Most of those who know me that the movie Chicago is one of my favorites and I can watch it over and over without ever tiring of it. For those of you unfamiliar with it, it's a great musical show set in the height of jazz in Chicago where all these women go around killing their men then getting put on death row. It's great entertainment. In the movie, there is a line delivered by the hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn (played by Richard Gere) in which he says to Renee Zellweger's Roxie Hart, "You are a phony celebrity. You're a flash in the pan. In a couple of weeks, no one's gonna give a shit about you. *That's* Chicago." Anytime something interesting happens to me, I always hear Richard's voice saying, "*That's* Chicago." While I certainly take it out of context as I am no flash in the pan and I am willing to bet that in a couple of weeks more people will be giving a shit about me than they do at present time, when I have big city moments, I just think "*That's* Chicago." I know it sounds odd, but please consider the fact that I grew up in a small village in a rural community where the only stop light in town turned off in the summer months when school was not in session. And it was always big news at the park when the light started working again because it signaled (no pun intended) the impending end of summer freedom of coming back when the street lights came on.
So yeah, going from 18+ years in Ohio's answer to Mayberry to one of the largest Metropolitan areas in the country, it is easy to see why I can get a little thrill over the happenings that only seem to come with city living.
This past week during my late night adventures I had a few, "*That's* Chicago" moments ranging from good, to bad to just outright ugly.
The Good: Last week I went out for a few post-work drinks with a few other culinary professionals. When I set out, I had every intention of being tucked into bed by 12:30 as I had a grueling day facing me. However, the night turned to ridiculous (post to follow) and I found myself fumbling with my keys after 4 a.m. *That's* Chicago! Note: The smell of a red line train at 3:45 in the morning can best be described as sulfuric urine. I need to invest in a face mask. Or carry really horrible perfume samples and rub it under my snout prior to boarding.
The Bad: When walking home from IHOP at 3:30 in the morning a few nights later, a group of random men stopped me and the person I was with to have us fill out pamphlets to support The American Cancer Society...because there is nothing suspect about someone wanting your name, address, banking information and signature in the middle of the street at 3:30 a.m. Seems legit. Perhaps I can provide you my mother's maiden name, social security number and name of my first pet while we are at it.
The Ugly: Upon said post-last call visit to IHOP, we passed some interesting things. Including but not limited to: a residentially-challenged individual begging for pennies who said that I, "looked like a nice girl." Ha! Clearly he did not end up in his current economic situation because he was an excellent judge of character; next were two "women" of the night, and I use women in a loose manner as their appearance was reminiscent of Charlize Theron in Monster; and a man passed out in a park with an empty 40 of King Cobra. He vaguely reminded me of myself circa 2003 post-Thug party in Athens, Ohio. Anyway, the clear winner was a man that came out of an apartment building with a baseball bat. Now, I am still pretty small town naive, but I know when a man with a face reminiscent of Clubber Lang comes rolling out with a baseball bat at 2:15 a.m., I need to get the rock out of there...and to the IHOP. My dining companion and I laughed over the random group of people we saw in a single block of the city, on a Sunday night to boot, and then a police car comes by. And another. Then comes the ambulance. And they are all stopping right where we saw the interesting cast of characters. Not too hard to piece together what probably went down. Random street hoods + angry man with a baseball bat= crazy damn shit going down.
Now *THAT'S* Chicago!