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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sometimes, Weird Things Happen to Me

Okay, sometimes a lot.

This stupid tale begins with me telling you that I have one of those faces. Apparently I look both trustworthy and like I have a clue where I'm going. I'm not sure either of those is true. *shrug* This often manifests itself on college campuses or downtown Chicago. "Ma'am ("ma'am"? How old am I?), do you know where the University Center/Sears Tower/Hospital is?" Things like that.

A few weeks ago, I was taking the train home from work. The train stop where I embark is interestingly right next to a methadone clinic. I know. When I get on the train, I usually get on the very last car, because it's sparsely populated. And no one bugs/solicits/hits on me. I'm totally turning into one of those urbanites that I totally don't want to be. Anyway, this woman, obviously a tourist, was talking out loud about where she wanted to go. I was listening because she was THAT LOUD, and noticed that she was planning on getting off at the wrong stop. Finally, my sense of justice or some shit got the better of me.

I walked up to her and said "You're going to Union Station?" She said yes.

Me: "You want to get off at the Lake stop and transfer to the blue line and then get off at Clinton stop." She looked at me as if I was fresh from the methadone clinic and said, "That's not what I was told! I don't live here! I'm not sure where I'm going!"

Me, taken aback: "Ma'am, I've lived here for several years and I promise this route will get you to your location." She then thanked me and I sat back down.

TWO SECONDS LATER, she asked this other woman across the way how to get to where she needed to be. The woman, who was sitting there the whole time, gave her similar, but WRONG directions. I was about to chime in with my recommendation, but I got a death stare from the tourista, so decided against it. I don't know if she made it to her destination, but I made it to mine and screw her. Hmph.

About a week ago, I got on the same train, at the same time, by the same clinic. There was this young woman staring at me. About 10 minutes into the ride, she sidled up to me and asked "Old Town?" She was obviously speaking English as a second language, so I spoke slowly and clearly. She so didn't understand. I walked her to the map on the train and showed her the stop we just passed and the one she needed to get off at. For the next ten minutes, she asked meagain and again "Old Town?" I held up a finger to gesture for her to wait. And two stops later, she suddenly got off the train.

THAT SAME DAY... I got off the train at my usual stop. While heading home, this guy with a Russian accent walked up to me and bellowed "BALLY'S!" It was absolutely an imperative, not a question. After I jumped back into my skin, I told him where it was.

I happened to be walking the same way. So, he made angry small talk with me, and repeated his "BALLY'S!" In a conversational tone, he asked a question about a hospital that was just down the street. So, when we passed the hospital, I made a note of it. He brought his face VERY close to mine, looked at me with really hard eyes and said "NO! BAAAAAAAAAAAALLY'S!" He said it slowly, because obviously, I was the one who didn't understand what was going on. I said "Sir, it's two more blocks. The way we're walking." I pointed ahead. He shook his head at me and muttered something...something that sounded like "Stupid!"

At the next corner, some dude was waiting to cross the street and Mr. Angry-Russian guy approached him and said "Where's Bally's?" Dude crossing the street didn't understand what he had said, and looked at him all strangely (please note that this is a common occurrence in Chicago, and then you're asked for all of your money.). The guy finally communicated the destination while I'm muttering - pretty pissed off by this time - that Bally's is straight damned ahead, you damned angry JERK! I don't know what happened after that. I went home and was seething.

So, if you're ever in town and need directions. I probably could help you out. But, I guess you shouldn't believe me. Because, you know, I'm probably lying.


The Wooden Porch said...

That is weird. I'd believe you. Unless of course you have purple hair and you never bathe. Then I might not take your directional advice either. I'm assuming that isn't the case though. ;-)

Liz said...

I would totally believe you ... but I'm so bad with directions that I would still go the wrong way. But I'm cheerful about it anyways.

Aimee said...

I have to find my entry about this. Nicole (of hicktastic) and I have the same problem! We've decided we are dressing gothic any time we are out in public so people will leave us alone! :)