#859: Two Women

December 6th, 2017 § permalink

Last night, I met a woman.

She was short, with either vintage style or a winter coat and hat — at a certain temperature, the indicators of “retro” and “just very warm” start to blur. But on a chill, dark train platform at Belmont, frantic rivulets of bleached orange hair crept at odd angles from under a jaunty cap.

And she held before her a cluster of dowel rods. » Read the rest of this entry «

#855: Glass and Rust

November 27th, 2017 § permalink

Dawn is odd to colorblind eyes. It’s a mixture of orange and green, a color pairing that makes perfect sense to my particular visual defects but earns blinks and confusion when described.

It’s OK. My version of reality is prettier than yours. Even when seen from a 6 a.m. train rumbling toward a city of glass. » Read the rest of this entry «

#853: Scream

November 22nd, 2017 § permalink

I hate the smart ones the most.

Hate is the wrong word. I don’t hate them. I hate that they exist, that there are crazy screaming men out there savvy enough to include notes about the Federal Reserve Bank and on the Bears’ handling of Jay Cutler in their hobo screed. I hate that I can’t reach them. I hate that there’s nothing I can do.

He started so good too. » Read the rest of this entry «

#847: Making It

November 8th, 2017 § permalink

He didn’t talk for as long as he could.

You could tell he wanted to. You could tell he had comments to add, things to say in our conversation that he was not a part of. He’d chuckle silently at a joke one of us made, his body quivering a little behind the wheel. Or he’d nod along at a point as he flicked on the turn signal or merged into traffic.

But he held out from the moment he picked us up at the 26th and California courthouse in Little Village up until the pre-rush hour glut by the Ogilvie train station when he just couldn’t take it any more. » Read the rest of this entry «

#822: 7 Lies I Intend to Tell at Tonight’s High School Reunion

July 28th, 2017 § permalink

As mentioned earlier this week, I will be attending my 20th high school reunion this evening.

In advance of what is sure to be a night of memories, revelry and conversations about which teachers were gay, I have prepared seven lies to tell my former classmates.

These lies are not intended to impress the Class of ’97 — what a sad slog that would be, to care about a virtual stranger’s judgment of your life because you sat near each other in fifth-period Econ — but rather for the sheer love of lying to people I kinda sorta know.

Let us begin. » Read the rest of this entry «

#821: The Man in Gray

July 26th, 2017 § permalink

He stepped out of the black SUV by the train station, and I was pretty sure.

His back was to me, though, so I couldn’t be certain. The small man in the gray suit and the two large men in black were consulting over an iPad, so I couldn’t catch a face. The man in gray and one of the men in black broke off to enter the station, leaving the other bodyguard, the SUV and me behind.

I was a step behind the man through the turnstile — I got through, the sensor didn’t beep his Ventra so he did that embarrassing thing where you clonk into the bar. The momentary clonk let me catch up enough to see his face. » Read the rest of this entry «

#810: Guilt Trip

June 30th, 2017 § permalink

I’m on a train now, heading south.

I’m scribbling into a little red notebook to transcribe later at work hoping the boss doesn’t notice. My destination isn’t far into the South Side. 1600 South, a toe past Roosevelt, on a section of Michigan that’s nice and built up but on a mile no one would call magnificent.

It’s for work, but this trip is my biggest dip into an entire half of the city in months. This four-blocks-past-Roosevelt jaunt is another reminder in my constant humiliation: My Chicago blog sucks at covering the South Side. » Read the rest of this entry «

#797: Just Keep Walking

May 31st, 2017 § permalink

I wanted to say this to the woman crying on the train, I really did.

I wanted to say something akin to “Don’t worry, kid. It’s OK.”

But is that trying to be a white knight in a situation where I should just let a young woman be? Is that not trusting her with her own emotional imperative? Is that kindness or sexism? I wouldn’t tell a woman walking down the street to smile. Why should I tell a woman on her morning commute it’s OK to cry?

These were my thoughts. I’m not using this as a way to mock feminism or modern gender views I’ve learned from Twitter. I just wanted to know if being kind would hurt the crying woman. » Read the rest of this entry «

#768: Rules for Not Being a Jackass Tourist (and Why Ferris Bueller is Crap)

March 24th, 2017 § permalink

The days are longer. Atypical languages like Italian are heard on trains. Selfie sticks are extended at an exacerbated rate on downtown bridges and the City Winery location on the Riverwalk has clear, plastic geodesic domes for rent so people can sip wine at sunset without freezing their jacquard knit popovers off.

The tourists are coming. » Read the rest of this entry «

#767: On Rooftops

March 22nd, 2017 § permalink

I wonder if I would think about rooftops so much if I didn’t live in Chicago. » Read the rest of this entry «

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Transit category at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

  • Get Stories by Email

  • Chicago Corruption Walking Tour

    Join the email list for tour dates and info.