Chic Knits Downloadable Knitting Patterns Chic Knits Downloadable Knitting Patterns Chic Knits Knitting Blog Chic Knits Knitting Tips & Techniques Chic Knits Bonne Marie Burns Free Knitting Patterns
Studio Chic Knit Blog

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

take a walk around my block

Before you think I’ve run off and joined the Chicago Tourism Bureau, I have to warn you there is more summer festivity rant to follow…

WHY?!:) oh why? I work right in the flight path of Navy Pier, Water Tower, the MCA, NIKE, Sony, the Apple Store, blahdeeedaaaaaaaaaah…

When I get off the bus and walk to the Studios to check in for the day and get my gear, I am virtually swimming through the masses.

First reason for the snarky gleam in my eye: they are NOT AT WORK…

Second reason for that sparkle: wherever there are tourists there are MIMES!

Mimes are scary – they’re looking at me and when (and they will) follow you down the street, like the painted angel on roller skates, beggin’ to be bought off so they finally STEP OFF, I start running with my head down.

Our beloved tourists give them lots of money, so of course, that spawns MORE MIMES!

Yesterday was very hot and humid and when I saw the Big Silver Guy Mime outside of Water Tower, I actually felt pity for the first time EVER! His makeup was runny and missing in several places, and he was sitting on an overturned 50 gallon pickle bucket (THE mime seat of choice and Street Drummer instrument of beat as well). My hand was on my camera (the little one I carry around at all times) but I hesitated, knowing how I hate it when people take pictures of me while I’m working. (I’ve been know to quickly dive onto the ground and lay on my back and take pictures holding the camera almost straight up in the air to get a good picture of, say, thousands of ballons being let go at once).

So no picture of Mr. Guy.

By the time I got to the bus stop and got my first wiff of Horse *rine from the Carriage rides, my pity party was over.

Now these Carriages, IMHO, are the biggest rip-off in Visitor Land. You get into a sweet little gettup and they geddyUP you around the block and then down to the Lake. The Rip comes in when you see that you can’t really get TO the Lake you can just SEE the Lake in the distance beyond LAKE SHORE DRIVE, a 6 lane freeway that borders it. Hmmmm…

In the meantime, these horses are depositing whatever whenever and in the midst of July, it is a most unwelcome aroma. I LIVE IN THE CITY! If I want to smell animals I’ll go to a ZOO like a normal urban citizen. (BWAH – the country?! – get real – avoid at all costs unless there are nice little sheep to see…)

Because of some weird traffic science that I couldn’t see from my bus stop acreage (each person gets about an 18″ square piece of street to stand on while waiting. Think this is not a legal parameter? Violate it once and find out!), I was forced to wait for almost an hour for a bus that’s supposed to come every 10 minutes.

So I whipped out my current Bucket hat (something really sweet – I’m finally working on a new pattern so you can use Sugar ‘n Cream cotton) and started wailing. A big red Cadillac Escaldade was stuck in traffic right in front of me and *I* became the tourist entertainment. This made me knit faster for some reason (annoyance/adrenalin>?) and I was pullin’ yarn out of the satchel I had stuck between my feet (yes, within the 18″ square…) like there was no tomorrow.

I’d noticed a young man who was waiting watching me with interest – I gave him several smiles because he was a guy gettin’ off of work just like me – except his job was as one of the Break Dancers I’d just passed at the Water Tower Entrance. And heaaaay, they give you your money’s worth and don’t FOLLOW YOU AROUNd.

At one point he raised his arm high and went HEY and pointed to my bag. I’d just pulled about 3 feet of yarn out for another Bucket round and had flipped the whole skein onto the ground. It was fast a-rollin’ towards the gutter. The GUTTER. The Horses. A TRAGEDY mirrored on the face of my dancer – the look of panic on his face was precious! He did not want my yarn to go lightly into the MIRE!

And who says City People are harsh!>? Thank you Mr. Break Dancer Guy from the bottom of my evil little heart…


Paris is the Sister City of Chicago and therein dwell the Original Mime Nation:

lower third pictures: is this guy on vacation in Paris FROM Chicago?

here I am enjoying the nonsense

please write your Alderman – so this guy won’t be at your bus stop next year…

14 responses to “Wednesday, July 21, 2004”

  1. Debbi says:

    Mimes are just WRONG and BAD. They rank right up there with clowns, whom I have been known to RUN AWAY FROM (last year at the age of 32). Ain’t no joking about that stuff.

  2. jessica~ says:

    Although we have pleanty of pickle bucket drummers and breakdancers here in Boston we don’t (currently) have any mimes. Thank all thats holy! I don’t know which is worse, mimes or clowns.

    If my yarn fell in the gutter (here in chinatown -yuk) I wouldn’t go near it. Even if it was my beloved Manos Del Urguay. I’m hoping you saved your yarn from disaster?!

  3. Karen Heinig says:

    HA HA HA I love your posts! I laughed so hard at this one! Well so what’s the end of the story? Did your yarn fall into the mire or not?? Stay tuned until next time, same Bonne Marie time, same Bonne Marie station?

  4. Susie says:


    I was in Chicago this weekend so as I read today’s entry I could “see” the silver mime you were talking about. On Friday he was sitting on the curb, facing traffic and taking a break. And on Saturday one of the mime entourage contributed some change to the classical quartet that was setup by the American Girl store.

    There’s a new American Girl store in NYC but there was one Chicago phenomenon that hasn’t caught on here – all the Chicago girls carry their dolls around town. I kept encountering the American Girls dolls at all the tourist sites (well I was a tourist over the weekend). The NY dolls are politely kept in their bags until the girls get home.

    Enjoy your blog!

  5. Julia says:


    Hey Speaking of mimes- Didja See Starsky & Hutch Yet?
    Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in mime getup- Priceless.

  6. Natalie says:

    Mimes are pure evil. So are clowns. The good thing is, if you decide to kill a mime, no one will hear him scream. ;-)

  7. Mary says:

    I could never understand why someone would want to spend summer holidays in a hot, crowded, smelling-like-horse-pee city. Shouldn’t they hit the beach or mountain cabins?

  8. Lori says:

    You crack me up Ms. Bonne Marie Burns. Stopping by your blog to hear what you are rambling out is an everyday occurance for me. Thanks for being so entertaining!

  9. Anne says:

    Wait one Cashmerino-pickin’ minute! As a horse-owner and knit-fanatic, I would much rather smell my horses’ stalls (which I do for a couple hours cleaning them daily) than the stinking city-smog. And the never-ending city siren screams and whine! I lived in midtown NYC for half a year, and have commuted for work to various inner cities wherever I’ve lived, but thank God, I much prefer the country, and look forward to my quiet, rural 7 acre gentleman’s farm each night. I’ve even been known to knit outside watching my horses snuffle and munch their dinner hay, with my kitties ‘hunting’ the loose yarn balls wherever they take them. At least my FO can be washed, but the city noise and smell will never leave my past memories. For me, City => Big-time Yuk.

  10. un my says:

    Haha. I grew up in and around Chicago. Thank goodness my memories of downtown do not include mimes or horse drawn carriages. Can’t help hearing Shelley Long’s pronunciation of “mime” from Cheers everytime I see the word. Poor horsies.

  11. Rachael says:

    Gawd, I love your Chicago public transport stories….

  12. Becky says:

    Hehe…you crack me up! I haven’t seen any mimes here for a while now [thank HEAVENS!]; they’re all becoming “statues” now. The other day I saw a statue dude dressed up as Pan, complete with horns and furry legs. He had even painted his entire torso and face RED. I ran away screaming!

  13. kate says:

    ICK! We’ve got these stupid mimes all over in Paris and since we are getting into the full swing of tourist season, they are multiplying! But we don’t have many Marcel Marceau type mimes. Lately I keep seeing King Tut mimes. They are soooo LAME! They are wrapped in Gold fabric with clothes pins holding it together in the back (fancy) and they wear a mask. Then when some silly tourist gives them money, they bow. WOOOPEE! They can yawn and move and do all sorts of things under that mask. Nobody would know! At least they don’t follow you.

  14. Becca says:

    I work at the Lookingglass Theatre on the corner of Michigan and Pearson . . . and I usually walk from the loop to work . . . so not only do I feel your pain; I experience it to the core of my being. The other day a 2nd silver man had popped up in front of Fields and it was like the silver mime version of duelling banjoes.

©Bonne Marie Burns
All Rights Reserved
Unauthorized reproduction in any form prohibited.

Site Design: BigBrain Multimedia/Bonne Marie Burns

"ChicKnits" and "Chic Knits" are the ®Registered Trademarks of Bonne Marie Burns of Portland OR