I saw a homeless man pull a machete out of his shopping cart on Thursday.
He was right on Western Avenue, talking to a man and a woman I recognized as either living in the building or working at the barbershop on the ground floor. I had seen them milling about before, that’s what I can say.
The machete had a metal blade the length of a forearm and a long blue handle. The couple didn’t flinch or move when he pulled the machete. The woman took a suck from a cigarette and put her free hand in her hoodie pocket when the man pulled the blade from the cart.
He wasn’t being violent with it or with them. He was just showing off his machete.
“Very detailed,” I could swear the woman said as the man re-secreted his weapon.
A few months ago, amid baubles and holiday cheer, I saw an attractive young woman carrying a Klingon bat’leth down Michigan Avenue. It’s a long fantasy weapon from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Remember the awkward-looking curvy thing the guy with the messed-up forehead would swing around on TNG? Bat’leth.
I didn’t stop her to ask. I had Christmas shopping to do.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post about every time I saw someone walking down the streets of Chicago with a freaky-big mystery weapon. I don’t have a third story for the trilogy and I already worried my poor mother enough with the first one.
I guess my observation wasn’t that they were blades — one for a man forced by economics onto the street to defend himself, the other presumably for fending off Romulans (they have no honor).
My observation is that the city was blase about the oddity.
They could have been blades, or a funny shirt. I could have written this story about every time I’ve seen someone running down the street skipping and singing. But the result would be the same. People would walk by, maybe give a look, maybe not and move on.
I don’t know if this makes me happy or sad, if it’s funny or just a bland annoyance. We live in a world of machetes and fantasy weapons hidden in plain sight.
We live in a world so delightfully weird it became commonplace, just a brief glance at the strange and dangerous while going about your day.