Category Archives: Weird

Concrete city within a city

To me, the hustle and bustle and anonymity of city living is strangely liberating.

That’s why it seems odd that there would be a high-rise prison in the middle of downtown.

A few years ago when my friends and I were pouring our entry-level paychecks into crappy Lakeview apartments, one co-worker was a baller living in Printer’s Row. We had no idea how he afforded such a nice, conveniently located apartment. One that happened to be located next to a city prison. Sometimes, if you timed it right, you caught a glimpse of the prisoners.

What I find fascinating about this correctional facility is that, at first glance, you might think it’s an older condo building. Except the views through the tiny windows probably aren’t as spectacular. And the residents aren’t exactly leaving for work every day.

I forgot about the prison until we passed it this weekend.

Did you know it existed?

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Filed under Chicago, city life, random, Weird

Scenes from the CTA: Awkward convos and questions

I have a borrowed theory that everyone on public transportation is either miserable or acting like they’re miserable. I also have a theory that everyone is awkward, or at the very least, acts awkwardly. Point in case: last week on the train. I rarely take the train, but boy I am glad I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have overheard these gems.

Three best things overheard on the CTA last week

1. Business lingo

Scene: Brown Line, between Chicago and Sedgwick

Cast: Two (presumably) Lincoln Park girls

Dialogue: “I tried to google to find out the difference between a CEO and a COO. And I’m still confused!

2. Shirtless in Chicago

Scene: Red Line, around the Granville stop

Cast: Conductor to a particular passenger on a moderately full train

Dialogue: “Sir, I’m going to need you to put your shirt on.”

3. City talks

Scene: Red Line, around Lawrence

Cast: Three fashionable young guys in their mid-20s

Dialogue:

Dude #1: “There’s a great view of the Chicago skyline there.”

Dude#2: “What’s a skyline?”

(Blackout)

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Filed under Chicago, city life, CTA, Weird

Would you ride with Ferrari Guy?

Imagine this:

It’s your birthday. Someone you love (or want to love) has just spent their hard-earned cash for you to ride with Ferrari Guy. $300 for that ride, to be exact (or $150 for 20 minutes).

On that ride, you get chauffeured around the city by Sammy Hagar look-alike, Tony Tag, the self-proclaimed “Most photographed man in the country. Next to the president!!”

Apparently, Ferrari Guy is a legend in Chicago, but I had never heard of him until recently. Sort of like New York’s Naked Cowboy. But with clothes. And a Ferrari. I know nothing about cars, but apparently the Ferrari has a 3.8-liter engine with 495 HP and there’s gold rims to boot. That’s impressive, no?

You + Ferrari Guy = Bad ass time?

Would you ride with Ferrari Guy?

Ever spotted Ferrari Guy?

(pic via ferrariguyforhire.com)

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Filed under Chicago, city life, Weird

Yum.

Tastes better than a heaping plate of bacon, eggs and toast. No?

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Filed under Chicago, neighborhoods, Weird

Scenes from the CTA: Friends with problems

(Setting: Eastbound 66 Chicago bus, early morning, sitting between young men, late 20s to early 30s who have already been engaged in conversation)

Man 1: “That’s when I was locked up in Kane County.”

Man 2: “Haha. Where’s Kane County?”

Man 1: “Not too far from Chicago.”

Man 2: “Did you hear about Ray? Just got locked up for possession.

Man 1: “Aww, man, no way.”

Man 2: “Yeah he got 12-15 for possession. 125 bricks. Now, he’s trying to get an appeal. His lawyers are working on it.”

(Conversation continues. Topics include jobs and sons getting cell phones for making the honor roll)

Flash forward nine hours

(Setting: Westbound 66 Chicago bus. While standing and chatting with a co-worker, a young man is speaking VERY loudly to a twentysomething woman about his OCD)

Dude: “It’s not really about math. It’s something inside my head. An anxious feeling that makes me turn the light switch on and off a certain amount of times.”

Lady: “Oh wow.”

Dude: “I used to wash my hands until they were raw. And sometimes I’d clean my fingernails until they bled. It’s just something inside my head that I can’t explain.”

Lady: “Yeah a friend of mine’s friend has OCD and can’t be around anyone who’s ever touched a hooker or stripper. It makes him feel dirty.”

(Scene)

I’ve been caught off guard quite frequently lately by the oversharing of CTA passengers. There’s also the guy who was talking extremely loud into his cell phone about being fired from a security job that he never should have had in the first place because he had two felonies. And the man from the Ukraine who wanted my opinion on whether it’s better to be a doctor or a lawyer (he was studying to be lawyer). I’m not sure why, but I’m amazed by the nonchalant ease with which people talk about being locked up or having friends who are afraid of people who have touched hookers and strippers. These are things you don’t expect hear on your way to work or home.

It can be sad too when people overshare. I genuinely felt bad for the man who was talking about his OCD. I think he needed a friend.

Met any interesting characters on the CTA lately?

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Filed under Chicago, CTA, strangers, Weird

Junk unwanted

Can you guess where I am?

Not a junkyard.

Not the porch of a frat house.

It’s the alley behind my apartment building.

That’s right, I can’t get a blue recycling bin there, but I can get a toilet and a couch. That’s practically a furnished apartment, if you round it.

It must be the height of plumbing season in my neighborhood. This is the second toilet spotted outside of a bathroom recently.

Barely twelve hours later, I spotted the remains of someone’s office rage on the sidewalk:

Someone, somewhere is still waiting on a fax.

Yeahhhh, I'm still gonna need those TPS reports.

Needless to say, reminiscent of:

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Filed under frustrations, neighborhoods, Ukrainian Village, Weird

Gotta go?

The very moment that Joe and I were stepping into a cab to leave for our trip to Barcelona, I spotted this gem on my corner.

Pure class.

Luckily, it was removed by the time we returned. I’m not a fan of Port-o-pots in general. Or outside my front door.

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Filed under Chicago, neighborhoods, Ukrainian Village, Weird