Friday, September 6, 2013

City of Big Shoulders & Heart



     It was time to get my hair c&c'd... so went into the city the other day.  Beautiful weather, and as always, Chicago was all a buzz with sights, sounds, and smells.  You can't help but get a kick out of it.  I left my camera at home but the photo of Sear's Tower, (what it'll always be to me) is mine from a while back. 
     I am a people watcher.  Cities are great for this because of the hustle and bustle and everyone assumes a certain level of anonymity.  I have enjoyed people watching ever since I can remember.  Although for a child, staring and considering what makes others tick, usually is not welcomed.  The snotty outburst of "What are you lookin' at?!" was a consequence I was all too familiar with.  As a little girl with big red hair, little round glasses, and shy, it took me quite awhile to muster up my retort, "Nothing much!" and even more time and gumption to say it with the proper air of haughtiness.

     Today, I'm older; would probably confess what I was lookin' at if questioned, but still enjoy the vicarious, tawdry past time, as much as ever.

So, without further ado, here's a sampling of what I witnessed.

     Not sure who is responsible or how many there are, I only saw one, but I noticed someone had brought Chia pets to a grander scale.  A red head... as in shape, that was roughly 6 ft. in diameter; with petunias and other flowers where there should be hair.  Quite a sight.  If you'd like to see, click Chicago Now, to see Peter V. Bella's great photos of this. 

     Performance artists of all types adorned many corners.  There's a man with an amazing soulful voice and a karaoke machine that was crooning out "Yesterday."  He more than did it justice.  There was a talented saxophonist playing "Misty" for me, on the corner of Randolph and Michigan.  Not sure if he was an alum but he was donning a Berkeley tee.  Don't know what it is about the sax, but it just seems to add that quintessential edge to the locale wherever you hear it.  A few steps south;  there was another performer.  What came to mind was that he was striving to impersonate the Powerpuff Girls' nemesis, Him.  He just sat on a speaker, then after receiving some car horn encouragement,  he flipped on some tunes and began the voguin' and the twerkin'.  
-Thank you Madonna and Miley.  If you can imagine- to paint the full picture, he had on even less than I've ever witnessed these two wearing in public.  And that's saying sumthin'. 
 
     On the sadder edge, I am always struck by the number of homeless.  There are those who just ask you point blank, if you have anything you can spare; and then there are those that have signs to explain their circumstances.  One that caught my eye, (although there were many) was a woman wearing a hijab whose sign read, "out of work mother of 2 young children".  Needless to say that resonated with me.  Years ago I worked with a person that claimed many of these people were actually well off, and had nice homes in the suburbs thanks to their collections.   Irritated the hell out of me, and I always stated that it seemed to me a hard way to earn a living, and if that was true I wouldn't begrudge them one dollar.  I doubt that claim today as much as I did then.  The claim that a person chooses to panhandle to earn a nice house in the burbs, makes about as much sense to me as the claim that a person chooses their sexual orientation akin to choosing their outfit for the day.  None.  For the homeless, I try to give when I can, even to one.  Seems to me, as a country we should be able to figure something out.  A sponsorship?  I don't know.  Just seems like this should be a priority for our leaders.

     Back on the happier side, there were several individuals volunteering for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for all.  Had a great chat with one of their volunteers, Trevor, who just added to the fun of the day.  I commend them for all of their time and efforts.  Just click on "Human Rights Campaign" above to learn more.

     Couldn't help but notice how many people still smoke.  I know, it's addictive.  Don't kid yourself.  If you haven't tried it, DON'T.  As my mom used to tell me, "it's dirty and filthy and hell to try to quit once you start.  So don't."  As her oncologist often told me, "Smoking adversely affects every cell in your body, no matter what organ, or vein, or whatever." 

     A big Thank You to Robert and Sanda at Maxine's.  Always great.

     Lastly, I stopped in at Mity Nice Grill in Water Tower Place, for a great burger and to say hi to Antoine.  
     In the 20 years that it's been, Mity Nice has seen a lot.  I worked there from 1993-2000.  Too many great memories, and people to count.  Among them, my husband.  Although it's changed in appearance through the years, the vibe is still the same.  It's a tucked away gem, that once you go, in all likelihood, you'll return.  As well as great food, they have a relaxed, friendly and personable feel that is rare to find in restaurants these days.  Not to mention life.  And the back wall of Mity Nice says it all, "Mean People Are Ugly."
   
Have a great weekend.
S.