People Watching

“Do you ever feel like you just landed on this earth? See the creatures all do their dances back and forth. You get restless and then you join them on the floor. Suddenly it’s tomorrow. It’s not today anymore.” ~Nada Surf, Hi-Speed Soul

I recently had an old friend come to town, and we decided to have one of our “tourist in your own city” weekends. Man, it was eye-opening. My days are pretty scheduled and/or low key, and I have given up dealing with the hustle of downtown Chicago on the weekends or going to crowded beaches to avoid tourists. I did all of the things I avoid last weekend, and holy smokes…people are bizarre. I mean that in the best way because I had free entertainment for hours.

We went to North Avenue beach, which I am pretty sure I have only been to one other time. Maybe two. I hated it then (too crowded and not my scene) and was almost certain I would hate it now. After melting for about an hour or so on the beach listening to the conversation of a group of gentlemen next to us (and being a bit appalled by their comments on girls that look “barely legal”), we went to Castaways. I’ve never been here because of the douche bag and tourist reputation. It’s a boat-shaped restaurant and bar. My friend wanted to go, and if you drive five hours to have drinks with me, I’ll take you where you want to go. We lucked out and found a table that was located close to the DJ booth and dance floor. I say lucked out because it gave us the perfect view to the daytime shenanigans happening on the dance floor. We planned to stay for one drink and stayed for three. This is what was happening:

  • As soon as we sat down, a guy walked by wearing a tank top saying “Sleeves are bullshit.” I knew it was only going up from there.
  • There were several bachelorette parties. You knew who the brides were as all of them had what appeared to be mini veils pinned to the back of their bikini bottoms. The first was a group of girls wanting to dance but clearly not drunk enough yet. It was casual swaying while sipping drinks, not making eye contact with one another and looking to see who was watching them. Who was watching them? These guys…
  • The bachelor party on the other side of the dance floor. There was one guy we couldn’t stop watching. He was probably around 5’8″, decent build and insecure as all get out. He stood there puffing out his chest, sucking in his stomach and flexing while drinking his beer. He kept staring over at the girls and inching his way over to them then slipping back to the safety of his group. He walked by my table at some point and I noticed his wedding ring. His wife is lucky…
  • The second bachelorette party was hilarious, already hammered and got everyone else dancing. The mom of the bride was the target for all of the guys looking to make their way into the group of bikini clad ladies. They would grab her and spin her in circles while trying to creep on the other girls. No one paid attention to the dudes and the mom had fun. Well done ladies.
  • The third bachelorette party all wore these bright pink sun hats and were also hilarious. The second and third lady party ended up mingling and, if I recall, tried starting a failed conga line. Where were you on that one bachelor party? Free booty grabs! Fail on their part.
  • I saw a large man walk in with a shirt that had a cartoon animal on it with a conversation bubble stating, “I put my thang down flip it and reverse it.” I never get mad at Missy Elliott lyrics.
  • An Indian couple start doing some Bali dancing in the middle of the booty shakers, and it was awesome. Everyone else thought so, too.
  • The older gentleman (I’m guessing in his 60s) at the table next to us made eye contact with me and started mouthing rap lyrics and was encouraging us to engage him in some partying while busting out his best “raising the roof” dance move.

That’s when we called it a day. We were having fun minding our own business. When the dance party starting encroaching on our observation party, we asked for the check. Who knew this is what was happening on the weekends while I was at home wondering if anyone wants to meet me for brunch?

The next day we gave day one a run for its money…

  • We got even more Chicago and went to the Billy Goat Tavern while waiting for our turn to board the architecture tour. I take my friends to only the classiest of places. I ordered a Schlitz…like a lady. Nothing oozes Chicago more to me than the regulars at the original Billy Goat. If you end up making conversation with them, they will always tell you this is where John Belushi used to hang out and how this is the only location where you can’t get fries. “You can get fries at the other locations, but this is the original!”
  • On our way to the architecture tour, I noticed a woman exchanging numbers with the guy who poses as the Tin Man for tourists.
  • Another woman was pleasantly gazing out over the river. It was a bit windy that day, and her dress kept flying up in the back. To give you a visual, I knew she wasn’t wearing underwear. At first we thought it was just a one time thing. But it kept happening, and there were no more secrets between us and this stranger. While hilarious, I did walk over and tell her the wind was lifting her dress a little high in the back. She thanked me.
  • We saw a woman screaming and yelling at some bushes to “get out of here.” I don’t blame her. They were sort of ugly and served no purpose.
  • On our boat tour we had the pleasure of watching other folks partying on their boats. One guy caught our attention. He was dancing like a wild man while facing his two friends on the boat. They didn’t seem impressed. Actually, no one was. The guys sitting next to me also happened to be watching him and said, “What is he doing?” I guess abs and a nice tan don’t override terrible dancing.

The day continued on like this, and I became increasingly aware of how boring I am. Then I wondered what some of those wonderful weirdos thought about me walking down the street. Is there something about my presence that would cause a chuckle? Do I care? Not at all.

I think I need to get out of my comfort zone more. This weekend was the best I’ve had in a long time. I guess my lesson learned from last weekend was one I learned many moons ago…Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. (Sorry. It felt rude not to end a Chicago story with a Ferris Bueller quote.)

Author: Penny Lame

I can find humor in almost everything. These are my stories.