Reader to Reader | Essay | Chicago Reader

Reader to Reader 

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I was leaving the Century Mall when I noticed an elderly, humpbacked man trying to hail a taxi. He was struggling with a large VCR in a box, the sales receipt still fluttering from its side. Something about the man seemed familiar to me, but I didn't realize who he was until he had successfully stuffed the VCR and himself into the back of a cab: he was the man I have seen on a regular basis panhandling around Lincoln Village, holding a sign proclaiming his homeless plight.

--K.L. Poe

On a recent Sunday night at a small jazz club on the near west side the audience was sparse--maybe six people--but the music was exceptional. During the second set a man stumbled in, slamming the door into a chair and knocking it over. He shuffled up to my companion and stuck out his hand. She shook her head, thinking he wanted money. But as he stood there it became clear that he merely wanted to shake her hand. She obliged, and he smiled broadly and proceeded around the room--smiling, shaking hands, never making a sound. When he finished with the audience, he moved on to the band, standing directly in front of each one while they played, not interested in moving until they shook hands. When there were no more fresh hands to shake, he spat on the floor and shuffled out.

--Heather L. Daniel


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