My Love Affair with a Man Named People Watching

Chicago. The windy city. The Second City. A place where Al Capone shot people and Sinatra ate ribs. A place where you can get deep dish pizza, but also really great thin crust pizza that’s cut in squares that tourists don’t want to try probably because Rick Steves only tried the deep dish.

I grew up here and sure I love looking at myself in “The Bean” just as much as the next tourist, but what I love even more is going to “The Bean” and watching other people look at themselves. I love taking the Brown line to work each morning and seeing familiar Chicago characters over and over. This guy who looks like Patrick Swayze, the Asian couple that cuddle the entire ride to the Loop and make me want to vom, and ALL the weirdos. If you haven’t already noticed there are some incredibly eccentric people living in Chicago and I’m not just talking about the art students walking from the Blue Line to the Art Institute school — although they are pretty epic.

I love the variety of people that live in Chicago — a city known for its diversity and many ethnic neighborhoods– Irish, Italian, Mexican, Polish, and Ukrainian– most of which have turned into hipster hideouts because the rent is cheap and they’re fun places to ride around on bikes (I’ve heard the pavement is extraordinarily smooth west of the Kennedy). The city is still broken up into neighborhoods. You’ve got the Northside “Next Year’s Going to be Good” Cubs fans in Lakeview and Wrigleyville. Most of whom I can respect for being so die-hard, but I’m still not sure where they keep all the hope. I happen to be a White Sox fan, but that’s none of your business (especially you in the pink Cubs hat…yeah c’mon you know you don’t care THAT much.)

I live in Lincoln Park, but before you start blabbing about Trixies and Chads (see here) — forget it. I’m not a Trixie, but yeah I see a lot of them and sometimes I fear I am becoming one. It’s important that I do seasonal checks on my wardrobe to make sure things aren’t leaning ALL towards classics. But, I could care less what you think of Lincoln Park. Believe me, I’ll have plenty of good and bad things to say about it, and probably every other neighborhood in Chicago because it’s fun to both brag and complain. But check back later for more on my views on Chicago neighborhoods.

I people watch all the time, all over Chicago and I don’t know, maybe I should just stop ignoring the guy at my L stop trying to shove a Red Eye in my hand or buy a Kindle and spend my commute reading instead of staring at people, listening to them, and tweeting/blogging about it, but…nope…I think I’ll keep people watching.


Caitlin Fitzgibbons has a bi-weekly column on people watching in Chicago. This is the introduction. Check back every other Monday for her current observations on Chicagoans.

About Caitlin Fitzgibbons

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

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