I don't have many hats. In fact, when it comes to ball caps, I currently only have two. One is a white U. of I. hat which I put on my bed head when I wake up in the morning to go running (which usually only happens once or twice a week). My other cap is the one worn by the Cubs on the road (pictured above)--I got it last year at a Cubs game mainly because I needed something to keep the sun off me.
When I was getting ready to go to the Taste of Chicago on Saturday, I figured that I should wear a hat since I'd be outside all day. I would have liked to have worn my white U. of I. cap, but since it's not actually white but yellow and smells like it has six years' worth of sweat stains in it, I decided to go wtih my fresh Cubs hat. However, I didn't make this decision without some hesitation. After all, the emotions in this city are riding higher and higher with each passing week. For a brief moment, I pictured myself in the middle of 100 restaurant canopies at the Taste, holding a slice of deep dish pizza in one hand and an Italian beef in the other, happy as a kid in a candy store... but then somebody makes a comment about my Cubs hat and next thing you know a minor skirmish turns into a full-scale riot with even the restaurants taking sides (North and South) for a brutal "Black and Blue" Windy City brawl that makes national news.
But of course, I snapped out of it and told myself, "That could never happen. Nobody will say anything to you." So I put on my Cubs hat and went on my way.
I hadn't been at the Taste more than 20 minutes before some older guy walking past me said, "Like your hat." I wasn't really paying attention to him, so I wasn't sure if he was talking to me. But I looked up and realized he had to be talking to me, so I just muttered, "Thanks." Although, honestly, it felt weird. The only thing weirder would have been if the same guy had said the same thing about the same hat while I was at Wrigley Field.
But I couldn't complain. It was better than having a White Sox fan taunt me. (Especially since I root for the White Sox too.)
So the day went on and things were going well, as planned. The crowds by now had swelled, so there were certainly more people walking in closer quarters. As I made my way toward the exit, there was a guy walking along, talking to a group of teenage girls nearby. I could tell they didn't want him around, but he kept talking, going on and on about how God loves them and such. (One of the girls sneered to another, "I just want to walk up, kick him in the butt and say, 'Shut up!'") But what was really funny was when the guy switched from trumpeting theology to wondering aloud, "Does anyone have any tickets they don't want?" (He was referring to the tickets used to buy food at the Taste.) Over and over, to nobody in particular, he would ask the same question, "Does anyone have any tickets they don't want?"
Everyone kept walking, but so did he. At one point I thought he had gone another direction, but when I looked over I saw him again--and he saw me.
And he noticed something.
"Oh, you're a Cubs fan. I'm a White Sox fan!"
Dang it. I can see the exit, but now this is happening.
He continues, "The Cubs are going to get theirs. We're gonna whup 'em!" And of course, as he was prone to doing, he couldn't just say something once. He had to say it five times with that crazy look in his eyes. "You're gonna get yours! You're gonna get yours!"
He seemed harmless enough, so I found the whole thing amusing. Although, if he had instead pointed at me and hollered, "That Cubs fan stole my tickets!" then that wouldn't have been quite as amusing. That would have made me a marked man among the White Sox fans and who knows, it might have even started a riot...