I was asked to submit a short essay to a publication. They, quite reasonably, did not want my ode to four plus ones.


In the cafeteria of Chicago architecture, the four plus one eats lunch alone. The bungalow comes in wearing its letter jacket, and high-fives a greystone, and they would both at least say hi to a courtyard building in the hallway. But the four plus one watches all this from a back table, nervously looking down to check that its first-floor parking lot isn’t showing.

Can we invite the four plus one to lunch? Can we see that, sure, its brick facade is plain—and sure, its parking lot is always showing—but that it’s special all the same? That the awning above the lobby bends and breaks at angles no bungalow bay window would ever dare? That often as not the garage is screened by some pretty hip patterned concrete blocks? That it pleasingly encloses the street and makes an excellent backdrop for shade trees?

I love you, four plus one. One day everyone will see.