[Extremely OT]Chicago etiquette
- I'm not funny anymore.
So, I've decided to put on some pictish war paint, and run down the streets of Chicago holding a Big Bird and an Ernie puppet in each hand, ventriloquisting through them all my angst, fear and what-not.
Sounds like a good idea, huh?
People in Chicago have this trait- no- let me show instead of tell:
I had a dentist's appointment in downtown Chicago, in one of their skyscrapers. I get in on the first floor, along with a woman, holding her little baby.
"I'm sorry," she said to me, "But he's very young and might make noise."
I nodded to her, and reassured her with a curt wave of my hand that I was totally fine, and had no hang-ups about being in an elevator with a crying baby.
OK, first of all- the baby was fast asleep and therefore didn't make a sound. PLUS, she gets off on the second floor. Why had she bothered to say anything?
On the third floor, four people got in: a young couple, a middle-aged businessman and a delivery guy balancing some large boxes on a little gurney. As the delivery guy got into the elevator, one of the boxes very lightly scraped my calf.
"I'm so sorry!" he said, and spun around to face me.
"I'm ok," I said, "really- I'm just fine. I'm not even scratched," I explained, rolling up my pants sleeve to show him my totally unharmed leg.
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"Yes, yes," I said, getting a little exasperated, "I've seen fire and I've seen rain, and this really wasn't anything at all."
The delivery guy got off a few seconds later.
"Here!" he said, pushing something into my hand just before exiting.
I looked down and saw it was a twenty dollar bill.
I lunged after him, but the elevator doors closed suddenly. I pushed the "open" button frantically, but the elevator had already started to move.
Just then, the young woman coughed, just once.
"I'm sorry!" she said, looking around at all of us with guilty eyes.
"Well," I murmured sarcastically, "just don't let it ever happen again."
"Omi- omigosh,"- she stammered.
Before she could offer me some priceless family heirloom I told her that I was just kidding.
"It's a free country," I said, "we're all allowed to cough once in a while!"
"If you tell me where you live," the guy said, "we'll come over and paint your house-"
"And weed your garden!" the woman added.
Thankfully, their stop was the next floor. They left, but not before getting my phone number and address. I gave them fake info. I really didn't want to see them ever again.
So, it was just me and the businessman.
There was a moment of uncomfortable silence.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"Not half as sorry as I am," I replied, "I'm really sorry. I'm sorry I'm from New York and that I'm not acquainted with your city and its rules of etiquette that apparently border on the psychotic!"
"Welcome to Chicago," he said, as the elevator stopped at his floor, "and here's my card- if you ever need a heart transplant, just give me a holler."
I gave him a toothy smile, and was relieved to be alone in the elevator.
Maybe I should've asked the dentist for a personal stash of laughing gas. You know, to handle the culture shock.
- Great Stuff Mahiruha,
Just one question, what happens if you get in a Chicago lift and say.
'Great City, but, you pizza is really disappointing compared to New York Pizza.'
p.s. one day, I will get up off the sofa and write a suitable composition for the estimable Inspiration Letters. The open issue really was my chance to bore every one with my opinions on the spiritual significance of Language and Hierarchy in Tolkien's First Age of the Noldor....