Get Guilty Gurl

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Confession: I had never taken the L to O’Hare International Airport until Friday. It was the most recent moment, since a college spring break trip to Acapulco, that made me feel like a cast member on the Real World. You might recall the Chicago season, when cast members traveled on the Blue Line to their new home (now Cheetah Gym) in Wicker Park .

So Friday, I got to O’Hare a bit early. I figured I would have just enough time to grab a coffee at Starbucks. I’m in line and I start people watching in the food court at the American Terminal. Then the woman in front of me starts talking.

LA Woman: Well that’s a fabulous bag.

Me: Oh thanks…

LA Woman: And I just loved that vintage Gucci you just tucked away.

Me: ( What an observant gal you are) Thanks I got it at an estate sale-

LA Woman: I used to have one in college.

Me: Oh no way?

LA Woman: Oh absolutely. Oh god gurl I love your whole look. I was just at a perfume conference in Paris- heading back to LA now.

Me:( When can we talk about me taking your job?) How awesome- what brands do you sell?

LA Woman: Well actually Gucci- have you smelled the new Gucci Guilt?

Me: ( I really hope you are going to give me your Gucci wallet.) No I haven’t.

LA Woman: YOU NEED A GIFT. (she hands me a sample bottle) Get guilty gurl!!!

How did she know that I needed a gift? What a great start to the trip to Boston – it almost made the experience of finding out my flight was delayed 2 hours less painful. Once I found that out, I tried to just forget about it and keep reading my book, but after waves of people finding out about the delays and hearing complaints over phone calls – I went to go buy myself a beer at the airport O’Brien’s This might be the best place to people watch in Chicago.

I was drawn to the bar by the ultimate character — a Jewish man in his 50’s/60’s from New York. He was wearing tight designer jeans, wing tips, a white button down, blazer, blue tinted glasses, a fake bake, lip injections, and a Mick Jagger inspired do. He was harassing everyone at the bar, told stories from Studio 54, and after proclaiming that he had just had quadruple bypass surgery, he ordered a Grey Goose and tonic and a basket of french fries, which he heavily salted and ate. His last name — “Diamond, like the ring.” And that my friends made my day.

He could only be topped by the the local bartenders and their regulars. There is an entire culture built around this bar in O’Hare where a loud mouth Chicago gal and her silent yet attentive side kick Lalo tend bar. They are calling out all their regulars by name. One guy even brought his mom and sister to meet the bartenders he spends so much time with while traveling for work. I enjoyed their sass. It got me thinking, what a great retirement this would be…people watching behind an Irish bar, turning up the sarcasm to anyone who would listen. Anyway, after I finally got a seat at the bar, I gave Lalo my phone to charge and began to talk to my neighbors. I mean, I’ll admit I was digging for a movie moment and while I had my mind on romance – I encountered the makings of a thriller.

Politely turning to one side, I saw a guy who had done a pretty good job convincing people he might be Keith Urban through some strategically grown and well manicured facial hair. I smiled and said hi. He smiled and said:

Guy: Hey there’s that bag that got into a bit of trouble back at security.

Me: (Great, you remember me and my bag from two hours ago) You bet it is! (nervous laugh.)

Guy: Having some beers huh?

Me: (stop making that creepy smile- and yes you can see me having a beer) You know it. Trying to get through this flight delay, which I’m sure you are too considering we got here at the same time.

Guy: Oh no, I just wanted to get here early.

Me: (well that’s mentally comforting) Really? You must love airports.

Needless to say I quickly finished my beer, got my phone back from Lalito, and headed for my gate. I had no intentions of standing around this guy for another minute. This experience taught me once again, weird guys like talking to me and that I should not attempt to engage with my people watching subjects. No matter how tempted I might be to initiate sarcastic banter with the innocent, I’m better off sticking to People Watching than People Talking — also known as conversations.


About Caitlin Fitzgibbons

Caitlin is an contributor with a bi-weekly column on people-watching in the city.

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