Chicago Tribune's site, along with a photo which shows the head-scratching image in all its glory--registration required to view some content.) That's right, the Virgin Mary (or a blob with a passing resemblance thereto) has manifested herself beneath the Kennedy Expressway, about six blocks from my house. I saw a brief mention of it on the news yesterday afternoon, but it was the tail end of the report and I didn't see what location they were actually talking about. So last night around 8 I head out on my way to O'Hare to pick up Marianne, and I run smack into VirginFest05: Conclave This!

It took me about ten minutes to move four blocks. There was actually more foot traffic than there were cars, since the cops have put up barricades to prevent people from parking there. Under normal circumstances the area is an accident investigation site, but they haven't been able to use it for that, obviously. They're hardly able to use it at all; this morning I went to the Y, and on the way back I ended up having to detour pretty widely around the area, since the traffic snarl had extended back another four blocks. I didn't get close enough today to see if the cops and the city vans and the news trucks are all still there.

This is a nutty Catholic thing, and I can say that because I'm lapsed. I mean, the grilled cheese Madonna was a better likeness. Not that I necessarily think that everyone who's walking over there to check it out is a fervent believer; I'd imagine that plenty of them are just trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. Me, I'm just sort of flummoxed. Does this really constitute a miracle? Is the lameness of this "manifestation" a symptom of the barreness of our modern spiritual and imaginative lives? And did Ms. Delgado pass her culinary school final?

I may just have to walk over there today.


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