Friday, June 03, 2005

I Can't Wait for the Parade

Monday, I was simply puzzled. Tuesday, I began to suspect. Wednesday, it seemed almost certain. Thursday, I prayed it might not be so. By this morning, there was no denying it.

Although I somehow missed the mayoral proclamation, it's Freak Week in Greater Chicago.

Here's my own Freakspotting Diary.


The enormous number of hungover stragglers stumbling about the neighborhood after International Mr. Leather and Bear Pride made it hard to pick out the full-time resident freaks, but the sight of two 450-pound men lunching alfresco in leather harnesses that must rival the cables on the Brooklyn Bridge for tensile strength was more than sufficient.


The Chicago El (the elevated train I take to work) is always fertile territory for freaks, and the Tuesday morning commute offered a bumper crop. It's hard to single out any for special praise, but I must award points for creativity to the lady who took off her wooden platform shoe after boarding the train at Morse and had a conversation with it all the way to Howard Street.

In the evening, I was sitting in the laundry room of my building knitting while I waited for my wash cycles to finish. I was joined by a man wearing headphones. He put his clothes into the wash and then launched into what I can only describe as a full-blown "American Idol" audition, complete with hip-shaking choreography, an occasional pirouette, and Whitney Houston vocal stylings. He was using his bottle of "Snuggle" as a microphone.


As I was walking from the office to the train, I saw a man sitting at a table outside a restaurant jump up and start following a woman who was passing by. He started yelling, "Did you vote yet? Did you vote yet? Did you vote yet?" She screamed at him to leave her alone, and he immediately shut up and sat down as if nothing had happened. I should mention that no general elections of any kind are taking place in Evanston or Chicago at this time.


Between my morning and evening commutes, I saw no fewer than six people fall down on the train platforms or the sidewalks surrounding the stations. They didn't collapse, faint or trip, mind you. They just sort of sat down hard, suddenly. And then got up again. I assume this was a special Freaks Working in Concert performance piece. Bravi tutti.

At the gym in the afternoon, a complete stranger came up to me while I was walking on the treadmill, said to me, "You must be listening to Led Zeppelin," and walked away.


At Berwyn, a lady got into my train car and sat down near me. I was trying to finish up the latest teddy bear leg and so didn't pay much attention to her until she started having a very loud, angry cell phone conversation with her mother about the color of the curtains (green) her mother is putting up in the living room. This wouldn't have been at all freakish, except that when I looked up from my knitting to give her a "Could you please keep it down?" sort of glare, I saw she didn't actually have a phone.

I wonder if it's too late to book tickets out of town for tonight?


Sean said...

Fabulous freak week...! Thanks for the chuckle this morning.

Jon said...

Wow....those people are freakish. Since I've been holed up in my house this week, I haven't seen many. However, earlier in the week, when I came out of the house to go to rehearsal with my hair and moustache done, some lady was walking up the street, saw me, shook her head and crossed over to the other side to keep away from me! LOL

markknitz said...

wow, that's some fabulous freakspotting! you put the big apple to shame! my apartment is near three halfway houses for the mentally ill so i'm kind of immune to crazy. those are great stories. i love the cell phone lady. that's going to be ne if i don't get a vacation soon.

Anonymous said...

Came here via Joe, but I was a long-time Rogers Park resident, and I miss those people from the Howard El.

goblinbox said...

Oh my GOD, this post made me snort orange juice out my nose! You are SO FUNNY! {rofl}

Anonymous said...

Oh, goodness. You must (meaning 'should' and not 'probably do already', though you might!) read Mimi Smartypants. She's another funny blog person in Chicago, who watches freaks on the El as sort of a pre-work hobby.

See if you two spot the same freaks. =)

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