Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I don't know if I can properly convey to you exactly how miserable they are without showing you some video surveillance of an average workday, but allow me to give you the best, singular example that I can.
Today, at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon, people started wishing each other, "Happy Friday Eve!"
It's Wednesday afternoon.
If the fact that everyone refers to Thursday as Friday Eve isn't bad enough, they begin celebrating "Friday Eve" on Wednesday. I feel it necessary to point out to everyone that there is nothing particularly special about this coming Friday. It is not the beginning of a week-long, overtime pay vacation for everyone. It is not the day we all receive million dollar bonuses for being snappy dressers. It is simply another work Friday in a seemingly endless line of work Fridays.
And this happens every week.
On my first day, several people that I was introduced to said, "Welcome to Hell." In my infinite ignorance, I thought they were joking.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Anyone even remotely familiar with my everyday life knows that I have surprisingly little interest in fashion, or more specifically, keeping up with the current trends in fashion. Up until recently I’ve been ok with this. That’s 30 years of what some might call, “fashion recklessness.”
When you’re younger, it’s a lot easier to get away with wearing aqua shoes to church or perhaps a hypercolor T-shirt (with matching pants of course) to your aunt’s wedding. Growing up severely hinders your ability to wear whatever the heck you feel like to any given occasion. It’s the downside to maturity that adults are afraid to talk about. In spite of this, I’ve still managed to wear orange corduroy pants far longer than the average person would deem acceptable, and pair up said pants with a similarly colored (yet still a few shades off) orange T-shirt. Call it my greatest triumph.
Ok, I don’t wear that outfit to weddings or birthday parties or Dodgers/Giants games, but it does get worn. In public. When you do something as irresponsible as that for approximately three decades, it usually takes something pretty profound to change your way of thinking. Allow me to tell you a story.
A couple of weeks ago, my need for Gatorade, hot dogs, cherry pie filling and mayonnaise was unacceptably high. Fortunately for me, there is a store that carries all of these items in excess only a few blocks away. I waited 45 minutes to see if someone would randomly knock on my door and hand me a bag with exactly those items in it, but for some odd reason, the knock never came*. So I took it upon myself to venture out and retrieve these items.
The route to the store is pretty simple, but it does involve me crossing a large street, then going down three flights of stairs and crossing over a bridge that spans a river. As I finished crossing the large street and approached the stairs that lead down to the bridge, I could see three police officers looking at the bridge below and communicating with some other police officers via radio (at least that’s who I assume they were communicating with. As my journey wore on, I began to question that assumption heavily). I was not stopped by any of these officers as I walked by and began my trip down the stairs.
Once I arrived at the bottom off the stairs, I was flanked by two more police officers, both of who were wearing bulletproof vests. I looked ahead and saw two police cars stopped on the bridge, and three more officers detaining two suspects. All three of those officers were also wearing bulletproof vests. Again, no one was preventing me from walking right through the middle of all of this.
I believe this was the first time in my life where I really felt underdressed. Sure, there have been countless times in my life where I was under dressed, but this was the first time I truly felt it.
I learned three very significant, related things that day. I learned that fashion is important. I learned that I should probably wear a bulletproof vest** all the time because, most importantly, I learned that the Chicago PD will do next to nothing to protect me. I won’t even get a, “Hey buddy, why don’t you use the other side of the street for now.” At least then I’d be a harder target to hit.
*Which is absurd when you think about it. I mean, come on! The store is only a few blocks away! Why WOULDN’T someone buy those items and drop them off at my door free of charge?
**If you listen to the news much, you probably already know that this is generally a good idea in Chicago anyway.