My family and I recently took a four-day trip to Chicago over spring break. We stayed in a very nice hotel a block from Michigan Avenue. We went to Bloomingdale’s, and the Sears Tower, which is now called the John Hancock Center or something along those lines, we ate Chicago pizza at Giordano’s and got creeped out by the scary waves one day on the lake. But the REAL fun came when we veered off the beaten path and marched to the beat of our own marching band, like we tend to enjoy doing.
Before we left home, my husband went on Roadside America.com and looked for unusual things to do in Chicago. GOLDMINE!! We had breakfast at The Time Warp Cafe, a little place that made me feel, well, timewarped to the 80’s. They had a Back to the Future DeLorean and a flux capacitor for heaven’s sake! I also had the prettiest vanilla latte I have ever had in my life. In a china cup, not a paper one with a stingily given cardboard sleeve to prevent third degree burns to my delicate digits.
We went to see The Shit Fountain. Seriously. Apparently, this crotchety old man got tired of the neighbors letting their dogs crap in his tiny little postage stamp front yard, so he paved over it with concrete to make his area less appealing, then he had The Shit Fountain erected. It is a lovely affair with a nice large pile of fake doggy doo coiled coyly up on top. The title of said fountain is carved in block print around the base that holds the poo. It was totally awesome. While my husband and daughter were taking each other’s picture in front of it, my more easily embarrassed son and myself (also easy to embarrass) stayed in the car nervously giggling as some neighbors came home and almost knocked my hubs and daughter over as they brushed past them into their home. My son and I almost died and most assuredly would have, had we been out of the car.
Then, we went to Graceland cemetery to see the Grim Reaper. Now, you gotta love a cemetery with creepy monsters in it. As I’m sure you know, most of them consist of lovely memorials, weeping angels and the occasional crypt. This one has a ten foot tall spooky dude who doesn’t have a scythe or anything, so I’m not sure he’s the GR, but he is kinda scary. I vote for a cemetery where all the monuments are scary. Finally, a boneyard that you actually CAN be afraid of. Sounds cool.
After lunch at Potbelly’s, a sandwich shop I’ve never been to before, we went to the Woolly Mammoth. It is an antiques and oddities store similar to Obscura, the one in New York that is the star of the show on the Science Channel. It was cool. They had jars of teeth, taxidermied critters, a zombie Elvis lamp (THAT was cool), and the awesomest guy ever running it. When we told him we had spent the morning frolicking in the cemetery and that although it might sound kind of weird, we had a blast, he said, and I quote, “That’s not weird at all. I go frolicking in the cemetery all the time. In fact, there is another one not far from here called Rosehill that has a lot of good ghost stories associated with it. You should go check it out.” I swear to You Know Who, that I think I am just going to stop trying to live the pretense of normality and start seeking out my people. Those considered “weird” by everyone else. They are usually super nice, and they don’t think I am excentric at all. In fact, most of them think I’m a little too “normal.”
The moral of this story is basically to let your freak flag fly and to take the road less travelled. Quit worrying so much about whether you are “normal” or “weird.” Face it we are ALL weird in our own special ways. Embrace it. Do the stuff you like and don’t worry about what other people think. Go see the regular stuff just so you can talk about it if you need to, but take the road less travelled. You’ll see cool stuff and meet nice people. Even if the stuff and the folks are a little “weird.” Life will become an adventure instead of a drag.
Have fun and be kind to one another 🙂