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I suspect that the rest of this weekend and Monday won't be nearly as cool, but... today was kind of awesome, in a "This is what post-apocalypse Chicago would be like" kind of way.

The lakefront was mostly empty, and I had to wake up quick around 31st street because the police had installed a set of concrete barriers designed to slow down crowds underneath one of the pedestrian bridges. Museum Campus was surrounded by barriers and giant iron fences, one of which had a revolving door that was halfway open to allow people through. Downtown was almost entirely deserted and many of the companies that were still open in the Financial District today had asked their employees to wear jeans and avoid corporate logos in order to "blend in" with the protesters. So, downtown around 8 this morning was full of otherwise-prim and proper people in ratty clothes wandering around looking vaguely dazed and confused.

The best, best part, however, was heading in to my office in my bike shorts, hair all a sweaty mess, helmet under my arm, and getting on the elevator with a short older businessman in ill-fitting jeans and a faded orange flannel shirt. He turned to me, looked me over, and declared "Well, we sure look like the 99% today, don't we? I haven't worn jeans in years." I laughed, and deflected with "Yeah, I'm enjoying everyone's disguises today" and it was like the weirdest secret handshake ever. It also made me feel like a double agent (in spandex).

I spent my lunch break biking loops around downtown, so I got to see parts of the nurse's protest at Daley Plaza (which was full of singing and a handful of weird clowns) and one of the Occupy marches down Clark and over toward Michigan. I got to watch mounted police bottle up Michigan Ave. traffic while the occupiers marched down. It was pretty cool. I also got teased by one of the officers for being on the wrong end of the protest. (I am the best double agent.)

Oddly, the police seemed to be in good spirits today. There was even one I saw who was bemusedly filming some of the protesters. My general impression has been this is one of the few times that the Chicago police and actual Chicagoans are on exactly the same side of an event.

Though, on my way home tonight (after finally getting my brakes sorted out), I saw that the city has taken out the snowplows and parked them on Balbo, which does not bode well for the rest of the weekend...

I think I'm going to take a ride down to Indiana tomorrow (possibly out to the Dunes, which is 50 miles away but mostly trails). Anywhere north of here is pretty much out of the question, and I've been meaning to take the ride out just so I can say I've done it.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
19th May, 2012 04:04 (UTC)
"Well, we sure look like the 99% today, don't we? I haven't worn jeans in years."

OH MY FUCKING GOD. They really are a different species, aren't they?

In any case, you are a much, much better woman than I. I nearly got into an altercation with a customer today because he claimed I didn't answer his "how are you?" before asking him the same question. (I fucking said, "I'm well, how are you", you douche, and I am not going to pretend otherwise!) It's a miracle no one has complained about me yet.

"I haven't worn jeans in years". Oh my God. Oh, you are so stealth, elevator man...
19th May, 2012 15:17 (UTC)
I just love the assumption that I was one of them, especially after noting on my way in that everyone on the streets was sort of uncomfortable and lost. Honestly, I felt like I was getting a few stares for missing the mark on the 99% disguise, assuming people downtown have had to price bike gear... (Realistically I was probably getting stares because I was grinning uncontrollably at all the people who were clearly uncomfortable in casual clothes, though, and because I was wearing tight shorts.) In any other situation, I would probably have reacted differently, but Chicago is a weird, weird place this weekend and many of us seem to have adopted a sort of camaraderie. I mean, I can't imagine that guy hasn't seen me in the elevator before... (Maybe I would've recognized him if he hadn't been so well-disguised... (-; )
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )