I Became a Person Who Came to Downtown Chicago to…


The Dude on the Right

Garrett Popcorn LogoI put a little post on Facebook: I’m doing something I said I would never do only I can’t say exactly what it is until Monday. How’s that for a tease?

Hundreds, okay just a few of my friends, tried to figure out the mystery, and the guesses ranged from hitting a nudie-bar (I have been to one of those before, so that couldn’t be it), to a spa treatment complete with a pedicure.  I will say that all of the guesses were wrong, although from my fiance’s descriptions of her pedicure experiences, well, that may not be ruled out in the future, but in any case, what I did astounded me.

You see, for years, living in Chicago and visiting downtown quite often, there is a tradition I witnessed yet couldn’t understand.  The people would be there, in the freezing cold, in a line that sometimes would stretch down the street and around the corner, and you would think it was either the day after Thanksgiving and they were waiting for the season’s hottest gift, or that some store was giving away a hundred dollars just for standing in line.  With my friends I would mock these people, laugh at them as they were bundled in their parkas, shivering, yet with shear anticipation on their faces, and in an orderly fashion they would file, one by one, into the little storefront that housed a treasure people far and wide would stand for hours, or at least a bunch of minutes, to secure.  The years would go by and I would wonder, "Is it really that good?", and prior to this weekend I had already found out and well, it is good, but "stand-in-line" good?  It didn’t matter, I suppose, because there I was, standing in line, in the freezing cold, to get a bag of Garrett’s Popcorn.

Yup, hours of my weekend downtown, okay, maybe about 20 minutes, were spent, in a line, waiting for a bag of popcorn (okay, actually two bags of popcorn), something I made fun of for years, something I told myself I would never do, yet as I witnessed a group of girls try to cut in line, as I saw two women become nearly orgasmic as they sampled a little cup of fresh Chicago Mix, and as a tourist, in the freezing cold, wearing sandals, jumped for joy as he walked over a sidewalk grate venting warm air, I patiently waited, moving ahead one person by one person, with my order in my head: "One large bag and one medium bag of Chicago Mix please."  I would then pay the man, step to the side, and hope not to screw up the process and have someone yell "No popcorn for you!", yet this wasn’t like a Seinfeld episode because people ahead of me kept changing their minds, and the people behind the counter were patient through every person.  There were the newbies, still staring at the menu unsure of what they wanted when it was finally time to order, and then there were the experienced folks, rattling off their popcorn tin requests like they were trading stock, and there I was, bewildered in myself that somehow I was actually the person who suggested this gift for my future in-laws, and if it weren’t for my fiance, I would have forgotten to get a bag for us.

And so I have become a statistic in this world of Chicago, someone I would question if it was really worth it, someone I would mock, someone I always thought must have better things to do when visiting Chicago.

I became a person who came to downtown Chicago to stand in line to buy popcorn.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!   L8R!!!