Consider The Lolla.

posted in: Chicago, Tips 1
I smell funny cigarettes. Photo: Phil G. via Wikipedia.
I smell funny cigarettes. Photo: Phil G. via Wikipedia.

As I walked through the Lollapalooza throngs today – remember, there are tens of thousands of extra people in town for this – I wanted to swing my totebag around and yell, “I live here! I’m not like you!”

These people aren’t bad or wrong for wanting to spend hundreds of dollars to drink tepid beer outside in a crowd of sweaty people as loud music makes it impossible to talk and the only bathrooms are foul port-o-johns. It’s just that it’s my turf, you see, and I’m not used to gaggles of undergraduate girls wearing fringe vests and diadems being in my way when I’m headed to the bank. (It’s amazing: the Navajo Jezebel look is still all the rage! Kate Moss wore a poncho to Coachella in 2003 and it’s been floppy hats and hemp purses ever since.)

Crowded and crazy as is it, the people-watching is primo. As I muscled my way up Michigan Avenue, I considered…

…the parents of a just-graduated son who has been planning for months to come to Lollapalooza with his blokes. (There’s something about packs of young dudes, headed to a concert, in shorts, concealing cans of Foster beer that makes them “blokes.”) The parents’ fingernail count as of Sunday night: zero.

…the here-today-gone-tomorrow economy of this thing, e.g., people selling bottles of water on the corner, pedi-cab drivers, face-painters, etc.

…the VIP rooms for the bands and how tonight, someone who won a contest, maybe, will meet their hero.

…the Grateful Dead-style painted booze-cruise bus that made a hard left off Washington. That’s someone’s business model – and they’re probably doing pretty well.

…the panhandler guys in my neighborhood. Do they hate Lollapalooza or look forward to it?

…the girl from Lombard, IL who spent two hours making her hair look effortlessly tousled. It began pouring rain around 5:00 p.m. today; I pictured her furious about this, lashing out at her friend, “Becky, I am seriously not interested in your drama with Trevor right now. Everything sucks!”

…the weeks of planning the cops have to do to deal with all this.

…the ER doctors on call. They’ve been briefed it’s Lollapalooza weekend for sure.

That last thought lingers. I’ve heard so many sirens today. Oh, you guys. Please drink the water you bought from the guy on the corner. Please watch your stuff. I hope this weekend is the best weekend of your life thus far – and it can’t be that way if you have to head up to Northwestern.

And eat something for heaven’s sake!