Monday, August 03, 2009

09 August Happiness Challenge -- Day 3

Monday. I saw Mr. Chicago this morning!

My friend John and I christened this gentleman Mr. Chicago back in 1981, and I am thrilled to say he's still around and looks well. At least, well for Mr. Chicago.

We don't know him, exactly. And we don't know anyone who has ever spoken to him. Yet, often when we describe him, other Loop denizens say, "I know that guy!"

When he first captured our attention in the early 1980s, Mr. Chicago looked like he was trying for the Barry Gibb effect: Backcombed and sprayed brown hair, shirt open to show a gold chain, and luxuriant facial hair. The thing of it is, by the 1980s, even Barry Gibb had abandoned that look, so Mr. Chicago stood out. Whenever spotted (and Mr. Chicago is a warm weather bird, with no reported winter sightings), he always looks like he's walking purposefully ... somewhere. We have seen him all over town, day and night. Never indoors, always out on the street. Always alone, never looking lost or sad and bewildered. Wherever he is, Mr. Chicago looks like a man on a mission.

Well, the 1980s are long gone and Mr. Chicago's look has changed ... a little: Backcombed and sprayed white hair, shirt open to show a gold chain, and luxuriant white facial hair. Since he's so meticulously groomed (albeit in very old clothes) and thin but not sickly, I assume that he's taking good care of himself and that he's happy. Besides, he clearly has a busy schedule. He's always determinedly on his way ... somewhere.

Like legendary Cub fan Ronnie Woo, Mr. Chicago is one of those idiosyncratic characters that make working in a big city so interesting.

Stay well, Mr. Chicago! Seeing you again this morning made my day!