Me plea

Recently I sold my condo, but before that, for a short time I was paying for both the condo and the apartment I would move to. During that time I was prepared to answer any beggar on the street who said, "Spare a quarter? Help the homeless."

"You're homeless?" I would say. "You don't know how lucky you are! I have two homes and I can't keep them straight! I get out of work and I don't know whether to take the northbound train or the southbound train! I keep toothbrushes in two homes! Do I have enough toothpaste in both homes? I don't know! Do you know what it's like to maintain phone answering machines in two homes? To have milk go sour in one home and have to travel miles to your other refrigerator to get a decent glass of milk? And don't get me started on the teasing I get! People at work asking whether I'll be 'weekending' at my northern property or my southern estate! You have NO idea!"

Unfortunately no beggar stopped me during that time, so I have to hope that they will read this and come closer to understanding a little bit of my plight during that stressful time.

My relatives are the best

Overheard at a family function, between two cousins, both women in their seventies:
A: Why do they call that restaurant Hooters, anyway?
B: Well, their mascot is an owl.

Theater student? Or just high?

About 5:00 pm on the Red line subway a young man stepped on the train and gave out a loud but obviously fake sneeze. He was a little shorter and thinner than average, with thick glasses. He projected his voice to the entire car as he said, "Aha! Perhaps I startled you, with my loud sneeze? Perhaps I made you jump! Because I sneezed so loud!"

A couple people muttered to him to shut up, and he responded by yelling repeatedly in the direction of the driver, "Help! They're trying to KILL ME!" The driver was in our car and we hadn't left the platform yet, so he walked back and talked to the troubled youth. The driver asked him to leave but the young man promised to behave. By now the Red line trains must've been stalled for miles behind us while our train's driver dealt with this distraction. The driver returned to his booth and the train moved forward. The young man, quieter now, left in a few stops.

I may be losing my sense of humor because I was in a hurry and while the little guy was begging for attention, I considered walking the length of the car back to where he was. I believed that I could have bumped him out the door without taking my hands out of my pockets. I think he would've thrived on the drama though, and I'd have been turned into the clueless sap with a Tom Green wanna-be.


About a year ago in our high-rise they put up a notice that the TV show E.R. would be filming in our neighborhood on a Sunday morning, so some streets would be closed. This wasn't big news because they had been here before to shoot scenes in front of some of the older buildings.

The interesting part was that they would be filming an army tank running over cars on State Street. On the appointed morning I was standing at my dining room window looking out as the tank did test runs north and south on State. There weren't many TV crew people evident, but a few cops were there to keep onlookers out of the street.

Then they must've started filming for real because the tank, hiding behind a building, came around a corner and ran over a phony newsstand (I guess they didn't have a fruit cart) that had been set up that morning. The tank rolled north and veered over to the side of the street where it ran over a couple parked cars. Ah, so those were prop cars!

The first shot was complete and they paused to set up filming for second and third scenes where the tank ran over more cars on the same block, including what appeared to be a police car. By the time they were finished, there were seven flattened cars on State Street, some of them in front of the run-down building where homeless men stayed for $10 a night.

Filming completed, the TV crew left so the cops who were there for crowd control left too. After a while, two guys in shabby clothes stepped out of the homeless men's building and found two crushed cars parked right in front of them. The cars were only about knee-high now. The two guys stared and shook their heads. Then they looked to their right and saw five more mangled cars up the street. It looked like a terrible shame, but by mid-afternoon tow trucks had taken away all the evidence.