Skip to content

Peter V. Bella Posts

Bridgeport Memories

Image: PV Bella

Sammy’s Dog

I lived in the Bridgeport neighborhood during the early 1980s, in the primarily Italian section on the east side. The neighborhood was inhabited by cops, firefighters, city workers, and members of a noted Italian American business organization. To the north were Croatians.

My landlord was another police officer. He and his wife lived in one apartment and his mother-in-law in another.

The landlord found a stray Irish Setter wandering around the neighborhood. The dog was malnourished, and its fur was matted. He took the dog in, had it checked by a vet, and brought it back to health.

There was one strange problem. The dog was a roamer. He would get out of the yard and follow people to the bus stop, store, or wherever they went. Then he would return. If the dog followed you to the bus stop, he sat and waited until you got on the bus. He walked alongside the mailman on his rounds. Everyone in the neighborhood knew Sammy’s dog.

One day a substitute mail carrier was working the route. The dog came out of the yard. The mailman was terrified. He grabbed a brick from the vacant lot next door and tried to hit the dog.

This part of the neighborhood had people who sat home, looking out their windows. Several people charged out of their homes, chasing the mailman.

The mailman ran to 31st Street, a major artery in the neighborhood. A police car was passing. He threw himself on the hood of the vehicle as the crowd approached. The cops got out of the car as the mob tried to pull the carrier off.

After the cops calmed everyone down, one of the neighbors told the cops, “The mailman tried to hit Sammy’s dog with a brick.”

One cop looked with disgust at the shaking carrier. “You tried to hit Sammy’s dog? I’m sorry we saved your ass.” The cops dispersed the crowd and drove the mail carrier back to his cart.

We never saw that substitute carrier in the neighborhood again.

The Horn Player

My apartment was a few blocks from the former Comiskey Park, where the Chicago White Sox played. Sometimes the night games would go late if there were more than one or two extra innings.

One night the game went later, ending around eleven. The weather was mild. I had gone to bed and left the windows open to let in the cool breezes.

Just as I was nodding off to sleep, I heard the noise of fans walking through the neighborhood and going home or retrieving their cars parked on the side streets. The Sox won, so there was a lot of loud excitement. After several minutes, it died down.

Then, someone started to play bugle or a trumpet. He was playing “Revile” loud. The sound came from the alley. One of the neighbors yelled out, demanding he, “Stop playing that “fucking horn.”

He kept on playing. Again, the gruff voice yelled at him to stop. The guy kept playing, “Revile.” One last time, a gruff voice shouted louder, including a string of obscenities.

The guy started playing “Taps.” The next thing I heard was gunshots. The bugle or trumpet went silent. I never found out what happened to the horn player. No cops showed that I know of. There were no reports of anyone wounded or killed.

I didn’t ask or care. I slept like a baby.

On Aging

Image: PV Bella

“In the morning

After taking cold shower

—-what a mistake—-

I look at the mirror.

There, a funny guy,

Grey hair, white beard, wrinkled skin,

what a pity” (Nanao Sakaki)

I look in the mirror after a shower. I do not see the 180 pounds of rompin stompin dynamite I used to be. I see a guy on his way to being an old man, the graying, thinning hair, wrinkled skin, and few flabby areas. I have aches and pains in places I did not know existed.

In my 40s, I had to keep reminding myself that I was not 25. In my 60s, I keep reminding myself I am not 40 0r 50. I lost the pep in my step. I only have two speeds. Slow and stop.

I take long walks for exercise. I would cycle, but Chicago cyclists are dangerous two-wheeled terrorists. They ride like they are in the Tour de France without considering traffic laws, other cyclists, vehicles, pedestrians, or themselves. Like the bark chewing pandemic deniers, their rights to be reckless trump the safety of others.

There is one ray of sunshine. I know others, slightly younger or older, just like me. They look at the world through the lens of cynicism and skepticism. When I was young, we trusted no one over 30. I trust no one under 40, as the past couple of generations of the human species will always disappoint.

Getting old is no fun. You discover your limitations. No matter how much you want to deny them, you have limitations. You slow down. You think before trying things that were once normal. How much ache and pain will you pay?

You go to bed when you used to go out and wake up to use the bathroom in the wee hours you used to come home. Your clothing changes. You exchange style for comfort, especially with shoes. You do not need to dress to impress.

There are some upsides. You enjoy life more, especially the little things. You have memories to look back on, sometimes with fondness, sometimes with WTF was I thinking? You pay more attention to the obits to see if people you knew died in alphabetical order, like the rest. You also double check to make sure you are not listed.

One good thing about aging is you let go of most preconceived notions you held. You stop caring about things that do not affect you. Things you are ardent about are the few things that have a direct impact on your life. You realize all the rest was pure, unadulterated, steaming horse manure.

People leave you alone. You accost them when they are pests or acting like idiots. For most, confrontation is considered inappropriate in this so-called modern era. When it comes to old, crabby, ugly, tired, mean, miserable, and ornery geezers, people just let it slide. Maybe they think you are harmless or half senile. That is what they get for thinking. They do not realize how damn annoying they are.

Thanks to modern medical advances and the wonders of chemistry, everyone thinks they will live to a healthy, ripe old age and beyond. They are greatly disappointed when the widowmaker or heart-a-stroke takes them out. Death is the great equalizer.

I am grateful for every day. I know one day the lights will go out. I will be worm food. My only wish is to come back as a ghost so I can scare the living shit out of all the annoying pests in this city.

Nosy Busybodies

Image: PV Bella

“The essence of Christianity is told to us in the Garden of Eden history… The subtext is… You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your fucking mouth shut and hadn’t asked any questions.” (Attributed to Frank Zappa)

Eve was a nosy busybody. She and Adam got their asses kicked out of the garden because she could not mind her own fucking business. That event eventually led to a human race of nosy busybodies.

The numbers of nosy busybodies are growing exponentially. They are all over the place. You find them in coffee shops, grocery stores, on the street, on public transportation, or just about every place where they can stick their nose in your business.

Homeland Security’s “See something. Say Something” campaign was a Godsend for the snoops. It gave meaning to their dull, empty, worthless, pitiably small, and meaningless lives. It gave the busybodies license to stick their well-picked noses into your life. They feel like heroes, doing nothing less than saving the free world for humanity. They make people’s daily life a chore. Most people are afraid to stand up to them. Confrontation is considered inappropriate behavior.

Me? I see something. I say nothing. I mind my own business. In Chicago, minding your own business is the secret to a long and healthy life.

One Christmas Day, I went around the corner to the gas station for milk. The people who work there are from India. I bought the milk and wished the clerk Merry Christmas. One of the young, woke nosy parkers accosted me outside. She flapped her soup coolers, saying wishing the clerk Merry Christmas is inappropriate. Indian people do not celebrate Christmas. 

I gave the busybody a look I reserve for the pathetically stupid. I told her she is assuming, stereotyping, and a racist. She looked like I slapped her in the face. I patiently explained to the simpleton that the people who own and work in the gas station are Christians. Christians celebrate Christmas. By the way, I asked if she was deaf as they were playing Christmas music.

Life is not fair. Why should I be?

I was in one of the chain coffee shops, as there were no others open in the area on a Sunday. It is the one with the green logo, Spewfucks, or something like that. I had some trouble getting money out of my wallet. The guy behind me, a snarky nosy, busybody,  loudly stated that it would be faster if I used my phone to pay, waving his idiot phone with a smug look on his face.

I thought to myself, faster for who? I have two speeds, slow and stop. I told him it would be healthier if he minded his own fucking business. The other people in line looked at me like I was a terrorist.

Now and then, I enjoy a cheroot, one of those malodorous Italian dried cigars. They are so bad they leave a yellow streak up one side of your face and a purplish line of drool down your chin. I was walking down a street merrily puffing away. Some young woman sneered that I should take that nasty thing someplace else. My response? “Hey, you want to breathe fresh air, go inside a building.”

There was the mindless nosy, busybody who saw me give a sandwich and soft drink to a homeless man on North Michigan Avenue. She started to scold me. She said I was not helping him.  I was contributing to the homeless problem and a bunch of other nonsensical bullshit. She ranted that I should give homeless people small bags with travel-sized toiletries if I really wanted to help. When she stopped barking, I explained that toiletries do not taste good, are not nutritious, and probably poisonous. She stomped off in angry, self-righteous indignation.

Sometimes people approach me and ask all kinds of questions. I ask them if they are with the FBI and why they are probing me. I do not look approachable and cannot figure out why people are so interested in me. Jeez, if you are that fucking lonely, get a dog.

You cannot avoid these nose mining priers. They are in the grocery store, on public transportation, restaurants, libraries, public spaces, everywhere. They are all genders, races, and ethnicities. They consist of the whole effluent waste of the human species.

Life would be more pleasant if people just minded their own business. What I do is none of your business. What you do is none of mine. See something, say nothing. If not, you will be offended and humiliated by me. It will be your fault. You, and you alone, are to blame for being humiliated for sticking your nose into my business.

Living the Dream

Image: PV Bella

I do not have a lifestyle. I do not even know what a lifestyle is. I have a way of life. Is there a reason my way of life must have a style or be stylish?

There are gurus on television and the internet promoting lifestyles, wellness, self-care, and hawking assortments of books, videos, and snake oil to the gullible masses.

What are these concepts? Wellness? Self-care? Lifestyle? Why do people need to fork over hard-earned money to be physically and emotionally well or learn to take care of themselves?

There are suckers born every minute. Gurus find them.

My favorite “profession” is a life coach. They coach people on how to live a life. How fucking asinine is that? People are so dumb they have to hire a coach to train them how to live. Are these people seals?

People constantly talk about these things. How do I know? They talk loudly on their phones or to each other on public transportation, in coffee shops, bars, gyms, and restaurants. They want the whole world to know they live in style, practice wellness, and self-care. The world must know they live the dream, following the gurus’ advice and buying their crap.

Many of the acolytes of these gurus are “educated” young and middle-aged people. They spend what discretionary income they have learning how to live. They seek peace, calm, and nirvana in their dull, worthless, and meaningless lives.

Living is simple. You wake up, open your eyes. Breathing is an extra. Feet hit the floor, and you go through whatever your morning routine is before heading out to do whatever it is you do. You go home. You eventually go to sleep, hoping to wake up the following day. You spend your off time doing chores or recreating. How difficult is this?

If you do not like how you live, do you need to pay someone to teach you or buy their books and products to enhance you? If you get to a certain age and haven’t figured out how to live, take care of yourself, stay well, or change course, you are in serious need of parental control.

I admit I am envious. I wish I could be one of those gurus, sucking in big bucks through various sales funnels. I have something they do not. A long life experienced in living well. I would be the most brutal life coach in the city. Think a drill sergeant, only more vicious and vulgar. I would teach tough-shit love.

My way of life is based on comfort and convenience. Comfortable shoes, clothes, and furniture. I socialize with a small group of friends. I know how to shop for food, cook, and where to find places to eat. All my wants and needs are met. Do I need to buy a book or more crap to learn this or enhance it?

Well-being? I am comfortable with myself. Happiness is conditional, not a constant state of mind. I amuse myself by complaining. I have a life balance. I balance my anger and joy. Sometimes, anger makes me happy. I am grateful for what I have. I wait to afford the things I want. I have bartenders to meet my needs.

Self-care? I eat well, drink good coffee, beer, wine, and booze. I take long walks. I care for my psyche by laughing at the daily foibles committed by the human species. I vetch about the constant annoyances humans cause. I criticize them publicly for their stupidity. This alleviates stress, so I can remain calm when the pests and pestilence are not around.

How hard is it to live that you need to pay money to some guru to tell you how to have a life or buy their books and products to make you happy, healthy, and cared for? Life is as easy or hard as you make it.

As the saying goes, “Life is tough. It is tougher if you are stupid.” Don’t be stupid.

The Chicago Wake Ritual

Image: PV Bella

Going to wakes is a ritual in Chicago. Aside from family members and close friends, we attended wakes of people we knew, sometimes even if we did not like them. The saying in Chicago is, “You go to the wake.”

You went to the wake for the family, not the stiff in the casket. What the fuck do they know? They are dead.

Now, we celebrate the life of the deceased. We changed the language of the ritual. People no longer die. They transition or pass. Kidney stones pass, not humans. Transition sounds more comfortable than kicked the bucket. What do people transition to?

Wakes are celebrations of life with photo arrays and televisions displaying photos and videos of the deceased with family, friends, or pursuing things they enjoyed before croaking. Some are so elaborate they resemble documentaries.

Maybe, in this age of technology, someone will create video games to celebrate the stiff. People can play games going through the life of the deceased, winning prizes along the way. Free embalming for their wake or free mass cards. Maybe a free hole in the ground.

Once you get past the family and the sorry for your loss comments, the wake becomes a social occasion. You meet, greet, and socialize with people, some of who you may not have seen for years. You chat. If food is available, you snack. You spend one minute with the deceased’s family and maybe an hour or more talking to people about everything except the stiff in the casket.

Years ago, there were notable funeral homes in Chicago. Some offered postcards, as that industry was prominent in the city, and postcards were popular. So what does one do with a postcard from a funeral home? Send it to a friend or family member- “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here?”

Since wakes are more joyous occasions, funeral homes will probably have WalMart like greeters at the door. “Welcome to Donovan’s. Happy grieving.”

I go to very few wakes these days. The deceased has to be a family member, a close friend, or a family member of a close friend. I attend memorial services. I can think of way better places to socialize than a funeral home.

I made it very clear to my family that I do not want a wake. Just toss me in a box and cremate me. Stuff my pockets with high-powered fireworks to scare the shit out of the crematorium employees.

Have gourmet food and a drunken party to celebrate my life. Better to have fun than to mourn.

Hello City Hall

Image: PV Bella

After being locked down for 15 months, Chicago looked with anticipation to celebrating the Fourth of July weekend.

For too many, the celebration turned into grief and mourning. More than 100 people were shot, including two Chicago police officers. Depending on other sources, up to 18 or more people were killed by gunfire.

Hordes of young people descended on the downtown area in what was termed as a wilding. They created havoc, blocking streets, dancing on cars, setting fires, and shooting fireworks at the police.

The Fourth of July weekend proved that the politicians and police leadership lost control of Chicago. The city is like the fictional wild west. It is violent and out of control.

We are on the road to a long hot murderous summer, with no end in sight. Children, even infants, are being wounded and killed.

Mass shootings are on the rise across the city. Rifles are more prevalent, increasing the number of innocent victims.

The Chicago Police Department is demoralized, working twelve-hour shifts with days off canceled. Officers are confused about what they are allowed to do to prevent violent crimes due to no direction from the police leadership and City Hall.

The superintendent of police is out of his league. Chicago is not Dallas. He is leading from behind. This is what happens when cities bring in mercenary outsider police leaders instead of promoting them from the ranks.

The toolbox police officers use to control, prevent, and curb crime is padlocked.

The criminals are brazened and brave. They fear nothing, not jail or prison, not injury or death. They terrorize this city with impunity. Our elected officials are cowering in fear of activist and social media backlash if the unlock the police toolbox and let the officers do their jobs.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Superintendent Brown must step up and step in. They must give direction and allow the police to do their job.

The police toolbox must be unlocked, and all the legal and constitutional tactics within should be employed. The feds should be investigating the gangs, drug, and illegal gun dealers with the same zeal they went after the Chicago Outfit. They should revive the publicity mill they used in the past to identify the major players. Citizens need to know who these people are.

This is going to be a long hot summer of bloodshed and death if the mayor, alderpersons, and police superintendent do not get a handle on the violence in our streets. Right now, no neighborhood is safe from violent outbursts. 

Last week members of some communities gathered and begged the city to do something besides holding press conferences. Alderman Ray Lopez, the City Council voice against violence, is the only alderman consistently addressing the issue. He is being ignored and shut out.

Where are the other forty-nine?

If superintendent Brown cannot handle the violence pandemic, he should saddle up his horse and head back to Texas.

The time for talking, finger-pointing, and blaming is over. The time for worrying about social media and news media backlash is over. Someone in charge must act, or the havoc, mayhem, bloodshed, and murder will continue.

10 Best My____

Image: PV Bella

There is an eponymous magazine in Chicago. During its heyday, it provided
great articles and features about this city. Sometimes it did a deep dive into
politics and organized crime. It shone a light on the arts and entertainment.
The back of the magazine listed places to go and things to do in the Chicago

That was then. The magazine is a mere shadow of its former greatness.
Most articles are written by kindergarteners with crayons or sidewalk chalk. When
they write anything about this city, I cringe.

Recently, they cited the supposed 10 best hot dog stands in the city. It is
apparent they did not visit these places because they were the usual suspects
that other publications list. Instead, they washed, rinsed, and repeated what
others have been writing about for years.

I would bet the farm they do not even know how many hotdog stands there are
in Chicago. There are too many to count. Some are legacy places being run by
the second, third, or fourth generation of the founders.

When these keyboard muppets try to cite the ten best, they do a disservice
to the rest of the hotdog stands. Like them, ignorant, foolish people read this
crap and rush to these “best” places because they are as stupid and lazy
as the writers.

The magazine’s criteria are pure unadulterated horse manure. “…unpretentious ambiance, natural-casing wieners… stellar non-dog offerings, and a location within city limits.”

These writers are less-ons (Lower than morons). Just about every hot dog stand has not only unpretentious ambiance, most have none. As for the weiners, they sell the same few brands.

Natural casing wieners? Do these dunderheads know what a natural casing is and what part of animals it comes from? Some hot dog producers used a natural casing that is not animal based due to cost. It has the same snap as animal casings.

What does “stellar nondog offerings” mean? The burgers and other sandwiches are good, not stellar. They are intended to fill the belly, not provide a gastronomic experience. If they are late-night or 24-hour joints, the non-dog offerings are used to take the edge off alcohol consumption.

Are these idiots galloping gourmets looking to slum? Within the city limits? If you are writing about the ten best of anything in Chicago, it must be within the damn city limits. Geez, these people make me want to tear my eyes out.

There are no best hotdog stands in Chicago. Most are the same, good. They sell Chicago-style, run-through the garden dogs or char dogs. Many just sell dogs, and Polish sausage. Others have burgers, Italian beef sandwiches, or gyros, and fries. When it comes to hot dogs, there is no difference except price. I should know. I ate at too many of these places over the decades from one end of this city to another.

What are the best hot dog stands in the city? The one(s) that you stop to grab a quick dog at any given time.

It there was such a thing as the best magazine in Chicago, this rag would never be in the running.

Now, if you are looking for late night entertainment value…

I am a Quiet Patriot

Image: PV Bella

Today is the Fourth of July. We celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a document that was earth-shattering in the days of powerful European colonialism. In effect, we told the British tyranny run by a lunatic king to leave or we would kick their twit rear ends out. That document was louder than any shot heard around the world.

Today is a day of wrapping ourselves in Old Glory. There will be signs of patriotism, fireworks, celebrations, and drunken puking revelry. We will flex our patriotic muscles and show the world how proud we are to be American.

Over the past few years, a new brand of patriotism emerged, the super-patriots. They wrap themselves in the flag, bearing arms and generally making fools of themselves. They created their own proud stereotype. Hirsute, unwashed, knuckle-dragging, bark chewing, peckerheads. wearing sleeveless upper garments, spouting and shouting unintelligible patriotic chants while waving their rifles.

Mostly men, they are little boys with small penises and no balls.

They formed militaristic and cult-like groups to demonstrate en masse how patriotic they are. They get publicity in the news media and have large followings on social media. People love clowns and they are a clown show.

The definition of patriotism is a love for one’s country. It is not a political stance. It is neither conservative nor liberal, extremist or radical, Democrat, Republican, or any other affiliation or affliction. It is not fervently religious.

There is no need, duty, or obligation to demonstrate or prove you are some clownish form of super-patriot.

I am a quiet patriot. I believe actions are louder than words and brighter than imagery or symbolism.

I do not need recognition for my patriotism- “Oh, look, Wanda, there goes that super-patriot, Pete.” I do not want my mug on television or news media as a nephew of good old Uncle Sam bearing the biggest flag I can find.

I do the things required of all patriotic citizens.

I file my taxes and, when required, pay them. I vote. Every ten years, I participate in the census. I do not have to be evangelical, preaching to the masses like some street corner religious huckster.

Over the past few years, we witnessed the rise of the super-patriot poltroons. They tout a poisonous and toxic form of patriotism. They have a deep belief they must let the whole world know how patriotic they are. If you must prove you are patriotic, you are not. If you join groups that think like you, you are not thinking. You are living in the prison of your mind.

If you espouse violent language, storm political institutions, or wreak havoc, you are a criminal under the guise of patriotism, in effect, a loser.

Patriotism is not a religion. There is no epiphany or conversion. It is merely a love of country that requires very few things of citizens to prove. File and pay taxes (Griping is acceptable), vote in every election (Bitching over the results is expected.), and participate in the census. Service to the country in the military or some other government service is a plus. That is all one must do.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

Riding Public Transit

Riding public transportation is a royal pain in the ass. You are constantly annoyed by your fellow riders, especially the oblivious, insensitive, self-absorbed, witless, insufferable, ignorant young Millennial and Gen Z gremlins. I refer to them as Generations Whiner (Generations W).

Generations W rules public transportation in Chicago. The only rule of Generation W is, there are no rules.

I ride the L to go downtown. The trains are usually packed early in the morning. One morning a millennial mamaluke was standing in the door like a boulder in a stream. People had trouble getting off and on the train because he was self-absorbed watching videos on his phone. He wore a large backpack instead of holding it or putting it on the floor like you should.

I get stuck behind this muppet with no room to move in any direction. The doors would not close because I could not move far enough into the car. “Excuse me,” did not move him. A hard shove to his backpack did. It got me a dirty glare.

Every time the train moved, stopped, or jostled, I slammed into his backpack. He kept turning around, giving me dirty looks. He was too obstinate to move in a few steps where there was plenty of room. He was rapt and agog over animal videos on his phone and wearing earbuds, so he did not have to be bothered by the likes of me.

As the train pulled into my stop, I tapped him on the shoulder and said in a loud voice next to his ear, “You really shouldn’t watch child porn on the L.” His head spun so fast I thought it would snap off. The looks on other riders’ faces were priceless. I stepped off the car with smug satisfaction.

There are multiple bag people. They have a backpack, a gym bag, and one or two other large bags. They look like they are going on a multi-week tour of some foreign country instead of work.

Worse are the multiple bag people who put their stuff on seats, taking up two or three spaces. They do not care the fare is for one seat. It is all about them. If I indicate that I want the seat and they ignore me, I start to sit on their crap. They hustle to move it. It upsets them, but what can they do?

Our moron politicians decided to allow cyclists to bring their bikes on the L. These ratbags sit in a seat and take up multiple spaces holding their two-wheeled weapons of mass destruction. People have to stand to accommodate their bikes. If the car is full, you brush up on their filthy bikes or the chain, soiling your clean clothes. If you want to sit, they refuse to move the bike. Bikes should be outlawed on the L. There is no need for cyclists to ride the L with their bikes.

There are ordinances forbidding eating, drinking, and smoking on public transportation. Signs are posted on buses and L trains. Smoking is the only ordinance enforced on public transit.

People eat and drink on buses and trains all the time, ignoring the law. They try to eat or drink with one hand while texting or browsing on their phones with the other, oblivious they may spill something on other passengers. Some bring their carryout meal, laying it on one of the seats, stuffing their maws, taking up space where a standing rider can sit. 

There are the drunken lunkhead bros and their sapheaded sisses on their way to ballgames or other sporting events. They bring six or twelve packs on the L and proceed to drink and party. No one dares to tell them they cannot drink, let alone drink alcohol on the train.

In violation of C.T.A. rules, the yakking yammerers loudly talk about their sex lives, lousy clients, and other inconsequential things, annoying the rest of us. Worse, they do it on speaker, so you hear both sides of the conversation.

If you verbally confront these self-entitled asswipes, the whole train looks at you like you are the problem. Confrontation is not socially acceptable and is considered aggression. You, the victim, may be removed from the train to restore peace and a sense of safety for the whiners.

Where did this entitlement mentality come from? Why can’t the C.T.A. enforce its own rules and ordinances? Just think how much money the CTA could make if they cited and fined all these precious pea brains for their offenses.

If, by slim chance, if there is enforcement, they get on social media, and it goes nuclear. The offender becomes the hero of the republic. The C.T.A. is afraid of being on the end of a negative viral social media blitz, so they ignore the violators. Chicago is a city of cowardly useless bureaucrats.

Common courtesy or etiquette? Forget about it. It is Generation Whiner’s culture. The rest of us are expected to live in it. Being rude, inconsiderate, or in violation of laws and regulations is the new normal. Complaining or standing up to them is deemed criminal.

There is one bright side, if you can call it that. Many Generation Whiners do not drive. If these Millennials and Gen Zers were set loose in cars during rush hours, a twice-daily demolition derby would plague the city of Chicago. It is bad enough they terrorize us with their bicycles.

Hopefully, they will not breed. They would raise the next generation of crotch monkeys to be worse than they are.

Learn How to Walk in a City

Image: PV Bella

Learn How to Walk in a City

If you want to learn about a city you need to walk. Large cities are a walker’s paradise. You experience the city from the ground up. People from other countries know this. Walking is part and parcel of their daily way of life. Tourists from abroad know how to walk. Americans are ignorant toddlers in comparison.

There are worlds of discovery in Chicago from the downtown area, the Magnificent Mile, Old Town, River North, the Lakefront, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast, Hyde Park, Uptown, and other neighborhoods. Even walking off the beaten path of main arterial streets, strolling through side streets in neighborhoods is an adventure.

If you pay attention, you can learn some history while walking. Many buildings have commemorative plaques indicating a historical event that happened on the site or in the building. There are busts and statues of famous Chicagoans and others who contributed something to this city. Sometimes they are in out-of-the-way places, waiting for you to find them.

Every neighborhood I eventually lived in, I walked. I learned the pace, context, and nuances of the community and surrounding areas.

When I retired, I walked some of the neighborhoods I worked. A police officer sees places from the seat of a car, driving in square circles. You miss the uniqueness of the area. I worked in one place for almost ten years. When I walked it several times, I was surprised at what I missed or never realized existed. To this day, I still discover new things there.

I could go to any major city in the world and traverse the streets. I know how to walk on city streets. The first time I went to New York City, it did not take me long to feel right at home walking around. The same was true in other cities I visited, here and abroad.

Chicago was established as a city of commerce and industry. Time is money. Money is time. Chicago’s streets and public transportation system were designed to get people from one place to another and back efficiently. There is a hustle in the way people walk, especially in the business, shopping, tourist, and entertainment districts.

We walk with speed and purpose. Our only objective is to get from point A to point B and sometimes back as fast as possible. We do not have time to waste on lazy slugs who never learned how to walk on crowded sidewalks.

There are Rules of the Sidewalk for walking in crowded urban areas. The number one rule is, WATCH WHERE THE FUCK YOU ARE GOING!

It is not my responsibility to watch where you are going. I have enough trouble watching where I am going. Walking on city streets means dodging all the feral fribbles who do not watch where they are going. If they bump into you, it is your fault. They are the inconsiderate ones. They are in my way.

You walk. Walking means keep moving. You do not stop in the middle of the sidewalk, gawking at something or someone. You do not stop to take a selfie. You walk at the pace of everyone else. If you walk too slow or stop, you should get stampeded and ground into the concrete.

Walk on the right side of the sidewalk, leaving room in the middle for faster walkers who must be someplace yesterday. If you are window shopping, you stand as close to the building as possible, allowing pedestrians to pass by.

Members of the stroller patrol who have those asinine double or triple wide strollers should not walk in a busy area. They screw up the normal flow of traffic as they saunter with their spawns of Satan.

In this age of handheld communication, brainless techno-geeks walk down the street with their faces plastered to their phones. They are oblivious to their surroundings, other pedestrians, or vehicular traffic. It is incredible hundreds are not catastrophically injured or killed every day.

Phones are smart. People are stupid. Apple aptly named their iPhone. The i is for idiot.

If you have to text, sext, or tweet, step to the side, stop walking and do it. Let the rest of us normal people keep on our merry way.

One of the COVID-19 pandemic benefits was a vast reduction of humans in the commercial, shopping, and tourist areas. It was easy to walk and see things when you did not have the mindless masses causing sight blight. Now that restrictions are over, the hordes of pains in the ass are back, annoying us real walkers and making life miserable.

The only good way to learn about Chicago is to walk through it. But learn how to walk in a city first.