Tag Archives: urban behavior

Passive agressive sign

As a copywriter, I personally enjoy the sarcasm of this sign. But, in the interest of effectiveness, I would recommend a more direct approach. Maybe we should take this to focus-group testing.

Apologies for the blurriness and crappy iPhone quality image. I was afraid of being attacked by sprinklers.

Apologies for the blurriness and crappy iPhone quality image. I was afraid of being attacked by sprinklers.

If for some crazy reason you can’t make out what this sign says, it reads:

Now appearing

“Patches of Brown”

Brought to you by the generous donation of

Dog Urine

PLEASE Walk your dog elsewhere. Thank you.

Taken at the corner of Chicago Ave. and Larabee


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Filed under city life, etiquette, Uncategorized, Weird

Incredible deals

I’m beginning to think that no one in my neighborhood has heard of Salvation Army. In case it’s a new concept to anyone reading, Salvation Army is a place where you take clothes or housewares when you don’t want or need them any more. It’s also the place you take your skinny pants when you realize you’ll never fit into them again.

Instead of dropping off clothes at the good ol’ Salvation Army, I’ve noticed that people often abandon them on the street or in alleys. True story. I saw these things happen within a 24-hour period.

Strolling across Damen and Division, I noticed bleach-stained flair pants and cut-off white jeans with a few of their other friends. If only there would have been a shirt on this bench, you could have had a complete outfit.

Strolling across Damen and Division, I noticed bleach-stained flair pants and cut-off white jeans with a few other friends. If only a shirt had been on this bench, you would have had a complete outfit.

The next morning, there was this treasure chest in the alley behind my apartment building. Shop for your choice of jeans and fall jackets!

The next morning, there was this treasure chest in the alley behind my apartment building. It looks like someone had already gone shopping by the time I arrived.

I’ve definitely also seen random t-shirts here and there, hanging out on the sidewalk. You’d be surprised. At any rate,  I don’t understand, if not Salvation Army, why not have a yard sale instead? Who couldn’t benefit from a few extra bucks?

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Filed under Chicago, city life, neighborhoods, Weird

Mannequin…more than a killer 80s movie

It seems that everyone is sporting 80s-inspired fashion these days. Especially the kids in my neighbors.

Even the mannequins are doing it. Yep, you read this correctly. I said mannequins.

These are two fashionable mannequins. Notice the bright colors and Max Hedstrom-style shades.

These are two quite fashionable mannequins. It's hard to make out, but notice the bright colors and Max Headstrom-style shades.

Pardon the glare. I was trying not to be creepy. I think I failed.

Pardon the glare. I was trying not to be creepy with my photo taking. I think I failed.

I’m no longer surprised by the oddities I see in my neighborhood. It really is a Bermuda Triangle of Weirdness. I was surprised, however, to learn that the movie Mannequin grossed $42 million in theaters. Who would have guessed?


Filed under fashion, neighborhoods, Ukrainian Village, Weird

High fives for a good samaritan

It seems too often that we hear about people acting like jerks.

I complain, you complain, friends complain, co-workers complain…about the annoying things people do, like failing to clean up dog poo, talking too loudly on the phone, using bad driving/biking/parking etiquette, littering, screaming drunken profanities down the street…the list continues.

I’m here to report that, despite what you hear, people out there do amazing things as well. I’m a believer, starting today.

I arrived home this evening to find a mysterious letter addressed to me inside the mailbox. It was from someone who also had the last name Davis at a Chicago address I didn’t recognize. Inside the envelope were tickets to the Blondie and Pat Benetar show at Ravinia I’d ordered a few weeks ago. Apparently, Ravinia inadvertantly sent my tickets to the wrong person who did the right, kind thing by mailing them to me (my address and name were printed with the tickets). She even included a handwritten note with her phone number.

A real note on Notes on Urban Behavior

A real note on Notes on Urban Behavior

I was immensely moved by this kind gesture. That Ms. Davis could have easily played the part of this Ms. Davis and three friends or forgotten to mail the tickets for months…cut to me yelling at Ravinia over the phone for not receiving my tickets…But she didn’t.

High fives for my good samaritan and all the others out there. I plan on calling mine tomorrow to say thank you. I don’t want to be a jerk.


Filed under Chicago, chicago transit, city life, etiquette, urban behavior

Tiny snapshots of people’s lives

Admit it. You’ve done it…briefly look into other people’s apartments. You do that too, right? Right?

Before you think I’m a huge perv, I want to clarify that I’m not a Peeping Tom. And I don’t study neighbors like I’m Jimmy Stewart in a scene from Rear Window.

I’m talking about those tiny moments, when walking down the street,  you catch a glimpse into someone’s apartment. You might notice a bold wall color, painting or other item that gives you a snapshot of someone’s personality or style. Or you may catch a flash of action that you wouldn’t be privy to otherwise. In these moments, you’re not meaning to be nosy, but it’s hard not to notice since it’s in plain view.

I attended a dinner party last night. The host lives across the street from one of the high-rise apartment buildings that trickle down Lake Shore Drive.

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

Standing on the balcony, which faces this building, a few other guests and I couldn’t help but notice a woman doing aerobics across the way. Directly to the right, a couple was eating dinner. As someone pointed these neighbors out, the host explained that he often reads on the balcony and has observed some strange behavior patterns as a result.  Some of which should never be seen by others.

We probably don’t have as much privacy in our apartments as we think. This is especially true for  my friend who recently bought a fantastic loft space that’s parallel with an El platform. She can see the commuters, so that probably means they can see her. My situation is not exactly the same, but I can see my neighbors across the street when their blinds are open, which means they can probably see us.

Um bye. I have to go and shut my blinds.


Filed under Chicago, neighborhoods, strangers, Uncategorized, urban behavior

Spitting games

I don’t ride the El that often anymore. I’m generally ok with that, especially after what I witnessed last night.

Heading toward the Loop to meet up with some friends, I took my seat on the Purple Line. I noticed a gentleman in front of me, and as I got comfortable, I observed the pleasant, clean scent he emanated. Passengers got on and off as the train made its way around the Loop. Watching carefully for the Washingon/Wells stop, I was interrupted from my iPod listening by a hacking sound. I look up and noticed that the man in front of me had spit on the floor. Really? Is that what we’re doing now? I was repulsed and regretted thinking that he smelled nice.

The culprit

The culprit. I was close to posting the spit picture, but I decided to spare you.

Luckily, I didn’t have to look at the puddle of spit for long because my stop came up. As I walked off the platform and down the stairs, I almost stepped in an unrelated puddle of spit. Gross. Just makes me wonder how often we step in others’ spit without noticing.



Filed under Chicago, CTA

Exposed skin sightings

The weather in Chicago in March is a big tease.

One day, it can be 65 and sunny, only to reach a high of 25 degrees the next day. I know this because it happened last week. I wore heels and a light jacket one day and was sporting winter boots and a coat the following.

Take note of the lack of boot or sock in the picture. Happy day of weather.

Take note of the lack of boot or sock. Happy day of weather.

It was 56 degrees today, according to my widget. Taking advantage of the warmer temperatures on a leisurely stroll, I saw something I hadn’t seen in Chicago in months—kneecaps.

I also witnessed the following:

  • One man wearing a tank top
  • Two people wearing shorts
  • One brave lady in a skirt, no tights or leggings
  • A dozen or so short-sleeve-shirt-wearers

Winters here are so bad that by the time March rolls around, Chicagoans will look for the first excuse to expose their bare skin. It’s funny. When the weather peaks above 50 degrees, that seems to be when clothing is shed. It’s the opposite of what happens in fall. The same temperature in September or October warrants the addition of layers and the adoption of jackets and scarves.

With warmer weather also comes a shift in behavior. People don’t look pissed off walking down the street. They walk at a more leisurely pace. You might even hear laughter.

I’m encouraged by this brave behavior. Spring (hopefully) is in the near future. Besides the wardrobe changes, I saw several previews of spring, shown below.

Ice cream headlined at local cafes.

Ice cream headlined at local cafes.

Outdoor seating debuted on Division St.

Outdoor seating debuted on Division St.

A crowd of people sans jackets, and sleeves in some cases. Some guy also thought I was checking him out since I was taking a photo. Oops.

A crowd of people who abandoned coats and sleeves. Some guy also thought I was checking him out since I was taking the photo. Oops.


Filed under Chicago, fashion, urban behavior, weather