Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Nurse the Hate: Chicago Monday Afternoon

The wind blew on Chicago’s Gold Coast because that’s what it always does.  The weather was finally going to concede to winter.  The dry crisp leaves rattled among the footsteps of well appointed footwear.  It was cloudy but most of the women still wore their designer sunglasses.  Some carried small nervous dogs in leather tote bags.  The dogs faced ahead with fixed expressions between shock and anger.  The women had practiced blank faces of boredom as they clicked ahead on their created task of the day.  They were all dressed in the style of the moment, almost impossibly long thin legs with perfectly cut denim that was professionally ripped in the exact right locations.  They dedicated their lives to their art.  Their art was creating themselves, the most idealized version time and money could buy.

I sat at the bar of the landmark old money restaurant for a late lunch.  At a glance all the locals could tell I was a nobody with my pedestrian clothes and cheap shoes.  I was like a faded photograph on the wall, something that was there but could be safely ignored.  I watched and listened.  The two striking Latin women to my left were dressed in animal print.  The older one had large breasts which were dramatically framed by her plunging neckline and pushup bra.  She seemed almost a mentor to the younger woman.  They were both dressed like it was New Year’s Eve.  It was 2:00pm on a Monday.  They discussed the necessary machinations of maneuvering the men in their lives.  They pulled strings for a living.  This was their sales meeting.  They split an entrée and lazily picked at the onion straws.  

The older woman sat turned on the stool so she was parallel to the bar and visible to the room.  She scanned the room to see who had noticed her.  She spoke with an accent.  Argentina maybe?  “Dahn?  Dahn?  Could you get me a ketchup and the hot sauce I like?  I also need one spoon.  Place it to the left of the sauce.  No Dahn!  The left!  Yes…  Thank you Dahn.”  The bartender swiftly attended to her needs with a strained smile.  

A woman sat to my left.  She greeted the staff who pretended to greet her like a friend.  She placed an order with multiple changes to the menu.  “I’m going to an event later so I need to eat something now, but I don’t want it too heavy.  Can I get that fish I like but without any of the sauce.  Also can you give me those vegetables I like?  You know the ones?  But box them up separately because I don’t like them in the same container as the fish.  I need to go so could you make this a priority?  Thank you so much.”  She put the menu down to announce that she was done with the bartender and expected the task completed.  She was a woman that was used to being catered to.  It would never occure to her she would have to wait for anything.  She opened an electronic tablet and fussed with her hair.  The tablet made a connection and she began to loudly chatter in French with a relaxed looking man.  He made a quick remark with a gasp and then chuckled at how clever he had been.  She cackled.  She spoke as if she were the only one in the room and this was her home. 

The waiter could tell I didn’t really belong there and addressed me with too much familiarity.  He gave me my salad with the salutation “my man”.  Here you go my man.  The older man in the Burberry suit at the end of the bar was “sir”.  I didn't carry that type of authority.  I was “my man”.  Perhaps my Chuck Taylors had identified me as one of the server class of the neighborhood and I had earned the “my man” as a notation of inclusion.  Maybe it was a not-so-subtle dig meant to note that he knew this wasn’t my neighborhood and I was a tourist.  It didn’t really matter.  I ate my overpriced salad and watched the show around me.      


At December 7, 2017 at 7:55:00 AM EST , Blogger Bobdontgiveaf#ck said...

So, you went into a classy high end joint wearing tennis shoes and ordered a salad? I'd say that bartender let ya off easy 'MY MAN'.

At December 7, 2017 at 8:23:00 AM EST , Blogger Greg Miller said...

The interesting part of that neighborhood is not wearing Hermès makes you invisible. I felt like someone was going to ask me to park their car at any moment.

At December 11, 2017 at 12:16:00 AM EST , Blogger AZ said...

Way better than my visit.


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