Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Am A Person In My Neighborhood

“Hey little mama, what you doin’ in a cab?”

That’s what the man who sells the Sun-Times on the corner of Wells and Grand said to me yesterday morning as I sat at a red light in the back of a cab with the window rolled down. I really liked the question. The fact that he knows I’m usually in Black Beauty made me feel like part of the fabric of the neighborhood. I also liked being called “little mama,” even though I’m not that little (unless we’re going strictly on height) and I’m also not a mama.

Meanwhile, what is this, the call-me-for-anything desk? A phone conversation that took place mere moments ago:

(ring ring)

Me (guarded tone clearly conveys disinterest in speaking to anyone not immediately recognizable by caller ID): This is Amalie.
Caller: Hi, this is a little strange, but I was referred to you by one of the concierges at the Four Seasons. He said you might be able to help me find something?
Me (with suspicion): Oh? What might that be?
Caller: Well, I’m looking for an etiquette coach. Not someone to tell me which fork to use; that’s pretty easy to figure out. I want to learn how to walk more feminine.
Me: (silence)
Caller: I just thought you would know someone like that.
Me: Hmm, I don’t know any etiquette coaches. Did you Google it?
Caller: No…it’s not like I want to be a model or something, I just want to walk and talk more feminine, more graceful, you know? I’m in the business world, and I tend to move fast.
Me (frantically Googling “Chicago etiquette coach” while gathering quarters for imminent parking meter feed): Here’s one. (Reads name of coach, found in newspaper article dated 1996)
Caller: OK, do you have her phone number?
Me: No! I have to go feed my parking meter now. Thanks. Bye.

I mean, honestly.

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