Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I've been very lonely in my isolated tower of indecipherable speech.

It's been generally warm in Chicago for the past two weeks, and since I live on the third floor of the house, my room has been extremely hot. I've taken to leaving the window open all the time, hoping that it is still too early for bugs (I don't have a screen on my window - thanks, Landlords! - so it's a genuine concern).

My window has a lovely view of the trash cans in the alley and a neighbor's backyard. Like the fratty neighbors in the front of our house, the back-neighbors have been in hibernation all winter. Suddenly, once the weather peaked above fifty degrees, there's been a lot of activity in the area, especially at our neighbors' place. It seems to be a family home, and the couple has at least one adolescent boy, who possibly has a budding interest in carpentry. This is what he's been building for the last week and a half:

So I ask you, dear reader, what the hell do you think this is? At first I thought it was going to be some kind of skate-ramp, which struck me as a little odd since there isn't a lot of room for an adolescent boy to skateboard in the backyard, much less do moves on a big wooden structure. Then it started to become some sort of box. I really have no idea what it is, and I wish I had the balls to poke my head out of my window on Saturday when he will surely be out buildin' this thing and shout down to him, "Hey, what the hell is that thing?"

The ability to just strike up conversations with strangers is something I've wished I had for a long time. Wait, let me rephrase that sentence: The ability to just strike up sober conversations with strangers is something I've wished I had for a long time. I can surely do such a thing if I've had at least two glasses of wine or three beers, but I could never do that without the intoxicating influence. Despite the outgoing personality I thought I had developed in college, I'm still the shy kid I was back in high school. Strangers intimidate me. It's the truth.

I'm really jealous of the people who can just say something to people. For example, I wish I was like the guy a few spots in front of me in line yesterday at Chipotle. Two women who were immediately in front of me were discussing the march on Monday, and one of them said, "Well, I'm sorry, but I think they should be citizens or just get the hell out of here." Before I could even come up with a negative thought toward her in my head, the guy in front of her turned around and said, "That's an incredibly closed-minded thing to say," and then faced back to the counter. I was like, "Yeah...BITCH!" If only I could have gotten that across like the other guy, possibly reminding her that she was making such a statement in CHIPOTLE of all places.

I realize, however, that I could never be so bold, since my lack of courage and overwhelming awkward nature would cause me to crash and burn in such an encounter. I witnessed something along those lines this morning on the El. We were approaching the Loop (I think, since I was half asleep and listening to music - I just know it was still really crowded), and there was this girl talking loudly on her pink Razr (with a little too much vigor, I believe, for an 8:30 AM telephone conversation). When we approached the Quincy stop, which is when the train finally empties out, she ended her call and headed to the doors. Behind her was a buttoned-down man of anonymous corporate status who said:

"I enjoyed your phone call."

"What?" She asked, sounding confused.

"I heard your phone call back there. I enjoyed it."

I'm not sure if he was trying to make a point that there is an unspoken CTA rule that you don't talk on cell phone while riding the train, or if that was his awkwardly poor way of breaking the ice and he was hoping for a date. I missed the conclusion, since this happened as they exited the train and went on their merry little ways. It just made me realize that this is why people like me check the missed connections. I have the understanding that those awkward moments should be saved for email correspondence. And I am also glad that I didn't tell the girl standing in front of me that I liked her GOB pin.


Anonymous said...

Stumbled here after searchung for "Chipotle" in the blog search area of Google. After reading your posts I would like to comment that I believe you have a talent for writing. It is something about your writing style that keeps one interested, as if I were reading part of a novel. Anyway, I'm just one person but I was interested enough to read about something that had no real relation to me. Your style reminds me of Frederick Lewis Allen in "Only Yesterday". Many great writers are very observant of others and I think you have that trait as well.

Steve said...

It looks like your neighbor is building massive stairs. Maybe he is a modern day Icarus, trying to touch the sun before his box-steps catch on fire?

marty said...

Good for anonymous corporate guy! That's such a great way to tell someone they're being totally obnoxious without picking a fight or sounding bitchy. Unfortunately I don't have the balls to use it myself.

Kristin said...

could it be a rabbit hutch?

rxvyoguf said...

Sweet ass fort in the making.