So the other day (last month), I was walking east on Jackson, past the Tower and more than likely doing something like mumbling under my breath about how annoying the tourists are because they stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk and look up and it’s like, “OK, duh, it’s a tall building, but take your pictures somewhere else, like closer to the curb, where you can be hit by a bus or cab,” and then I probably looked up and thought, “Hot shit, the Sears Tower is really cool,” and then I probably suddenly stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, staring upwards, and more than likely pissed off some Chicagoan who was walking by, mumbling under her breath about how annoying the tourists are because they stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk and look up.
And then I hear from behind me, “Congratulations!” It was a man’s voice, with what I took to be a Spanish accent. I start looking around, right, because who is doing what in order to be congratulated? Again, “Congratulations!” and now I’m like, “Geez, WHAT? WHAT IS BEING CONGRATULATED???” And then this guy is next to me, shorter than me, black wavy hair, brown eyes, a sparkly smile with all white teeth except for the front top one, which is yellow like a banana, and he nods at me, so I look around, because maybe I won the lottery? That would be a real treat considering I never play the lottery. So I say, “What?” And he says, “Congratulations!” So I say, “Well, thanks. I mean, it was a lot of hard work, but I had a lot of support and I never could’ve done it without my mom’s undying love.”
So he says, “You are very pretty.”
So I say, “You are a charmer.”
He says, “How you say—good outfit?”
I say, “You are a charmer and a very smart man. Now tell me I’m thin and brilliant and I will share my lottery winnings with you.”
Well, this last comment of mine made him stare at me for a bit and his smile faded slightly, but I get that a lot, especially when I’m teaching the newbie residents at the hospital how to perform brain surgery, so I did with this dude what I always do with my newbie residents and I said, “I like purple.”
To this he smiled wide and looked down at my socks. I was wearing my purple knee-high socks, which I purchased from H&M, and which are soft and long and were on sale for $2, and, in addition to the fact that these socks are the reason I am currently the much-talked about fashionista on every street style blog from here to Australia, these socks make my toes happy and as everyone knows, happy toes make the woman.
So then he says, “You know J.Lo? You look like her, but better.”
Well, I get this a lot, too. I mean, it’s hard to tell the two of us apart. J.Lo has melanin in her skin, I do not. J.Lo dresses in designer clothes, I do not. J.Lo has perfectly manicured nails, perfectly applied makeup, and a shoe collection that will break your heart, and I…um, yeah…
So I snorted. I thought I was being curt and sarcastic, but given the way the people around us looked quickly at me with panicked eyes, perhaps I sounded like I was choking.
So then we get to the corner of Franklin and Jackson, and charmer dude presents me with a flower, tiny, purple, with a hint of yellow in the middle, that I’m pretty sure he plucked from the gorgeous landscaping at 311 S. Wacker and he says, “Pretty flower, pretty lady.” And I’m all like, aww…that’s sweet…oh, wait. This guy is probably some asshole douchebag and right as I was about to say, “NO! I do not have $1 so you can go buy your medication from CVS and I’m sure you don’t do this everyday and that you’re short JUST today and you really, really need your medication so your clavicle doesn’t spontaneously burst into flames, NO! NO DOLLAR FOR YOU!” But before I can get that out, charmer dude says, “Congratulations!” and skips across the street, disappearing into the crowd.
I named the flower Penelope.