Minutes (Chicago)

July 1, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

(Moshe challenged me to keep up with him)

train platform

  • A fat man in a café points to the cookie a small woman eats. “You shouldn’t be eating that,” he says. “That’s not a proper breakfast.” He has a muffin in front of him and his usual group of pals is not yet arrived. Most mornings these men like to dominate the coffee shop with conversations about the nieghborhood blotter report. Today he has been alone for over an hour and seems nervous. Because the woman ignores him (she is reading a crime novel), he says it again. “Didn’t you ever learn to eat a balanced breakfast?” Coldy, the girl looks up from her book, “Your eating a goddamn muffin,” she says. “Just because it doesn’t have icing doesn’t mean it isn’t cake.”
  • There is a man next door who manages the cellular telephone store. He always wears the same striped-style shirts and khakis and over the course of the day he smokes many many cigarettes. Every week he works with a different, younger, new employee and these employees, young men or young women, always wear new business casual clothes. Their clothes do not look broken in. The manager has a hungry look about him and he talks very quickly. While standing on the street during his regular breaks he strikes up conversations with the women who pass by. In the morning he aks them if they know of anywhere to get a good breakfast that’s close, (knowing there is not–at least the breakfast he wants which is not a bagel or a coffee but bacon and eggs). In the afternoon he drops a coin on seeming accident in the way of their path, rolls his eyes, says “it’s that kind of day” and, when possible, talks about the new employees. In the evening (he works until seven or eight at night) he hangs an arm around one of the light posts and spins, looking a little lost, as though he can no longer think of what to say.
  • They are doing road construction just outside of my front window. This morning I watched as a young woman–perhaps only 20 years old, run out from the apartment building across the street and place something beside the uncovered manhole (it looks as though it is to be repaved today). She was barefoot, in flannel pajamas and when she had placed whatever it was she’d placed, she turned and raised her arms at the apartment building she had come from, then scampered back indoors.
  • A man on the train platform asked a woman on the train platform out for a date to the supermarket this evening. He raised his eyebrows and winked as though it was a euphamism for something else though, judging by her reaction, it was not. She said she needed to get some broccoli anyway.

2 Responses to “Minutes (Chicago)”

  1. Moshe Says:

    This is perfect. I’m going to need you to be my eyes and ears in Chicago- on the train, in the cafe, at the construction sites- while I’m gone.

  2. urbesque Says:

    yes i will. i can do that. i will have to use a variety of spy devices. maybe i can get one of those pens that was mentioned. tomorrow i will tell you about a vet.

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