Monday, July 30, 2012

Carlos

Seen waiting for the Red Line to 95th at about 8:30 a.m. 

Carlos is a lonely man. When he was young, love was the lowest of his priorities. He was more concerned with beer, with sports, with one-night stands. But as he grew older, he began to feel a longing for something more—it throbbed at the top of his ribcage. At first he thought he might be sick, but the nurse at the acute care center diagnosed him with nothing more than a broken heart.

Now Carlos spends every day searching for a cure. Each morning he dresses himself like a prospective groom; he dons an expensive, silver-gray suit with a matching striped tie and impeccably polished dress shoes. He hopes that one day his bride will come along, loop her arm through the proffered crook of his elbow, and join him. 

I had a really good weekend, filled with Windy City Soul Club, the Bob Inn, and gogo dancing. Here is a picture:


Tomorrow: Cubs game with Meghan! Hey! Hey! Holy mackerel! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Greta

Seen at the Fullerton Station waiting for the Brown Line to Kimball at about 8:30 a.m. 

Greta wears the Cubs jersey happily, though she is well aware of their long history of losing. A fat man with red cheeks sitting next to her at yesterday’s game had noticed her accent and explained it all to her. Greta finds it funny that, considering how Americans are simultaneously revered and despised throughout the world, they sure know how to make fools of themselves. Blatant public drunkenness, singing a song together in the middle of the baseball game for no apparent reason, insisting that their team is terrible because of a rejected goat and a curse—Americans are hilarious! Laughable. When she goes back to Germany, Greta’s jersey will always remind her of that. 

Next year. Actually, aren't they doing well or something? I don't know. I don't keep up with sports. It just goes in one ear and out the other. 

Hey Chicago! On Sunday I am gogo dancing at Navy Pier's Landshark Beer Garden with The Fortunate Sons, the world's finest Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band. Show's at 2 p.m. You should really come! According to my phone, it's going to be a beautiful 82 degrees. Perfect weather. To sum up: Lake Michigan, sunshine, beer, CCR, gogo dancing. It's the place to be. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Athena

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:45 a.m. 

It’s hard being a Greek goddess in a world where people no longer believe in the Greek gods. We’ve fallen upon hard times. And in case you haven’t noticed, Greece has as well! Think that’s a coincidence? Think again. But you know what? I don’t even care. Those assholes abandoned me, so I abandoned them in turn. I moved to Chicago, and now they can wallow in all their fully-deserved misery.

Still, sometimes I miss the homeland. The rolling mountains lush with olive trees, the sapphire-blue sea. And it’s Olympics time! Back in the day I would have been so happy, watching over the muscled men in the stadium, favoring a select few. Nobody seeks my favor anymore. And now the games can take place in any ugly old city. London? What a joke! By the time that gray, gloomy colossus came into existence, I was already Minerva!

At least it’s easy to dress the way I’m meant to these days. With my flowing maxi-dress, my strappy sandals, and my strong, glinting hoop earrings, I feel a little bit like my old self. If I close my eyes I can picture Mount Olympus. I can feel the breeze stinging my cheeks as I gather strength from the stories people tell about me below.  

I went to Greece in 2008. It was absolutely beautiful. See?


I'm glad I got to go before it started burning.

I'm super excited for the Olympics, you guys. Opening Ceremonies tomorrow... 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Natalia

Seen waiting for the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:30 a.m. 

Natalia wore the square glasses to look smarter, but she bleached her hair beachy blonde to appeal to men. She wore the breezy polka-dot dress to be playful, but she covered it with a plain black cardigan to seem responsible. She slouched to convey a fashionable apathy, but she tensed the muscles in her legs and feet, ready to jump on the train. Identity was never Natalia’s strength. 

A short one today. Tonight: deep dish pizza with my French couchsurfer. I'm excited, but I seriously need to find some time to work out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rory

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:45 a.m. 

So I’m kinda scrawny, if you haven’t noticed. As such, it’s easy for me to feel most things. Any injury cuts right to the muscle, and there’s no fat to insulate me from the cold during the winter. Ask any scrawny person and they’ll tell you the same thing. The one thing we can’t typically feel, however, is music.

Our stomachs are too flat and hard to throb with the bass line; our asses aren’t meaty enough to jiggle. I always felt deprived, like I was missing out on an essential aspect of every song I ever listened to. That’s why I bought the headphones. They were the biggest ones I could find. I blast the music into my ears, and the plastic frame of the headphones rattles against my jaw, which in turn softly vibrates my tongue. It’s like I’m kissing the melody. 

Important question: why is it only Tuesday?

Last night I took a belly dancing class, which was fun. I'm awful at it though. I'll have to keep practicing. Tonight: DWChitown! Huzzah. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Austin

Seen at the Bristol Renaissance Faire on Saturday, July 21st, 2012. 

During his act, Austin always likes to find one special lady in the audience and lash his whip right at her. His electric lust pulses through his muscles and sizzles along the length of the whip until—CRACK! It bursts apart at her feet. When a sultry smile spreads across her lips, Austin knows he’s done his job.

Sometimes his chosen women come talk to him after the performance. They drop a dollar into his basket and slip their numbers into his hand. Austin never calls them, though. Not anymore. During his show, women find his tattoos exotic, his stunts daring, his grin sexy. In real life, women find his harmonica-playing irritating, his stunts reckless, his grin moronic. Austin gets all the satisfaction he needs knowing that five times a day he can, with one crack of his whip, momentarily tame a woman into submission. 

I changed the name of the whip artist because, especially with that last sentence, I make him sound like a total jerk. And he's probably not a total jerk! One of the problems I always encounter with this blog. Like when I make someone a murderer who's probably the farthest thing from a murderer in real life. If you want to look him up, though, you can check out the Bristol Renaissance Faire website. His show is amazing! 

Sorry I haven't written in forever. Work has been busy. Life has been busy. You know how it is. Summer is always jam-packed. I'll try to be better about it this week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Marcel

Seen on Rue Saint-Denis in Montreal, July 15th, 2012 

Marcel is going fishing today. It’s hot and muggy outside—oppressive, even, like governments and traditions. But Marcel is always able to make the best out of a bad situation. He removes his sticky leather jacket and places it on top of the public telephone box. Then he scrambles up the side of the box and sits cross-legged, the metal studs digging into his thighs. He pulls a piece of thread from his pocket and strings a dirty McDonald’s cup to a stick he found in a nearby park. With a rotted-teeth-bearing grin on his unshaven face, he casts the cup into the river of people rushing along the sidewalk. He dangles it in front of wealthy tourists, hurried commuters, happy children who smile back at him before their parents drag them away. Marcel doesn’t want their pity; he merely wants their loose change, and perhaps some recognition for the cleverness of his panhandling. 

Sorry, I guess this isn't really a story. It's more like an impression. Oh well. Montreal was awesome! I'm going to write all about it in the not-too-distant future, but let's just say it was full of partiesfoodbeerstreetfestivalscircusartistsstreetartbarsmicrobreweriespoutinefrenchrockbandsbadassery. There you go. That was pretty much it, in a nutshell. :)  

To tide you over, here's a picture of me in old Montreal:




Tonight I'm going to the Black 'n' Blue Ball at Martyrs'. Should be oodles of fun. You should come if you're in the Chicagoland area.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sandra

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 9:00 a.m. 

Thumb in mouth. Teeth on thumb. Chew chew chew. Worry worry worry. That’s all I ever do. Worry. I worry that I left the stove on. I worry that I won’t get to work on time. I worry that I didn’t raise my kids right. I worry that nobody really loves me. I worry that I have cavities. I worry that I’ll fall and break something. I worry that I’ll get mugged. I worry that I haven’t seen enough of the world. I worry that I’ve seen too much of the world. I worry that my worrying will cause health problems.

I don’t know what to do about it, though. So I chew, chew on my thumb, for what little comfort it provides. 

Sorry that all these posts have been from the Purple Line this week. Hopefully there will be some stories from Montreal next week, though! That'll be a change of pace. 

Moody's tonight. Burgers and sangria. Aw yiss. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mai Ly

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:30 a.m. 

Years of tragedy and trials have forged Mai Ly’s strong jutting jaw. She survived a war full of ideologies and hatred and napalm. Her father and brother died. She came to America with her mother and learned English the hard way—working in a neighbor’s restaurant for less than minimum wage. Since she was not used to depending on anyone else, Mai Ly never married; instead, she opened a convenience store to support herself. For all this she sticks her chin out proudly and chews her crackers.

She often thinks about that poem on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Bullshit. People like Mai Ly don’t need to be coddled. 

I have some exciting news: I'm going to Montreal this weekend! It was totally spur of the moment--I found a great deal on Travelzoo. I sent out some couchsurfing requests last night, so hopefully I'll find someone to stay with. If any of you have been there before, please give me suggestions of places to go/things to do! I'd love to hear your ideas.

Also, a big thank you to whoever posted PTKY to Reddit. My page views shot up like crazy! Welcome to any new readers out there.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Philip

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:45 a.m. 

You know, you should always listen to your mother. Mothers believe in you, they see the best in you, and they’re usually right.

I never listened to my mother. She told me I was smart, that I could work hard and achieve anything. But I didn’t believe her. I blew off college, drank a lot, plowed through a long field of girlfriends. Almost had a kid once, but the girl took care of it. Probably a good idea. I wasn’t myself at the time.

When my mom died a few years ago, I re-evaluated who I was, and I realized that maybe she was right all along. I cleaned up, got a part-time job, went back to school. Now I’m heading off to law school in the fall (hence the highlighter and the too-heavy-for-a-commute book). My once-estranged sister says my turnaround is “incredible” and “inspirational,” but I don’t really think so. I didn’t change; I just found myself. I feel like I had it easy. 

Today is Nikola Tesla's birthday! To celebrate, you should probably go back and read my post from June 25th about Bill & Nik. :)

Good things to read: my friend Annah's list of her Top 10 Summer Beers, and this article from The New Yorker about why they couldn't select a Pulitzer Prize fiction winner this year. Good things to do: The Printers' Ball.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chelsea

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:45 a.m. 

Chelsea braids the strings of yarn that hang from the handle of her backpack.

Right over middle. Left over middle. Right over middle. Left over middle.

At first it soothes her, takes her mind away from all the failure. But soon the weaving and doubling back of the yarn reminds her of her team criss-crossing the basketball court, and she starts to seethe. If only that bastard had coached us better. If only the other girls had worked harder. If only I had been stronger. I COULD HAVE BEEN SOMEBODY. 

Chelsea snaps out of it and shakes her head, the curls of her ponytail bobbing furiously. She just needs to finish her braid, to finish this bracelet, to accept what happened and move on. She’ll wrap the bracelet around her wrist and it will remind her of this acceptance. She will continue to train, to play, and her sweat will soak into the yarn, and that will remind her of her determination to do better. She will start over, and she will not fail again. 

I rarely write anything having to do with sports. Mostly because I just plain dislike them. I'm excited for the Olympics though. Something about international competition makes sports more interesting to me.

Last night my Swiss couchsurfers watched the men's championship Wimbledon match that they had tivo'd. They were so excited for Federer. It was cute. And they explained a little bit about how tennis works, so that was helpful for me. It was sad to see them go this morning, but at the same time, we don't have guests in the apartment basically for the first time since the beginning of June. I'm pretty happy about this--time to start working out again, and writing regularly again. I have a novel to complete, after all... 

P.S. This blog post is great! Expresses a lot of my feelings about why I love public transportation.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Irina

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 9 a.m. 

Irina writes down the list with wrinkled hands attached to freckled arms. So freckled, in fact, that it’s hard to see her original, unmarred skin color. Her cheeks are the same way, speckled with brown dots, no rosy blush in sight. When she was young, in California, Irina loved to lie out in the sun. She’d smear her thin, strong body with tanning oil, close her eyes, and fall asleep in the warm, humid hug of the summer air. The boys couldn’t stop staring.

But the sun isn’t a good friend. It burned her up, and now she’s a ruined old woman. Ruined and dying. That’s why she’s writing the list. The melanoma is all over her chest and belly, and the doctors keep telling her it doesn’t look good. Obviously it doesn’t look good. Strangers can’t stop staring.

So Irina is making this list of things to do before she dies. It’s not as long as she expected. One item is to go to the beach. She’ll probably forego the sunscreen. What’s the point? Irina would like to die at the beach, waves lapping at the soles of her feet. 

Yeah, you can tell I went to see a Chekhov play last night. Stole the name Irina. 

This weekend is ridiculously busy. Today we have couchsurfers arriving from Austria. Tomorrow I have to go out to the burbs for my cousin's wedding. Sunday I have a gogo show with The Fortunate Sons. Sleep is for the weak.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stacy & Luke

Seen waiting at Fullerton for the Red Line to 95th at about 8:30 a.m. 

Stacy gazes at her handsome Luke. His shirt—F3: St. John’s Bay Striped Polo Shirt in Cadet Blue/Hunter Green—fits snugly against his flat chest. His pants—L7: Dockers Signature Slim Fit Khakis—hang at the perfect place on his hips. His constant smile showcases his gorgeous cheekbones, and his blonde hair remains perfectly combed, even in this heat. Stacy falls in love all over again.

Luke’s breath catches in his throat when he looks at Stacy; she’s always so impeccably coordinated. The collar of her J1: a.n.a. Button-Down Ruffle Blouse highlights her long neck. The curve of her hips is tantalizingly emphasized by her M6: Worthington Khaki Pencil Skirt. Her legs are made even shapelier by her T2: Nine & Co. Come Hither Platform Pumps in Black. With her C9: Liz Claiborne Corporate Chic bag slung over her shoulder, she is a vision.

Both Stacy and Luke agree: the best decision they ever made was to hold hands and exit the pages of the J.C. Penney catalog together. 

I actually looked at the J.C. Penney website to get ideas for brands. But I largely made up the product names, except the Dockers. 

How was your Independence Day? I had a lovely time seeing Magic Mike with Gena. It was entertaining, but I would have liked fewer feelings, more stripping. Love stories are boring. And the female lead couldn't act. Campier would have been better. 

Today Gena and I are going to be extra classy and see Chekhov's Three Sisters at the Steppenwolf. How adult of us. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Abbie

Seen at the Fullerton Station waiting for the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:30 a.m. 

Abbie wears the Mickey Mouse t-shirt so people will think she has grandchildren, but the truth is apparent in her neglected posture. 

Sometimes it's fun to write crazy short stories! I almost ended this one at "grandchildren," but I chose to continue. Do you think I made the right choice?  

Just checked my stats, and PTKY now has officially had over 10,000 page views since it began! I realize that's not a whole lot in terms of the internet, but considering that this is just my own little personal project, it seems pretty good. Thanks to everyone who reads it! 

Leta left to return to Denver today, which makes me sad. But hopefully she'll get that job, and then she'll move here, and then I'll be ultra-happy. Send positive vibes her way!