Some of the things I see in Chicago surprise even me.
Yesterday I drove to work. Normally I don't drive because parking costs are exorbitant downtown, but my foot has been kind of achy, it's hotter than hell here, and I didn't feel like walking the three blocks to the el. So, I drove. As I was driving east on Division in the right lane, heading toward Wells Street, where I planned to make a right to get to the Loop, I encountered a man in a motorized chair driving in the right lane, in the street, going around five miles per hour. I support the handicapped and all that, but I couldn't help but wonder why he wasn't on the sidewalk. The cars in front of me passed by him, but as it happened I didn't have time to pass before hitting the intersection. At the intersection, there were police. They had blocked off Division Street eastbound just past Wells Street. (So, no one could go straight on Division -- you had to go either right or left.) This was a result of the "suspicious package" that ended up containing a dead opossum that was left outside the Planned Parenthood at LaSalle and Division. As luck would have it, I encountered this bullshit right after it happened.
Back to the man in the motorized chair. As I mentioned, the police had the eastbound direction of Division blocked off. They were even blocking off the sidewalk on that block, so no cars or pedestrians could go that way. Now picture this: the eastbound light turned red, motorized chair guy is in front of me in the right lane. I just want to turn right. Both of us -- since there is a red light -- should remain where we are until the light turns green. But motorized chair guy has other ideas. Despite the red light, he starts easing out onto Wells Street. He's basically in the right lane of Wells Street, but he is pointing east, as if he is going to cross Division. (Does this make sense?) Meanwhile, cars are trying to go south on Wells. But he's in the street. He starts waving them to keep going, as if he's the guy in charge of the situation or a traffic cop, rather than a person on a motorized wheelchair who is practically in the middle of the street, and blocking the entire intersection. The police officer who was attempting to manage the situation and direct the traffic started to point and yell at him to back up out of the street. He ignored her and just kept on waving the southbound on Wells traffic through, all the while blocking the right lane on Wells.
It was bizarre. Luckily, the light turned green shortly thereafter and I made my way downtown.
Tonight I left work a little early and stopped off at Dominick's. (I also drove today, again due to the heat and my heel. Oh, and I'm lazy.) I only needed to pick up a few things, mainly a loaf of bread, so I thought I would be in and out. Much to my surprise, there were huge lines, even in the self check out. Rather than have to make small talk with and deal with a cashier, I opted to wait in the self checkout line. While waiting behind about six people, a woman walked up carrying only a tallboy of beer and asked someone up front of me (I couldn't tell who) if she could cut since she only had the tallboy. (Note: not many people in the line had more than a few items.) The Dominick's worker spotted her, and told her to get to the back of the line. She did not get in the back of the line, and I didn't see what happened to her. I didn't think much of it initially. For purposes of ease, I will refer to her henceforth as Tallboy Lady. (You didn't really think this was her last appearance in this story, did you?)
So I start moving up in the line, until I'm about two people away from checking out. I notice that there is a man and a woman in one of the self checkout stands who has been attempting to check out since I got in line, and were requiring a great deal of help from the employee. Tallboy Lady reappears a few minutes later, and is with a man. She walks back and forth past the self checkout section (the line was blocking the aisle, so to get to the liquor section, it was necessary to walk through us.) She hovers around the woman who is giving out free samples of wine for a few minutes, gets some wine, then walks back over to the self checkout area and starts screaming loudly about "her man" "her husband" "you bald bitch" and a bunch of other things I couldn't make out. Initially, I didn't know what was going on. I thought she was fighting with the guy she was with. But, no. She went on "you have low self esteem" and "he's the best thing that happened to you and that's not saying much" and "you bitch I'll kick your ass." You get the idea. I finally figured out that she was yelling this at the female part of the long checkout couple. I assume the male part was the husband.
So, Tallboy Lady is screaming and yelling in the middle of the self checkout at Dominick's. An employee tells her to leave the store. She keeps yelling. Everyone is staring. Female part of long checkout couple ignores her. I felt kind of bad for her. Male part of long checkout couple doesn't even seem aware that any of this is going on. (Seriously, if he is the husband and that is his girlfriend, I'm assuming he's no longer with Tallboy Lady (particularly since she's with another man), so why would he not stick up for the girlfriend? What a loser.) Tallboy Lady keeps screaming. Finally, employee gets her out of the store.
Again, bizarre. It was quite a scene.
One Bright Light
There is a man who works at Dominick's who is just so pleasant and happy that for some reason it always brightens my day when I see him. I believe he is mentally handicapped/challenged or whatever the politically correct word of the day is. His job is to corral the carts in the parking lot and bring them inside. He also helps you unload your groceries when you have a full cart. He is super friendly and always smiling. When he is in the parking lot, he yells hello to everyone as they get out of their car, or goodbye as they leave, and sometimes "you are always welcome to come back!" He also does this if he happens to be near the entrance of the store, after bringing the carts in, but then he sometimes also says "Enjoy your shopping!" I wish more people had his attitude, because he just radiates positiveness. Next time I see him I'm going to ask him his name, because I'd like to know so I can greet him with as much joy as he always greets me when I arrive for my weekly trip to Dominick's.